After suffering a heartbreaking loss against Bahrain, the Indian national team bounced back in Baghdad with a much-needed win against Iraq to finish with a 1-1 record in window 1 of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers.
Five players finished in double figures as the Indians comfortably beat their counterparts 94-75 by dominating from behind the arc and in the paint.
India shot 10-of-17 (58.8%) from beyond the arc while restricting their opponents to 10-of-35 (28.6%). In the paint, India nearly doubled up their opponents' points tally by outscoring them 46-26.
For the second straight game, Muin Bek Hafeez was India's top contributor. Nearly playing all of the 40 minutes (39:04), he finished with a nearly triple-double 24 points (10-15 FGs; 4-6 3Ps), eight rebounds, and eight assists.
He also recorded three steals and a game-high efficiency of 32.
Hafeez received plenty of help, especially from the veteran duo of Vishesh Bhriguvanshi and Amritpal Singh, who combined for 35 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists, three steals, and a block.
Enjoy the best of 🏀🇮🇳's @amritpalog during window 1 of the #FIBAAsiaCup 2021 Qualifiers!@BFI_basketball pic.twitter.com/oPmUJS5EOt- 🏀FIBA Asia Cup (@FIBAAsiaCup) March 4, 2020
Forward Aravind Annadurai, who played all 40 minutes of the game, contributed across the board with 21 points, eight rebounds, five assists, four steals, and a team-high +19.
Among the two NBA Academy India student-athletes who were part of the roster, only Princepal Singh saw the floor. In four minutes of action, he recorded two rebounds and a block.
Although Amaan Sandhu received a DNP - Coach's decision for a second straight game, he took a lot from the national experience.
MORE: Sandhu - 'My end goal is to make it to the NBA'
"It's one of my dreams. My father used to play for the Indian team. He's proud of me," Sandhu said in a story on FIBA.com.
Courtesy of the win over Iraq, India climbed one spot to 73rd in the world and 12th in the Asia region in the latest FIBA men's rankings.
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