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2023 FIBA World Cup

FIBA: Iran on verge of finishing last after France thrashing


Having fallen short of qualifying for the second stage of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, France embarked on their redemption journey in the classification phase, securing a wire-to-wire victory of 82-55 against Iran on Thursday at the Indonesia Arena in Jakarta.

Team Melli experienced ongoing struggles as they suffered their fourth consecutive defeat in the global showcase. Moreover, their hopes were virtually dashed by Japan earlier in the day, denying them an automatic ticket to Paris. On the other hand, Les Bleus, who had secured an Olympic berth as the host country, balanced their record at 2-2.

France’s well-rounded offensive performance against Iran was led by three players with double-digit scores. Elie Okobo led the charge with 13 points on an impressive 71-percent shooting accuracy, while Nando de Colo and Guerschon Yabusele contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Les Bleus created a gap between themselves and Iran with a 19-6 surge, during which former Phoenix Sun player Elie Okobo notched 12 of those points, propelling Les Bleus to an eight-point halftime lead of 35-27.

From that point onward, France maintained control, overwhelming a Hamed Ehaddadi-absent Iran with a 14-5 burst at the beginning of the second half, bolstered by Yabusele’s nine-point spree, resulting in a score of 49-32.

A flurry of three-pointers in the latter part of the final quarter sealed Les Bleus’ second victory in the global showcase. Nando de Colo sunk two shots from beyond the arc, and Terry Tarpey joined the shooting display, pushing France to their largest lead of the match, 82-50.

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“I believe the most crucial aspect was not just winning, but also playing with enjoyment, and I think we achieved that… The young players injected energy into our team, and it was thanks to them that we were able to take the lead,” commented France’s head coach, Vincent Collet.

In his return to the game, Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert fell just short of a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds. Los Angeles Clippers forward Nicolas Batum and Evan Fournier each contributed two points.

Despite Iran boasting three players in double digits, led by Meisam Mirzaei and Behnam Yakhchali with 11 points each, three Team Melli players who played for over five minutes struggled to make offensive contributions.

Both teams are set to wrap up their classification phase campaigns on Saturday at the same Indonesia venue. Les Bleus will take on Ivory Coast, while Team Melli will face Amir Saoud and Lebanon. (Ernest Martin Tuazon)

The Scores:

France (82) – Okobo 13, De Colo 12, Yabusele 11, Ouattara 9, Gobert 9, Francisco 9, Cordinier 8, Fall 4, Tarpey 3, Batum 2, Fournier 2

Iran (55) – Yakhchali 11, Mirzaei 11, Rezaeifar 10, Mashayekhi 9, Amini 6, Agha Miri 4, Aliakbari 2, Vahedi 2, Aghajanpour 0, Girgoorian 0, Kazemi 0

Quarterscores: 9-12, 35-27, 54-36, 82-55

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