India suffered their first loss in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championships at the hands of reigning champions Iran in Hunan, China. After beating Malaysia comfortably, India lost 66-88 to the Asian powerhouse in their second match of Group A.
Amjyot Singh was the star of the match as he scored a massive 26 points in a match where India trailed throughout. Iran’s bench strength shined through in the match as their substitutes combined to score nearly half their points – 41. In contrast, India managed a paltry 14 points from the bench.
India blew away Malaysia in a 102-73 win on the opening day, while Iran routed Japan 86-48. Iran started on the front-foot, taking a 4-0 lead early in the first quarter. India halved the deficit, but Ehadadi restored their lead from the free throw line. India held the Iranis to 10-4 at the halfway mark in the first quarter, but the defending champions broke off the shackles and went on a scoring spree for the remaning 5 minutes of the quarter.
H. Afagh hit the first three-pointer of the match which opened the floodgates as India were put on the backfoot. Iran outscored India 17-7 in the final 4 minutes of the first quarter, which ended with Iran leading 27-11.
The second quarter saw a spirited Indian side stage a strong comeback which saw Iran’s lead reduced to just 7 points at one stage. Captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi and Amritpal Singh started India’s 9-point run as the Iran coach was forced to call for a timeout after just 4 minutes in the quarter.
After a few minutes when both teams exchanged points, Amjyot Singh helped India outscore Iran 19-11 in the second quarter as the first half ended with the 17th ranked team in the world leading 39-30. India suffered a blow near the end of the half when Amritpal Singh was fouled out after committing his 5th foul near the buzzer.
The second half was a rout of sorts for India as Iran showed their quality by outscoring India 49-36.
In the third quarter, Iran scored 24 points as compared to India’s 18 points. M. Nik Khahbahrami brought Iran their 50th point with a three-pointer in the 24th minute. Yadwinder Singh scored a few points from the paint and sunk in a couple of free throws, but Iran ended the quarter strongly, leading 63-48.
In the final quarter, the defending champions maintained their dominance as they forced India into a few turnovers. Amjyot Singh put up a fight, but the Iranis kept on rotating their players well as the Indians tired towards the end. Iran beat India 88-66 to top the group stage while India were handed their first loss in Hunan. Amjyot Singh top scored with 26 points while chipping in with 9 rebounds. Iran’s top scorer was M. Hassanzadeh Saberi with 16 points while Khahbahrami won 8 rebounds for his team.