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South Asia Basketball: India U16 boys beat Maldives 90-34
While the blowout win was expected, India's abysmal three point and free throw shooting will raise eyebrows.
The South Asian Qualifiers for the FIBA U16 Asian Championship got underway at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, Colombo on August 28.
India’s campaign began on Day 2 (i.e. August 29) against Maldives.
Only three teams - India, Maldives and hosts Sri Lanka - are vying for the sole spot in this year’s FIBA U16 Asian Championship.
Having lost its opening game against Sri Lanka 51-97, Maldives was facing a must-win situation against favourites India.
Similar to their previous game, Maldives started off positively with its outside shooting, only to see its opponent surge ahead within a few minutes.
Maldives struggled to maintain possession against the taller and much more athletic Indian team. India’s perimeter players, in particular, stole the ball easily and often, leading to multiple fast break opportunities.
India captain Lavish showcased his credentials as a two-way point guard with five steals to go along with his team-high 18 points.
A whopping 80 out of India’s 90 points came in the paint. India also won the rebounding tussle 59-44, besides getting ample bench contributions.
But positives aside, India head coach Ram Kumar will not be happy with his team’s torrid shooting - whether from the free throw line (4/15 - 26.7%) or beyond the arc (2/15 - 13.3%).
Having fallen 0-2, Maldives has already been knocked out of the competition. This makes India’s group phase game against Sri Lanka later today a dress rehearsal ahead of the finals between the same two teams on August 31.
India (Lavish 18 pts 5 stl, Mohit Jogchand 14 pts 6 stl, Tajinderbir Singh 12 pts 6 reb, Lokesh Kumar Sharma 11 pts 5 stl) bt Maldives (Mohamed Naaf Irushan 17 reb 8 pts, Aik Ahmed Mauroof 16 pts 6 reb) 90-34 [27-12, 20-9, 24-3, 19-10]
Watch the full game: