Petrochimi overcome Al Shorta's gallant stand
Al Shorta gave Petrochimi a tough time in this one, leading at the half, but the Iranians eventually found a way to break the game open and overcome the Iraqis’ gallant stand. Gerald Robinson led the way for Petrochimi in this game, and he got a lot of help from Rouzbeh Arghavan, Mehrad Atashi and Mohammad Hassazadeh. Petrochimi needed all that production, too, since import James White struggled with 1-of-12 field goal shooting. Justin Hawkins, meanwhile, had a huge game for Al Shorta, scorinf 31 points, but his partner in crime, DeAndre Rice, went ice cold, making just 2 of his 16 field goal attempts to finish with 10 points.
Turning Point: Al Shorta seemed to be in control by the halftime break as they were ahead, 40-37. The Iraqis played with a bit more urgency in the game’s first twenty minutes, and the score reflected it. Petrochimi, however, woke up in the third period, outscoring their foes, 27-11, thanks mainly to Rouzbeh Arghavan, who went 4-of-4 in that span. Petrochimi consequently turned a 3-point deficit into a 13-point lead heading into the final frame.
Stats Don't Lie: Bench play was huge in this outing. Petrochimi’s reserved outscored their Iraqi counterparts, 25-4, with Mehrad Atashi and Mohammad Hassanzadeh pairing up for 22. Rebounding was also critical, with Petrochimi outworking Al Shorta on the boards, 48-36. Gerald Robinson, Oshin Sahakian and James White combined for a total of 25 of those rebounds.
Game Hero: In a game where James White just could not seem to buy a bucket, Gerald Robinson stepped up and carried the scoring cudgels. The 27-year-old 1.85m point guard bounced back from a poor performance against Al Riyadi by hitting 12 of his 17 field goals en route to 25 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds, issued 6 assists and had 2 steals in their big win.
The Bottom Line: This was a good bounce back triumph for Petrochimi, which reeled from their double-digit loss to Al Riyadi a couple of days ago. They have their eyes set on the Final, but they will have to go through the winner of the China Kashgar-Al Rayyan affair first, and that will certainly be much tougher than this match up. Al Shorta had a commendable run throughout the tournament, but they will now have to ben content with playing at the classification level.