Changsha-Hunan (China): Riding on 32 points by hoopster Amjyot Singh, India edged out Palestine 73-70 in Round 2 of the FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha-Hunan on Sunday.
It was a back-and-forth affair for much of the game, with both teams exchanging runs. Even until the final buzzer, Palestine had a chance as Jamal Abu-Shamala stole the ball off an inbound pass and very nearly hit a potential game-tying three-point shot.
It was a battle of big threes with Palestine’s Abu-Shamala, Sani Sakakini, and Imad Qahwash finding their match in India’s Amjyot, Amrit Pal Singh, and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi. Amjyot had the biggest game of them all, though, and was able to lead India to only their second win in four starts.
Amjyot exploded for 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. He also hit three times from beyond the arc and played all but one minute of the game. He got able support from Bhriguvanshi’s 17 points, while Amrit Pal added 14 points and 9 rebounds.
Palestine was led by Sani Sakakini’s 23-point, 12-rebound effort, while Jamal Abu-Shamala and Salim Sakakini had 21 and 16 points respectively. Qahwash finished with only 5 points, but he handed out 9 assists. Palestine were 61-60 at the 4:40 mark of the fourth period before India went on a 9-2 spurt punctuated by a nasty Amjyot, who put-back slam dunk that gave them a 6-point cushion with under a minute to go. Abu-Shamala made a couple more shots to stay within striking distance, but his squad eventually fell short.
Palestine ruled the boards, out-rebounding India, 49-38, but this was offset by their 17 turnovers. India also converted more points in the paint, 34-26. Nobody outside of Abu-Shamala made a three-point basket for Palestine, with the rest of the team going 0-of-9.
This was a huge game for India as they needed a win to significantly pad their chances of making the next round. Now they have a 1-win, 2-losses record, while pulling Palestine down to 2-wins and 1 loss. India next take on Hong Kong, whom they should get past with ease, while things get even tougher for Palestine as they face Japan on Monday.