India lose to Saudi Arabia in Asia Cup Basketball qualifiers

Jeddah, August 20 (IANS) India suffered a setback in their dream of qualifying for next year’s FIBA ​​Asia Cup in Jakarta as the men’s basketball team went down and fought Saudi Arabia 61-80 on Friday night.

After falling 8-20 behind at the end of the first quarter, India fought back against a strong Saudi team as they closed the gap to within three points. Joginder Singh and Sahaij Pratap Singh Sekhon were the two snipers who helped India claw their way back into the game.

They both combined to seven three-pointers in 12 attempts as India reduced the gap.

India, however, could not maintain momentum as Saudi Arabia, egged on by a loud home crowd in King Abdullah Sports City, came back strong with a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter that helped them seal the victory.

For India, Joginder Singh topped with 17 points, while Sekhon had 15.

For Saudi Arabia, the young Mohammed Alsuwailem played with 16 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Khalid Abdel Gabar (17), Mathna Almarwanin (11), Nassir Abo Jalas (11) and Fahad Belal (11) were the other scorers for the hosts.

India will now have to be quickly regrouped as they play Palestine on Saturday. A victory seals a place in the final to be played in Indonesia in February 2022.


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