GBR set the tone as the defending champions with a win over Iran.
Game report by Omer Hagomer
Co-Captain Lee Manning topped the scoreboard with a stellar performance and led GBR to a victory against resilient opposition.
GBR won the tip off, but Iran forced a turnover with solid defense. Iran’s Hadiazhar scored 2 points, but Warburton responded with 2 of his own. Hadiazhar raised the stakes even further with a 3-pointer for Iran. The Iranians controlled the pace early on – every shot was falling for them.
GBR were under pressure, but Manning was an unstoppable force of nature under the basket. Iran were leading by 6 points after another 3 by Sayari. GBR stepped up their defense to force Iran into a shot clock violation, they looked more energised as Jim Palmer and Ben Fox checked into the game.
Nothing but net for Iran, so the MVP of Worlds 2018 Warburton took it upon himself and scored from 15 feet to reduce the lead of Iran to 5 points. GBR 17:22 Iran.
Iran called for a timeout, as the defense of GBR was airtight in the second quarter. GBR looked more composed, rejuvenated, and led by 7 points with 5 minutes to go until half-time.
A seamless transition from defense to offense from GBR meant that tensions were high at the end of the second quarter. Fox scored well under pressure and drew fouls masterfully. Terry Bywater replaced Manning, marking his sixth appearance in a World Championships. GBR 46:31 IRI.
Martin Edwards and GB debutant Lee Fryer entered the game. Defensively both teams had a point to prove in the third quarter. Iran reduced the gap to 9 points. Manning and Fox were back on court, as the game got more physical, and fouls were awarded at both ends of the floor. Co-Captain Phil Pratt was outstanding from the free throw line, contributing 11 assists.
Fox and Warburton perfectly executed the 2-man-hustle and got the turnover. Simon Brown and Harry Brown checked in; they showed their chemistry instantly as Harry Brown assisted S. Brown for 2 points. Heading into the last quarter, GBR 61:44 IRI.
In the last ten minutes Warburton was incredible from mid-range while Iran heavily relied on second chances. Saadatpoormogh scored a much needed 3-pointer for the Iranians, and the man from Lancashire, Warburton responded with one of his own. The exchange of baskets speaks to the competitive nature of the game and the players.
Kyle Marsh came in and made an impact with 2-points from the free throw line. Edwards and Fryer were back on court with 2 minutes to go until full-time. Fryer joined the scoreboard after an awe-inspiring coast to coast basket. Fryer closed the game with a shot off the backboard. GBR were victorious in their first game against Iran, GBR 90:59 IRI.
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