1112 GMT January 23, 2018
The Koreans may have started slow in this tournament, losing to Lebanon on Day 1, but since then they have showcased a kind of fast-paced basketball that is at once fast and fascinating, fiba.com reported.
Not to be outdone, however, Iran has been nothing short of indomitable. The Western Asian side is the fourth-best three-point shooting team in the tournament and actually scores more fastbreak points than S. Korea. It is clear Iran does not exclusively rely on man-mountain Hamed Haddadi, though Iranians will still need him to make his mark in this contest.
S. Korea killed the Philippines with its playmaking and outside shooting, and that means Iran will have to clamp down on Korea's speedy guards, namely veterans Kim Sun Hyung and Park Chan Hee as well as upstart Choi Jun Yong. That responsibility will fall on the trio of Sajjad Mashayekhi, Behnam Yakhchali and Mohammad Jamshidi, all of whom have been stellar so far. If they can slow down South Korea's vaunted pace and space style, Iran should be in terrific shape to win.
Korea was absolutely unguardable from the perimeter in its quarterfinal win over the Philippines. Coach Hur Jae's wards shot an eye-popping 16-of-21 from beyond the arc, completing blowing up the Filipino defense to smithereens. Iran has to wary of that, and so its own defensive schemes have to be tight and well executed. South Korea, meanwhile, needs to keep in step with Iran's rebounding. Iran went +14 in rebounding against Lebanon, and if that happens again, South Korea won't have a shot at winning.
Jamshidi, Yakhchali among finest shooters
With the semifinals set to be played on Saturday night, fiba.com picked two Iranian players among best three-point shooters of the competition:
· Mohammad Jamshidi
Mohammad Jamshidi (3.5 triples per game, 66.7 percent 3pt) is known mostly for his daredevil drives and ability to finish on the break, but in this competition he has displayed a more potent perimeter game. He has hit at least two three-pointers in every game for the undefeated Iranians, who marched into the semifinals after a big win over host Lebanon in the quarterfinals. In that triumph, Jamshidi caught fire, hitting a jaw-dropping six triples on his way to 24 points.
· Behnam Yakhchali
Iran is not missing Samad Nikkhah Bahrami and Hamed Afagh mainly because of how this young stud has come into his own. The 22-year-old Behnam Yakhchali (4.0 triples per game, 57.1 percent 3pt) is the youngest guy on this list of best three-point shooters, and despite that, he is arguably also the best shooter of the lot. At 1.95m, he has good size for his position as well, and that helps him shoot over smaller guards who are attempting to close out. He sometimes struggles with his 2-point shooting, but nobody can touch him when it comes to drilling shots from rainbow country.