Team Taiwan fell 27 points short of victory to a much taller Iranian squad on the sixth day of the Jones Cup International Basketball Tournament yesterday.
Dropping a 74-47 decision to the Persians at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City, Taiwan finished the day with a 4-2 record with one game remaining in the preliminaries.
The loss, coupled with Jordan’s win over previously undefeated South Korea earlier yesterday, forced a four-way tie — Taiwan, Iran, Jordan and the Philippines —for second place in the standings.
That makes today’s matches critical for each of those teams, who will all be hoping to advance into the medal round.
Although Tseng Wen-ding scored 13 first-quarter points, Iran managed to retain a four-point lead at 17-13.
Tseng accounted for all of Taiwan’s scoring in the quarter.
However, the narrow deficit widened to a double-digit one in the second frame, with Iran -holding the Taiwan offense scoreless for more than three minutes and outscoring the hosts 16-8 in the quarter to close out the first half with a sizable 33-21 lead.
That was as close as Taiwan got as Iran continued to exploit their height advantage.
With three players over 2.1m on the floor at one point, Iran racked up several offensive rebounds and easy baskets from close range, upping their lead to 17 en route to a lopsided victory.
Tseng was held to only two points after the first quarter, with the Iran defense constantly closing in on him every time he touched the ball.
He ended the night with a team-high of 15.
Iran’s Hamed Haddadi led all scorers with 18 points, along with nine rebounds.
His presence was felt by Taiwan’s shooters as he was able to alter countless shots by the hosts, who shot a dismal 15-for-51 (29.4 percent) from the floor, compared to Iran’s 29-for-67 (43.3 percent).