HAMED Hadadi and Samad Nikkhah Bahrami combined for 53 points in leading Iran to a 76-65 victory over Korea on Friday to remain unbeaten in the 2013 Fiba-Asia Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 7-foot-2 Hadadi dominated the paint to contribute 30 points and 13 rebounds, while Bahrami scored 23 including six in a pivotal 9-0 run to finish the third period, lifting Iran to its second win in Group C.
On Saturday, Iran faces defending champion China, which finally nailed a victory earlier Friday with a 113-22 beating of Malaysia.
Iran won after a sloppy first half as they trailed, 30-34, at halftime. Korea even led 42-41 late in the third but Bahrami took over.
Hadadi, meanwhile, threw his weight around in the paint in the fourth as the NBA veteran fought off double-teaming efforts by Korea to score easily.
Iran coach Mehmed Becirovic was not surprised with Korea’s effort after seeing it stun China in the opener.
“They won against China and they have self-confidence,” said the Slovenian coach. “We had first quarter problems but we found good solutions when we talked about it at halftime.”
Mahdi Kamrany also dished out a game-high nine assists, most of them finished off by Hadadi.
The game was also physical as each team had 23 fouls, with one man from each side fouling out. Bahrami and Kim Joo Sung Kim as well as Hadadi and Cho Sung Min had a separate altercations sparked the physicality of the game.
“We must play physical because they (Korea) are very quick,” said Becirovic.
Cho topscored with 15 points for Korea but admitted that they got fatigued against Iran.
“In the first half, we were pretty focused but in the second half, we got tired and we couldn’t play well,” said Cho.
Iran (76) – Hadadi 30, Bahrami 23, Kamrany 5, Sahakian 4, Kardoust 4, Arghavan 3, Jamshidijafarabadi 3, Davoudichegani 2, Afagh 2, Davari 0, Veisi 0.
Korea (65) – Cho Sung min 15, Kim Min Goo 11, Kim Jong Kyu 11, Lee Jong Hyun 8, Kim Sun Hyung 6, Kim Joo Sung 5, Lee Seung Jun 4, Yang Dong Geun 2, Choi Jun Yong 2, Yoon Ho Young 1, Kim Tae Sool 0, Moon Seong Gon 0.
Quarterscores: 18-15; 30-34; 51-41; 76-65.