Gutsy Qatar pull off memorable win
25 Sep 2015 - 3:16
CHANGSHA-HUNAN: Qatar trailed Lebanon by as many as 18 points yesterday but refused to die and ended up pulling off a memorable 105-100 win in double overtime, at the FIBA Asia Championship.
Ali Saad forced the first overtime when he made three free-throws after being fouled while attempting a shot from the arc just seven seconds from the end.
Then at the end of the first overtime, Clinton Johnson drilled a three-pointer to close the gap to 85-84 and following a one-of-two effort at the line by Lebanon, he hit a mid-range jumper at the buzzer to knot the contest at 86-86 and force a second overtime.
Saad then came to the fore again, hitting back-to-back three-pointers for a 96-90 Qatar lead and they held on for a famous victory.
Johnson finished with 31 points and Saad had 20.
Lebanon were just seconds away from victory in regulation but they failed to get the rebound off a missed Saad free-throw.
Saad got the ball and attempted a three, drawing a foul on the play. He made all three free-throws and the game went to overtime. After Johnson’s heroic’s in the first overtime, Saad’s three-pointers in the second extra period effectively gave Qatar the win.
Qatar looked dead and buried at half-time but resurrected their hopes in the third quarter by outscoring Lebanon, 27-8, for a 54-50 advantage.
Lebanon would have won this game had it been able to make some free-throws. As it was, Veselin Matic’s team finished a woeful 15 of 29 (51.7 percent) at the charity stripe.
Take your pick because both Johnson and Saad are worthy of this honour. Each poured in the points and also came through in do-or-die situations.
There simply can be no excuse for Lebanon blowing such a huge lead and falling to Qatar. That said, it took exceptional performances by John and Saad to lift Qatar to a second precious victory.
Qatar had won their Group D opener in overtime against Kazakhstan, too. Meanwhile, in the other match of the day, hosts China pulled off a comeback for the ages yesterday and beat Korea on Day 2 of the FIBA Asia Championship.
Trailing by 20 points, Gong Luming’s side got off the canvas and took the lead in the final minute before recording a 76-73 win. Zhou Qi, who had a sensational game, dunked with 56 seconds remaining to put China in front for good, although the Far East giants needed a fearless drive into the lane and lay-up from Guo Ailun with 8secs remaining for a 74-71 lead. THE PENINSULA