Murphy erupts for 34, tows Kazma past gutsy Al Bashaer for first win
KUWAIT CITY (Kuwait) - Kazma hung on to beat Al Bashaer, 84-77, for their first win in the WASL-Gulf, Tuesday night at the Shaikh Saad Alabdullah Sport Hall Complex.
Kevin Murphy and Latavious Williams applied the final blows to knock off their hard-fighting foes, who gave the home team the fits by managing to come to within just a hair strand after falling to a 12-point hole during the third chapter.
Game heroes: Murphy powered the Kuwaiti side with 34 big points, tying the Gulf League record set by Clint Chapman of Al Hilal against, coincidentally, Al Bashaer in their dominant 86-54 win the night after Christmas last year.
Fifteen of his points came in the third canto, including 8 consecutive to give his crew a 61-50 advantage with under 4 minutes remaining.
The 32-year-old shooting guard shot 40-percent from the floor, and also collected 9 rebounds and 3 steals as he played the entirety of the match.
But it wasn't all him who made the breakthrough victory possible.
Ahmad Albaloushi produced 14 points and 8 assists. Williams tallied a double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds. Yousiff Borhamah added 11 markers also as 4 of the 5 starters finished in double figures for Kazma.
Turning point: Kazma had already established a 63-51 lead late in the third quarter and appeared to be on the way to making it a blowout, but Al Bashaer refused.
Behind Aaron Parks, the club from Oman cut the gap to just a solitary point, 72-71, approaching the last 6 minutes of the match.
Kazma, though, made sure that it will be the closest they could get. Albaloushi, Williams, and Borhamah stretched the lead to 6, 77-71, with 4:28 remaining.
Al Bashaer put up a last-ditch effort by making it a one-possession game, 80-77, with 1:39 to go and even had some of the breaks go their way, but Kazma relied on their defense that ultimately led to Williams' two-handed jam with 19.1 ticks left.
That slam proved to be the dagger, and Murphy went on to settle the final count with 10.3 seconds on the clock by canning both of his freebies, leaving Al Bashaer crushed yet again as they remain the only winless team in Group A (0-3).
Stats don't lie: Both squads committed 15 turnovers but Al Bashaer surely suffered the most as Kazma converted their errors to 23 points. The latter also dominated the boards, 56-40.
They said: "This game was very important for us. I think this is 60, 70 percent how we can play. Very important that we won the game. Points, at this moment, is not important. We continue and we will prepare for sure for the next game." - Ivan Jeremic, Head Coach, Kazma.
"It was a tough game. It's our first win, and we will start [preparing] for the next game." - Abdulaziz Alhamidi, Kazma