09 - 17
June 2023
94 Marcus Anthony Georges-hunt (KWT)
Game Report
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Kuwait Club pass tough Gorgan test, Astana triumphant in WASL Final 8 opener

DUBAI (United Arab Emirates) - Kuwait Club kept their immaculate WASL record intact after passing the difficult test handed out by Shahrdary Gorgan, 95-85, in the Final 8 opener Friday night at the Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Sports Hall.

Marcus Georges-Hunt led the WASL-Gulf League champions with 29 points, 25 of which he made in the second half as he took the scoring cudgels after Cady Lalanne suffered leg cramps midway into the third quarter and had to rest for a while.

The veteran winger bannered the key 11-0 run to close the said period in their favor, 71-60, and continued his solid play in the final period to keep their foes at bay as he went on to earn STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors.

"I'm very happy with the win," said Kuwait Club Head Coach Peter Schomers. "Obviously, two different halves. First half, they capitalized on our mistakes ... But we kept going. We had a good second half, everybody contributed."

Thon Maker hardly showed any issue fitting in despite playing just his first official game with his new team as he finished with 21 points and 6 rebounds in a little over 20 minutes off the bench. Lalanne, meanwhile, contributed 20 markers.

"The main thing was that the three foreign players that the Kuwait team have altogether scored about 70 points of their 95. We couldn't control them. That's the reason we lost," lamented Gorgan chief mentor Mehran Hatami.

All five starters of the Iranian side finished in double figures in the loss, led by the 17 points of Mohammad Jamshidi. Behnam Yakhchali and Perry Petty both had 16.

Sajjad Pazrofteh made 15 points and 7 rebounds, as Antanas Udras chipped in 12 for Gorgan, who once led by eight points early in the game.

Meanwhile, BC Astana weathered Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai's furious second-half comeback, 80-73, to open the Final 8 festivities earlier in the night.

STEP AHEAD Player of the Game Karvel Anderson led the way with 19 points, including his team's first 12 points, while Markell Johnson produced 16 markers and seven assists as the two joined hands to stabilize the Kazakhstan champions' ship.

Astana lost a 17-point lead and trailed, 62-61, with 7:52 remaining, but Anderson stopped the home team's surge with a triple to take the lead back. Johnson then followed it up shortly after with a layup to push their lead to 66-62.

They would never fall behind since then as Rustam Murzagaliyev and Martin Krampelj came through with important buckets to get the early leadership in Group B before Kuwait Club grab a share of the top spot after beating Gorgan.

Krampelj and Ruslan Aitkali tallied 12 points apiece on six three-pointers combined, while veteran internationalist Murzagaliyev added 10 markers for Astana.

Ukrainian big man Artem Pustovyi, on the other hand, paced Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai with a game-high 21 points and 14 rebounds in the defeat.

Dane Miller Jr. supplied 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Seasoned forward Qais Omar Alshabebi provided 16 markers and 7 boards in his first WASL game back after being sidelined for months due to a leg injury.