Iran take down China in thriller, reach Semi v Korea; Japan face Lebanon in other Semi
TEHRAN (2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship) - Hosts Iran dethroned the three-time reigning champions China in a thriller to reach the Semi-Finals of the 2016 FIBA Asia U18 Championship, setting up a final four match-up against Korea. The other Semi-Final will see Japan take on Lebanon.
In a game worthy of being a final, Mohammad Jafari's free throws with 7 seconds left secured Iran a 62-59 victory over China, who had not yet lost in the tournament and now enter the Classification 5-8 round as Tang Jie's three-pointer with 1 second on the clock was off target.
Jafari scored 21 points to lead the way for Iran, who lost the 2014 FIBA Asia U18 final to China and are still alive for their third title - and first since 2008. Mostafa Rezaei scored 11 points and Amirhossein Khandanpoor chipped in 10 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. Khandanpoor also grabbed a critical offensive rebound with 12 seconds left.
China trailed by 13 points early in the fourth quarter but used a 10-0 run to get back into the game and had it down to 60-59 with 1:08 minutes to play. But they could not get the job done despite 21 points from Man Jiang and 11 points from Du Runwang. China will now play against Philippines in the Classification.
Korea for their part used a strong fourth quarter to book their spot in the Semis with a 93-85 victory over Philippines. Han Seunghui led the way for Korea with 24 points while Ha Yungi added 20 points for the Koreans, who are into the Semis for the fourth straight edition and seventh of the last eight.
Korea used an 11-0 run to pull ahead 84-80 with 2 minutes to play. Philippines did not have a shot to take the lead the rest of the game. Jolo Mendoza had 19 points, 4 assists and 3 steals and Kemark Carino collected 18 points, 12 rebounds and 9 blocks for the Philippines.
The other Semi-Final sees Japan face Lebanon.
The Japanese held off Chinese Taipei 77-71 to reach the final four for the third time in the last five editions. Yudai Nishida poured in 24 points while Tensho Sugimoto hit for 18 points and Keisuke Masuda had 17 points and 8 rebounds for Japan. Chinese Taipei, who will face India in Classification 5-8, got 17 points each from Kao Kuo-Hao and Chou Kuei-Yu.
Lebanon had the only rout of the Quarter-Finals with a 98-67 win over India. Lebanon used a 22-6 run in the second quarter to take control of the game and reached the FIBA Asia U18 Semis for the first time since 2006. Mark Alkhoury (18 points and 10 rebounds) and Naji Ozeir (17 and 10) both collected double-doubles and Sami Ghandour scored 15 points in the win. India, who were in the Quarter-Finals for the first time in 12 years, got 19 points from Gineeb Benny and 17 points from Baladhaneshwar Poiyamozhi.
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Iran v Korea
Japan v Lebanon
Korea beat Philippines 93-85
Japan beat Chinese Taipei 77-71
Lebanon beat India 98-67
Iran beat China 62-59