News ID: 235031
Published: 0256 GMT November 30, 2018

Australia beats Iran to clinch FIBA World Cup spot

Australia beats Iran to clinch FIBA World Cup spot
fiba.basketball

Australia defeated visiting Iran in convincing fashion in Melbourne on Friday en route to clinching its berth at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Things were close in the opening minutes, with Iran keeping instep with the host at 8-8, but the Boomers broke the game open and led 24-16 at the end of the first quarter, fiba.basketball reported.

It was all Australia from then as coach Andrej Lemanis's wards took full advantage of the absences of several key players from Iran's fifth window roster.

Australia outscored Iran in the paint, 44-16, exploiting the latter's hole in the middle resulting from Iran's top front-liners – Hamed Haddadi and Arsalan Kazemi – missing the game due to injury.

This result officially took Australia into the World Cup in China next year as the first Asian qualifiers team.

Daniel Johnson led the Boomers with 12 points while Mitch McCarron added 11 points, five rebounds and two assists.

Iran was paced by Behnam Yakhchali and Mohammad Hassanzadeh with a combined 22 points.

This was Australia's eighth win in nine games, and coach Lemanis was relieved that they finally got the job done.

"It's been a grind," Lemanis said. "It's nice to get it done now. That was the endgame – to secure a spot in 2019. It's a relief, and I'm very proud of the team and the players."

Next up for Australia is the final home game in the Asian Qualifiers against Qatar on December 3.

Iran, still second in Group F, flies to Manila as it squares off against the Philippines, which sits third in the group, on the same day.

 

   
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