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Jordan vs Kazakhstan
Rasheim WRIGHT (Jordan). Second day of the Quarter-Finals round of 2007 FIBA Asia Championship, Tokushima, Japan. 31 July 2007.
01/08/2007JOR/KAZ - Jordan rally sweeps Kazakhstan

Boxscores | Photo gallery ¦ Video interview with Rasheim WRIGHT

TOKUSHIMA (FIBA Asia Championship) - A timely switch in defense tactics, helped by a decline in the rival scoring rate, saw a stoic Jordan bounce back into contention with a 82-73 win over an enthusiastic Kazakhstan in Group F of the Quarterfinal round on Wednesday.

Kazakhstan looked steady, steadfast and successful in their strategy in the early phases of the encounter, but once Jordan altered their tactics, the Middle Asian nation struggled with their rate. Trailing 19-28 at the end of the first quarter, and 25-35 at the mid-point of the second, Jordan opted to press the rival shooter, instead of the zone defending earlier. And the change in fortunes was immediate.

Anton Ponomarev, Rustam Yargaliyev and Yevgeniy Issakov who hitherto seemed to enjoy an unbridled run suddenly struggled for room. Having deprived their opponents of the time and space, Jordan moved into an offensive rampage of their own.

With 02:53 left in the second quarter, Enver Soobzokov leveled the score at 36 and Rasheim Wright capped a speedy drive-in to put Jordan ahead for the first time in the game. An 11-0 spree followed, with Wright in the forefront, which consolidated the lead. A lead they never surrendered.

Wright sunk 16 points, an effort that was matched by Zaid Abbas and Zaid AlKhas. Joining the trio in the defense 'attack' was Enver Soobzokov. The trio collected 5 rebounds each as Sam Daghles dazzled with his imaginative playmaking.

"I think we really started playing only after we switched our defense," said Jordan coach Mario Palma.

"Their shooting was brilliant in the beginning, but then we turned the screws," he added.

"Even after that, any momentary lapse in our concentration was punished rather severely. But luckily we didn't make too many mistakes."

Kazakh coach Vitaliy Strebkov attributed the late match on Tuesday and the paucity of time for recovery for the second half let-off.

"We had played a tough game last night. And this was another tough match. I'm not complaining. But then that's the reality," he said.

"I don't think we played badly at all."

Scores

Jordan 82 (Rasheim Wright 16, Zaid Abbas 16, Zaid AlKhas 16) bt Kazakhstan 73 (Yevgeniy Issakov 20, Rustam Yargaliyew 17, Anton Ponomarev 12). Quarterwise: 19-28, 36-39, 60-57.

S Mageshwaran

FIBA Asia