Basketball: India top group A by routing Sri Lanka
India’s newly-appointed basketball coach Kenny Natt couldn’t have asked for a better start to his campaign at the helm of the Indian Men’s team: On the first day of the Middle Asia Zone Qualifying matches held at the Thyagraj Stadium in New Delhi, India had a dominating first quarter that set the tone for a huge win over the hapless Sri Lanka on Wednesday. A balanced attack led India to a 99-42 win as they topped group A.
India were no match for Sri Lanka from the opening tip. Playing fierce defense as preached by the former NBA coach Natt, India forced their southern rivals to commit several turnovers, which led to easy fast-break points. India were especially lethal from the three-point line, hitting 9-18 shots (an incredible 50 percent) from long range.
Vishesh Bhriguvanshi led all scorers with 16 points, while Jagdeep Singh and Prakash Mishra added 15 each. With the game becoming into a rout early, Coach Natt was able to play his entire 12-man squad, including young Punjabi big men Satnam Singh Bhamara and Amjyot Singh, both of whom had impressive debuts for the Young Cagers.
India’s play was especially highlighted by several unselfish plays, leading to a high number of assists. India has now topped Group A and will play whoever finishes 2nd in Group B at 5 PM on Thursday.
Earlier on Wednesday, Bhutan and Nepal played in a Group B clash that saw Nepal get on a quick start and cruise a 79-53 victory. Nepal was led by 21 points by Sadish Pradhan and 18 points and 9 rebounds by Byangankar (Sr.)
- Nepal (Sadish Pradhan 21, Byangankar (Sr.) 18, Binod Maharjan 15) bt. Bhutan (Galden Chopel 14, Tsher Phuntsho 12) 79-53 (24-13, 20-13, 16-13, 19-14).
- India (Vishesh Bhriguvanshi 16, Prakash Mishra 15, Jagdeep Singh 15, Amrit Pal Singh 12, Riyazuddin 10) bt. Sri Lanka (RR Suran 11, S Senananyaka 10) 99-42 (32-5, 28-15, 26-14, 13-8).
- Bangladesh bt. Bhutan 92-59