April 16, 2024

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Egypt routs Jordan in thrilling battle to stay in contention for African slot to Paris 2024

3 min read
HOPEFUL. The Egypt men’s basketball team keeps their Paris Olympics hopes alive by crushing Jordan, 85-69, in their Group N classification encounter on August 31 at the Mall of Asia Arena. FIBA PHOTOS

Egypt and Jordan engaged in a gripping 40-minute basketball showdown that pushed both teams to their limits. In a game that could have gone either way, Egypt emerged victorious with an 85-69 final score, clinching a crucial win that keeps them in contention for automatic qualification as the best African team in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. In contrast, Jordan remains winless in Manila.

The contest remained tightly contested throughout, with the score deadlocked at 66-all as the clock approached the final five minutes. Coach Roy Rana’s strategic emphasis on defense proved pivotal for Egypt. His players responded by shutting down Jordan’s scoring for three crucial minutes, propelling Egypt to a seven-point lead with just over two minutes remaining.

Egypt’s ability to maintain their defensive intensity while staying in control offensively allowed them to secure the victory without the late-game drama that has characterized many contests in the tournament. Furthermore, the +16 point differential could be a significant factor in the final standings.

Assem Marei embraced the challenge of facing Jordan’s Ahmad Dwairi head-on. The center’s outstanding performance included a formidable 20-point, 14-rebound double-double, complemented by 2 steals and 2 blocks. Egypt’s dominance in the paint was undeniable, as they amassed a substantial 50-26 advantage in paint points, a crucial factor in such a closely contested encounter.

Egypt now looks ahead to their upcoming clash against New Zealand on Saturday, with a chance to secure a winning record at the conclusion of the competition. For a team that had not won a World Cup game since 1994 before arriving in Manila, this successful run marks a significant achievement.

Their eyes will also be on the South Sudan’s game, as both teams emerge as frontrunners vying for automatic qualification to the Paris 2024 Olympics.

In contrast, it was evident that Jordan’s Rondae Hollis Jefferson was drained by the end of the game, having played the entire match. He contributed 9 points, allowing Sami Bzai (18 points) and Ahmad Dwairi (17 points, 11 rebounds) to shoulder much of the scoring load.

Jordan has one final opportunity to secure a win in Manila as they face Mexico on Saturday. As the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 unfolds, each game becomes a stage for heart-pounding action and incredible displays of athleticism, leaving fans eagerly anticipating the outcome of every match.

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