IRAN became the fourth nation to book a ticket to the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup after decimating Qatar by 38 points, 84-46, on Saturday at Prince Hamza Hall in Amman.
The victory pushed Team Melli to a 4-1 record, vaulting to the top spot of Group E of the qualifiers. Regardless of the result of its game against Saudi Arabia on Monday, the Iranians are already into the continental tilt due to its superior quotient.
Iran, which won the silver medal back in 2017, joins Lebanon, Bahrain, and hosts Indonesia in the big dance come August.
It was on its running shoes early on, sprinting on a 21-10 advantage to set the tone for the blowout as it finished with 23 fastbreak points, leaving Qatar, which only had two, in the dust.
The rout was further boosted by the Iranians' accurate shooting clip, going on a 53-percent field goal shooting for the game for an emphatic start to their third window stretch.
Samad Nikkhah Bahrami led the mugging with 16 points on 2-of-3 shooting from distance, to go with his three steals and two assists, while Mohammad Jamshidi also orchestrated the attack with his 13 points and eight dimes.
Behnam Yakhchali also uncorked 11 points, four assists, and three rebounds as Iran hardly broke a sweat despite missing longtime center Hamed Haddadi.
The bench was also a key factor for the Iranians as coach Mehran Shahintab got 32 points from his reserves.
Meho Haracic was the lone bright spot for the Qataris with his 17 points and three rebounds off the bench.
Momar Talla Gueye and Seydou Ndoye both scored seven each as they got a scoreless showing from mainstay Erfan Ali Saeed.
Unfortunately, the loss booted out Qatar from contention as it fell to a 1-4 record ahead of its final assignment against Syria on Monday.
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