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TOKUSHIMA (FIBA Asia Championship) - Utilizing their advantage in height, Iran came up with a strong performance under the post to beat Chinese Taipei 76-64 in Group E of the Quarterfinal round on Tuesday.
Taipei did make a gallant fight of it, opting for a speedier approach to counter the taller Iranian approach, and managed to remain in the game, but as the match progressed the tired legs began to show. Iran thus had no reason to worry.
"We knew we were taller. We knew were stronger under the basket. And we used it to the fullest extent," said Iran coach Toroman Rajko.
"It wasn't that easy for our players against their height," said Taipei coach Chung Kwak-Sung.
Mohammad Nikkah and Hamed Ehadadi stood tall, literally as Iran kept things under their control throughout. Nikkah accounted top scored the game with 22 points. But it was Ehadadi who made that crucial difference between the teams, his 16 rebounds - 10 when defending - proving as valuable as the 17 points he contributed.
Of course, with Javad Davari and Mahdi Kamrany proving sharp - to use their teammates height - and speedy in their turnovers, Iran's campaign was secure. Davari's impressive shooting was an added bonus.
"The key was in stopping their fast breaks," said Davari. "And our tall players were brilliant in their rebounds," he added.
Taipei who ran into a tall wall of defense fell short in their perimeter attempts, with Iran's rebound collection completely constraining the second shots.
"We just hope we can leave this behind," Kwak-Sung said.
Iran take on Qatar while Taipei will match wits with Lebanon on Wednesday.
Iran 76 (Mohammad Nikkah 22, Hamed Ehadadi 17, Javad Davari 13) bt Chinese Taipei 64 (Wu Tai-Ho 16, Chen Hsin-An 12, Yang Che-Yi 12). Quarterwise: 23-17, 37-34, 61-44.