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22 November, 2021
28 February, 2023
7 Nikolay Bazhin (KAZ)
Game Report
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Steppen Wolves spoil Syria's historic home game, Iran put on an offensive clinic in Manama

DAMASCUS (Syria) & MANAMA (Bahrain) - The hometown crowds were rowdy in Group D action of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers, especially in Damascus. Unfortunately, that energy from the stands wasn’t enough to spark the home team to victory.

The fans were hyped up from start to finish at the Al Fayhaa Stadium in Syria to see their national team heroes in action. This was the first major FIBA competition played in Syria in a long while and they definitely wanted to show how excited they were.

The fans were treated to a fun and exciting game that matched the energy in the arena, despite it ending with the undesired result of Syria taking an 81-71 defeat at the hands of Kazakhstan.

The majority of the game was closely contested, with each team holding their biggest leads either very early or very late in the contest. The rest of the way was neck and neck with both teams trading blows on the score board.

The die-hard Syria basketball fans enjoyed watching a 15-0 run by their team spanning from the end of the second quarter to midway through the third quarter. The Steppen Wolves quickly bounced back to reclaim the lead and took it for good all the way up until the final buzzer.

Kazakhstan did most of their damage down low with 42 points in the paint, most of which were by Anton Bykov who led the team with 24 points in 10-15 shooting. Maxim Marchuk (14), Ruslan Aitkali (13), and Oleg Balashov (12) also chipped in with double-digit scoring.

On Syria’s side, it was once again Amir Hinton who shouldered the offensive load with 32 points on just 18 shot attempts by playing all 40 minutes of the game. Hinton drew loud cheers from the fans with his slam dunks and scoring skills, while the team also got contribution from Kemal Canbolat who had 13 points in this game.

Having spoiled Syria’s "homecoming" game, Kazakhstan now sits in the top half of the standings in Group D of the Asian Qualifiers.

In Manama, Iran put on an offensive clinic in a 100-64 win.

Bahrain briefly led after scoring their first two points of the game but never held that advantage again in this contest.

Not only did the victors reach the century mark, they did so by shooting 60.6 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from the three-pointline.

Five players scored in double-digits for Iran including Behnam Yakhchali who scored 22 points with 4 three-pointers. Arsalan Kazemi also shined in the spotlight for a second straight game after recording 14 points, 17 rebounds, and 6 assists. It’s not exactly a recording-breaking triple-double - as he had accomplished in the previous game - but he did shooting 100 percent on six attempts on the floor.

CJ Giles returned to the lineup for Bahrain in this game after his absence from the clash on Friday and finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Mohamed Kowaid, however, led the team in scoring with 17 points on 6-12 shooting from the field.

The past two victories give Iran a seat at the top of the standings in the group, though the games are expected to get tougher in Window 2 next February.