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Asia U16 Basketball: India boys face Qatar in pre-quarterfinals
India secured a place in the knockouts after a record setting 112-39 win over Sri Lanka in the final group phase game
India’s impressive turnaround at the FIBA U16 Asian Championship continued, with a 112-39 dismantling of Sri Lanka in the final group phase game.
The Championship is underway at the Al-Gharafa Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
History-setting win over Sri Lanka
The benefit of facing a familiar fellow South Asian team at the continental level meant that India reportedly posted its highest points total as well as its largest-ever margin of victory in its history of competing at the U16 Asian Championship.
New leaders emerged for India against Sri Lanka, with backup players Ankush (27 pts), Tajinderbir Singh (6 steals) and giant 6ft 11’ centre Jagmeet Singh (5 blocks) making the most of their increased minutes against a much weaker opponent.
The familiar full-court press
Against Sri Lanka, it was the familiar strategy of full-court press that was on full display. The Lankans conceded 37 turnovers that led to a massive 54 points for India.
The Indian players seemed to particularly relish stripping Sri Lankan captain Anthony Bernard, who posted 15 turnovers. Sri Lanka’s bigs Vishwa Herath and Chamindu Mudiyanselage tried their best, especially on the glass, but in the end the result was always going in India’s favour.
India (Ankush 27 pts, Mirthun Vel Dhanasekar 17 pts, Tajinderbir Singh 13 pts 6 stl Lokesh Kumar Sharma 12 pts, Kailash Bishnoi 10 pts, Jagmeet Singh 5 blk) bt Sri Lanka (Vishwa Herath 22 pts 12 reb, Chamindu Ma W Wijesinghe Mudiyanselage 18 reb) 112-39 [33-4, 35-17, 25-10, 19-8]
Facing Qatar next
Having finished second in Group A behind Australia, and ahead of Lebanon, India now faces Group B’s third-placed team Qatar in the pre-quarterfinals.
A win over hosts Qatar would ensure India returns to the quarterfinals for the second straight edition.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Despite its two victories, India has continued to struggle with turnovers - a perennial problem across all age groups. At 24.3 TOPG (turnovers per game), it is tied for third-worst among all teams, behind only Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan - both of which have been eliminated. Cleaning up this statistic alone could prove the difference between India making the final eight, or simply being ‘also-rans’.
*India’s pre-quarterfinals against Qatar tips off on September 21 at 7:30 pm IST. Live streaming of the game is expected on the FIBA YouTube channel.
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