Boxscores | Photo gallery ¦ Video interview with HA Seung-Jin
TOKUSHIMA (FIBA Asia Championship) - At 223 cms, Ha Seung-Jin is a basketball coach's dream. And when pitted against a team with much lesser average height such tall players surely turn night mare for rivals. These were the gist of the multitude of thoughts that went around after Korea, riding on Ha's height, defeated Jordan 70-65 in Group F of the Quarterfinal round on Tuesday.
"Of course, a player like Ha is a major influence on the outcome of many a game," beamed Korean coach Choi Bu Yung.
"And he was in tremendous form today," the coach beamed.
"He (Ha) caused too many problems for us. He was a night mare," lamented Jordan coach Mario Palma.
Ha accounted for 21 points, and gathered 12 rebounds - eight of them in the offense - as Korea kept their much faster rivals under a tight leash.
Speedy Jordan, led by Rasheim Wright - who had another impressive outing - were but they constantly ran into the defense plan laid out by Korea.
Needless to mention, all their plans revolved around Ha.
Adding to Jordanian woes was their poor conversion rate from the free-throw line and a consistently declining graph in their three-pointers.
"We were really bad in our free throws and three-pointers. And with Ha present inside, we couldn't break in either," Palma said.
Korea had to cope with the early foul-out of the other tall center Kim Joo-Sung, but coach said it mattered in only a couple of combinations. "We couldn't play the double post, in Kim's absence. But otherwise it didn't matter thanks to Ha," he said.
Rasheim Wright was at his fluent best, but without much support from others and against the height of Ha, his was a lonely and losing battle.
Korea 70 (Ha Seung-Jin 21, Yang Hee-Jong 14, Kim Seung Hyun 12) bt Jordan 65 (Rasheim Wright 23). Quarterwise: 21-16, 39-35, 56-51.