New guys Mejri, Rector show way as Kazma hand Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai first loss
KUWAIT CITY (Kuwait) - Kazma put an end to one of the only two unbeaten streaks in all of West Asia Super League (WASL) by beating Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai, 98-86, Tuesday night at the Shaikh Saad Alabdullah Sport Hall Complex.
New signings Salah Mejri and Shane Rector wasted no time proving the ball club right of its decision to bring them in for major changes in the middle of the season as the two steered the crew to its second win to breathe new life to their campaign.
Kazma improved to 2-3 in Group A of the WASL-Gulf standings, looking to get to the best possible position they could be in as they are already through to the next round following the elimination of Al Bashaer on Monday.
Game heroes: Rector pumped a game-high 29 points on 42-percent shooting from the field and 7 rebounds for the victors.
Mejri, on the other hand, tallied 19 points and 17 rebounds in a performance that saw the three-time AfroBasket gold medalist with Tunisia reset the league record for most blocks in a single game with 6. He also had a team-high 3 steals.
The two also received solid contributions from the others. Abdulaziz Alhamidi supplied 14 points spiked by 4 3-pointers, while Abdulaziz Mohsen and Ahmad Albaloushi chipped in 11 and 10 markers, respectively.
STEP AHEAD Player of the Game: Mejri earned STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors as he received 28-percent of the fan voting.
Turning point: Kazma started a tad slow until Mejri and Legend spearheaded a telling 22-6 rally to end the first quarter with Kazma up big all of a sudden, 24-13.
They would never go behind from that point on. The home team even inflated the lead to as high as 19 points, 75-56, during the third quarter before closing the game out strongly to eventually end their foes' unscathed 4-0 start into the tourney.
Stats don't lie: Both squads were almost evenly matched in statistical categories but Kazma shot the ball better by making 44-percent from the field, including 13 treys.
They said: "I think the most important thing happened which is the result. We are on the next round for sure. Congratulations to all of Kazma and the organization. We had in front of us a great team that played great basketball ... We're new to the team so we still need a little bit of chemistry. Coach did a great job and the other players helped us a lot to be ready for this game." - Salah Mejri, Kazma
"We didn't have a perfect game. We had good and bad parts within the game. We were not able to catch rhythm and we paid the price. But at the end of the day, we were trying to fight for 40 minutes. I cannot put any blame on my players." - Zoran Zupcevic, Head Coach, Shabab Al Ahli-Dubai