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India falls to World No. 27 Iran in FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers

Spirited India falls short against world No. 27 Iran in FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, despite impressive efforts from forward Pranav Prince.

India falls to World No. 27 Iran in FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers

The Indian men's basketball looks for its first win in the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. 


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 26 Feb 2024 4:42 PM GMT

The Indian men's basketball team displayed resilience against the higher-ranked Iran but ultimately succumbed to a 53-86 defeat in an intense Group E clash of the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers,at the K.D. Jadhav Indoor Hall, Indira Gandhi stadium on Monday.

Ranked 81st in the FIBA Rankings, India entered the match as the underdogs against the 27th-ranked Iran. However, the home team showcased determination from the start, buoyed by a supportive crowd that filled the stadium. Forward Pranav Prince made early impressive interceptions, propelling India to a two-point lead within the first minute.

Iran, ranked significantly higher, initially struggled to find their rhythm against the spirited Indian defense. Despite this, they capitalized on their physical advantage to gain the lead. At the end of the first quarter, India trailed by just three points, proving they were very much in contention.

Throughout the match, India attempted to counter Iran's dominance with fast-paced runs, successfully converting over 40% of their two-point attempts. However, they struggled on the rebounds, a factor that ultimately cost them. Heading into halftime, India found themselves trailing 32-42.

Pranav Prince led the scoring for the hosts with 11 points, supported by Arvind Kumar Muthu Krishnan and Muin Bek Hafeez, who contributed nine points each. On the Iranian side, Benham Yakhchali led with 15 points, followed closely by Mohammad Amini and Salar Monji, who added 14 points each.

Reflecting on India's performance, head coach Vaseline Matic, from Serbia, commented, "India has talent, we need more experience. We have some gap now before the next qualifier in November and the national team will be participating in club championship and multiple other exposure trips. We are confident that we can give a winning performance."

Iran's coach, Hakan Demor, praised the young Indian team, particularly highlighting the performance of forward Pranav Prince. He expressed his admiration for the Indian player's skills and contribution to the game.

The loss against Iran marks India's second defeat in the Group E qualifiers, following their earlier loss to Kazakhstan. With a gap before their next qualifier in November, the Indian team will focus on gaining valuable experience through various championships and exposure trips in preparation for future matches.

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