Day 3 of the AOZ U23 Qualifying Tournament opened with China facing the undefeated Iran, who were without their leading points scorer Sayari as he had fallen ill overnight. However, they need not worry as Mojtaba Kamali stepped up with a 20 point opening quarter along side a disciplined defensive effort, Iran virtually shut the Chinese out of the game in one quarter, leading 28-3 at the first break. Maintaining the intensity in the second period Iran went to the half time break leading comfortably by 37 points. China had no answer to the Iranian pressure and fell further behind as the game progressed, final score 75 – 21.

Iran’s Kamali finished with 33 points, shooting at a remarkable 69% and was ably supported by Ali-Karimi Kerdabadi with 12 points. For China only Qin Xulei (9) and Zhu Zhencong (8) provided any answer scoring resistance. Download the boxscore

The second game of the morning saw Thailand hoping that they could add to the woes of the Australians, who were coming off the back of two losses from the previous day. The game began brightly for Thailand as Sripirom hit his first three shots and they quickly opened a six point advantage, this was before Australia’s captain Tom O’Neil-Thorne hit three consecutive three pointers and took Australia to the first break up by 6. It was a tight second quarter as Thailand continued strongly, keeping them in the game and only 3 points in arrears at half time. Early in the third Australia’s influential O’Neil-Thorne picked up his fourth foul and was immediately benched. Australia needed another scoring option, and Brian Carminati stepped up for the current U23 World Bronze medallists, with a 10 point quarter holding onto a 6 point lead going into the final quarter. Carminati continued his good shooting form in the final quarter finishing with 20 points, whilst O’Neil-Thorne (25) safely playing out the period, guiding Australia to a 67 – 53 win against some spirited Thai opposition, Sripirom (27) and Mongkol Tunsaard (18) both had solid games at both ends of the court. Download the boxscore

Game three had the winless India up against unbeaten Japan. The Japanese, who have been particularly strong defensively so far with a disciplined half court press cotinued in the same fashion and the debutant team from India had no answer. A 12 point quarter from Kazuma Terauchi and Japan led 24-2 at quarter time. More of the same throughout the other three quarters led to a rather onesided affair as Japan shared points across all of their players to hit a century against India’s 6 points, final score 101-6. Download the boxscore

Final game of the day had Thailand and China squaring off with the winner most likely filling the semi-final spot behind Japan, Iran and Australia. Thailand didn’t show any sign that their earlier encounter with Australia had taken anything out of them as they powered through the first quarter to lead 20-6 on the back of Sripirom’s 15 points. China could not match the speed and clean ball handling of the Thai’s as Yenkuan and Tunsaard scored freely off a number of Chinese turnovers to take a 23 point lead into the half time break. The second half saw Thailand continue to keep the pressure on China and with Sripirom again taking charge they ran out comfortable winners 60-25. Thailand’s Sripirom finished with 30 points while Tunsaard (14) and Yenkuan (12) provided valuable support. For China only Chen Aodi (7) and Qin Xulei (6) could offer any resistance. Download the boxscore

Tomorrow sees unbeaten teams Iran and Japan face off in what could well be a prelude to Saturday’s final

Day Three Final Scores

  • Iran 75 – 21 China
  • Thailand 53 – 67 Australia
  • Japan 101 – 6 India
  • Thailand 60 – 25 China

Day Four Schedule

  • 11.30 – Thailand v India
  • 13.30 – China v Australia
  • 15:00 – Iran v Japan

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