Hosts Lebanon relied more on their steely resolve to win on home court and the proficiency of Fadi El Khatib to defeat GCC champions Qatar 77-74 in Overtime and bring the curtain down on the Preliminary Round of the competition maintaining their unbeaten status after four games.
Qatar finished second in Group B.
The quarterfinals will be played on Friday after a day of rest. For complete Quarterfinal schedule and Order of play click here.
Lebanon held control of the scoreboard, but Qatar continuously threatened the FIBA World Championship bound team with a refreshing display.
Elie Stephan scored seven points in the initial charge as Lebanon closed the first ten minutes 20-14 ahead, and built it to 26-19 in the first five minutes of the second, but Qatar hit back in kind. Targuy Ngombo fired in a long ranger to take the Gulf team close to 33-34 at half-time.
And when Lebanon surged ahead, scoring the first ten points of the second half, Qatar were to bounce back yet again.
Ngombo even gave them the first lead of the game 50-48. Jean Abd El Nour’s three-pointer put Lebanon back ahead. But El Nour fouled Daoud Musa, and with the latter converting one of the free-throws the teams began the fourth quarter tied at 51.
The evenness continued for the next five minutes – 59-59 – and with 20 seconds left in the game, Jackson Vroman converted one of the free-throws to keep the score level at 65, which pushed the issue beyond regulation time.
El Khatib (white jersey in picture above) who was the driving force for Lebanon in the second half scored the first four points of the Overtime, and two more later, as Lebanon eked out their fourth win in a row.
El Khatib was the highest scorer for Lebanon with 18 points. Vroman had 11 points and Rony Fahed 10.
Ngombo sparkled for Qatar with usual elegance and returned another game-high, but this time unfortunately in a losing cause.
Seasoned campaigners Musa and Erfan Saeed came up with performances which would have pleased coach Ali Fakhroo with 17 and 15 points respectively. (Eish Mondial)
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