Lebanon’s early avalanche sweeps Kazakhs hope

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Hosts Lebanon scored the first eight points of the game, then launched a 30-0 offense avalanche to close the first quarter 38-7 ahead and played out for time thereafter for a 101-57 win against Kazakhstan on Friday.

Lebanon play Philippines in the semifinals.

Kazakhstan, thus conceded the three-figure mark for the second time in competition. Japan had beaten them 101-57 in a Group A Preliminary Round game.

Naturalised American Jackson Vroman and local hero Fadi El Khatib both played the entire 10 minutes of the first quarter, and both scored in double-digits – each finding success in on their lone three-pointer attempts.

Vroman scored 11 and pulled down three rebounds; El Khatib accounted for 10 points, three rebounds and three assists; and Rony Fahed converted two of his three three-pointer attempts – all this in the first quarter adding more decibels to a partisan crowd.

Vroman finished with a game-high 24 points, El Khatib had 16 and Fahed 13.

“It went alright, didn’t it?” chuckled Lebanon coach Tab Baldwin.

“It was a little concerning in the second quarter when our bench didn’t play as well as I expected. But in the fourth quarter we came about very well,” he added.

“They (Lebanon) shocked us,” said Kazakhstan coach Vadim Burakov.

“We are a very young and inexperienced team, and they are heading to the World Championship. That was the stakes when the game began. And the way they began, they left us with no chance,” the burly Russian added.

“I’m proud of the way our defense remained tight for almost the entire game,” Baldwin said.

“It’s easy for any team to get carried away when we take a big lead. Luckily we didn’t relent for the better part of the game,” he added.

“Yes, we did concede a couple of easy baskets towards the end of the game, but overall I’m satisfied with our defense,” he said.

Talking about the semifinal against Philippines, Baldwin said: “If I had a choice I definitely won’t prefer Philippines.”

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