25 August, 2023
10 September
10 Solo Diabate (CIV)
Game Report
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Diabate comes up clutch to deliver first win for Cote d'Ivoire

JAKARTA (INDONESIA) - Cote d'Ivoire held their nerve late on to claim their first win at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.

The FIBA AfroBasket 2021 runners-up overcame Iran for a 71-69 victory in a very tight Group G game that went right down to the wire with three free throws from Solo Diabete proving decisive.

Turning point: 
Cote d'Ivoire exploited Iran's four turnovers in five possessions by grabbing the lead in a tense fourth quarter. This stretch also included the fifth foul for Hamed Haddadi, who had been Iran's focal point on offense in the second half.

Even though Arsalan Kazemi scored off an inbounds play to give Iran a 69-68 advantage with 13 seconds left, Diabate was the hero late as his courageous drive to the rim gave him the chance to win the game from the foul line.

TCL Player of the Game: Nisre Zouzoua demonstrated his usual self-confidence and knocked down several difficult jumpshots to score a team-high 17 points in the win. Alongside Diabate, he played a crucial role in the backcourt, which lost one of the team leaders Bazoumana Kone to an ankle injury.

Behnam Yakhchali hit a clutch three-point shot with one minute remaining and scored 19 points for the game, yet ultimately it wasn't enough for Iran to grab the win.

Stats don't lie: After making the second fewest free throws (5) in Gameday 1, Cote d'Ivoire proved to be better at attacking the paint and converted 20-of-21 free throw attempts this time. The difference was especially stark in the first half, in which The Elephants made 11 shots from the charity line, while Iran only were only 2-of-3.

Bottom line: Cote d'Ivoire have ensured an important win for their Paris 2024 aspirations and gladly saw Spain beating Brazil later in the night. They will face Brazil in their final group game and still have a shot at making the Second Round.

Iran now face the issue that they will meet not only Lebanon, but also an annoyed France in the Classification Round. They will close out the group phase with a game against Spain.

They said: "My team showed a very good response after this tough loss against Brazil. I believe that we deserved to win this game." - Hakan Demir, Iran head coach

"After the last game against Brazil our response was very important. I think we did it in the best way. We started the game very well and had the lead for most of the game. They made better decisions in the last minute of the game and won. I'm proud of my team, my teammates and the coaching staff. We fought until the end and have to keep on going like this." - Behnam Yakhchali, Iran

"It was a tough game mentally. It wasn't a quality game from a basketball point of view, but it was exciting and had a lot of ups and downs, a lot of runs. I'm very happy for the players and the whole team, because they were working the whole game and deserved to win. Iran also played a very good game. They made us suffer with their zone. A coach is always happy when he wins the game." - Dejan Prokic, Cote d'Ivoire head coach

"This win gives us the chance to keep dreaming. We have one more game against Brazil and we can dream about beating Brazil to go to the Olympics. That's our goal. For me, basketball is not a job. I'm coming to play basketball, have fun and try to win, of course. I like tough games. That's how I like to play. I'm really happy that coach put me in such a situation and was drawing plays for me. He gave me this confidence. I didn't want to disappoint him, myself and my teammates. I'm happy that it worked." - Solo Diabate, Cote d'Ivoire