Al Naft back on track, foil Alkaramah upset bid for third win
BAGHDAD (Iraq) - No blowout whatsoever took place this time around but Al Naft still came out triumphant against Alkaramah, 82-72, to return to their winning ways in WASL-West Asia, Thursday night at the Al Shaeb Hall in Baghdad.
A hard-fighting Syrian side showed up wanting to avenge the 23-point humiliation they received in Damascus last December, but the Iraqi club was still better thanks to a balanced scoring spearheaded by Antwaine Wiggins.
Coming off a crushing 110-69 loss to Gorgan, Al Naft improved to 3-1 and captured solo second in Group A while keeping Alkaramah winless in four games.
Game heroes: Wiggins led the way with 25 points, including seven in the second quarter where the home team took control of the match. He also finished with 9 rebounds and 2 assists as he played the entire 40 minutes.
But it wasn't all him that made the bounce-back W possible, with both Karrar Hamzah and Jasim Muhammed Jabbar Al-saadi supplying 16 markers apiece, with the latter adding 12 rebounds for a double-double performance.
Abbas Al-Draisawi chipped in 12 markers as they stepped up on a night WASL-West Asia's top scorer Edgar Sosa was held to just 11 points.
STEP AHEAD Player of the Game: Wiggins deservingly earned STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors, receiving 27-percent in the fan voting.
Turning point: Wiggins went a perfect 2-for-2 from the charity stripe to break a 47-all deadlock with 2:21 left in the second period, and that sparked a 7-0 run that gave Al Naft a 54-47 advantage entering the halftime break.
The hosts would stay in command the rest of the way. They inflated the lead to as big as 13 points, 75-62, early in the final period.
Stats don't lie: Both teams yielded almost the same figures in stats categories but Al Naft shot the ball better with a 45-percent clip from the floor, including 55-percent from inside the paint. They also converted second chances better, 17-11.