More disciplined Gorgan get near West Asia Final with romp of ZobAhan
TEHRAN (Iran) - Discipline proved to be the difference as Gorgan refused to be on the short end of a ZobAhan comeback, 91-72, to put one foot into the WASL-West Asia League Final, Thursday night at the Azadi Basketball Hall in Tehran.
The reigning Iranian Super League champions saw their 23-point lead become just five, 70-65, with 7:57 left to play, but quickly responded as Perry Petty and Mohammad Jamshidi powered a 10-0 run to put the game away for good.
Gorgan's strong finish also preserved their impressive second-quarter showing that put them ahead the rest of the night, where they outscored their foes 30-8, with Petty and Behnam Yakchali accounting for over half of it by combining for 16 points.
They now lead the best-of-3 series, and could finish off their Iranian counterparts in Game 2 next Thursday in the same battleground,
Game heroes: Yakhchali top-scored for Gorgan with 25 points on a 9-of-13 clip from the floor, alongside 5 rebounds, an assist, and a pair of steals on the way to earning STEP AHEAD Player of the Game honors.
Petty produced 21 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Jamshidi had 16 points while Sajjad Pazrofteh added 13 as four of the five starters finished in double figures.
Turning point: Gorgan actually entered the second period behind by a field goal until Yakhchali sparked a 9-0 start to get ahead, 29-22, and momentum would shift their way since that enabled the squad to establish a 50-30 halftime lead.
Stats don't lie: Gorgan shot 54-percent from the floor, tying, coincidentally, ZobAhan for the fourth-highest team field goal shooting in West Asia.
They said: "That's the game. Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down. We didn't have enough concentration on defense and that made us go down [during the fourth quarter] mentally. But I'm happy that we have a great team -- even the bench players came and controlled the game, and we came back to a good position and controlled the game until the end." - Mehram Hatami, Head Coach, Gorgan
"They are experienced. They have a good coach. They have so many national team players. Today heir import player didn't play, for sure next game he's coming to play. It will be much harder to play against them, so we have to be focused. We have to work on our start -- we have to get off to a good start. And I hope we win next game." Behnam Yakhchali, Gorgan
"We tried so hard but it's a team that you cannot get behind like 20 points. There is no way to come back. They have great players -- Jamshidi, Yakhchali, Perry Petty. They are good players and offensively they are great. If you lost your concentration, they're gonna punish you. But for the second game, it's gonna be another day, another game." Arman Zangeneh, ZobAhan
"Tonight, they played better than us. I think we didn't have focus in this game. I think nobody [has seen[ ZobAhan play like that this year. I think we were tired because we had a game two days against Mes [Kerman]. All the players were tired. I hope next game we play better than tonight." - Sajjad Mashayekhi, ZobAhan