Asian Games: South Korea Men Dunk Iran to Win Basketball Gold

South Korea completed a basketball double after the women's team beat China in the final on Thursday.

Updated: October 03, 2014 21:37 IST
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South Korea Basketball Gold
South Korean players celebrate after winning the men's basketball gold medal.

© AP

Incheon: South Korea upset continental champions Iran 79-77 after a frenetic final two minutes to capture Asian Games gold in the men's basketball on Friday.

The Koreans kept their nerve after slipping five points behind with 122 seconds remaining to win their fourth title -- and their first since stunning Yao Ming's China at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan.

They also completed a basketball double after South Korea beat China in the women's final on Thursday.

Forward T.J. Moon hit a team-high 19 points and sank a couple of clutch free throws down the stretch as South Korea held off the men's favourites and their sharp-shooting captain Samad Nikkhah Bahrami, who scored 30 points.

Moon missed one of two foul shots with 12 seconds left -- enough time for Nikkhah Bahrami to attempt a 'Hail Mary' three which would have won it for Iran.

"I was nervous about them hitting a three to win," Moon told AFP. "He had been making shots all night but luckily he missed.

"The crowd definitely gave us a lot of energy tonight," he added. "The players were hustling for every loose ball. That definitely gave us added momentum. It was just relief when the buzzer went off."

South Korea opened the match with a 9-0 run in an electrifying start while Iran's players couldn't buy a basket until their inspiration skipper scored with 6:10 left on the clock in the first quarter.

"They started very strong and we had to use a lot of energy to catch them," said Nikkhah Bahrami, who plays his club basketball in China. "We started too slow. That really hurt us."

Local fans enjoying the cheerleaders and hotdogs had little idea of what was to come as a spirited Iran side launched a furious fightback after their poor start.

They twice threatened to break the game open in the fourth quarter, a monster slam dunk by centre Kim Jong-Kyu with South Korea trailing 72-68 getting the adrenalin pumping again for the home team and igniting the crowd.

The visitors, who took bronze in Guangzhou, China four years ago, kept their composure and looked to have iced the game when Nikkhah Bahrami made a tough two going moving to his right from the top of the arc.

But a three-pointer from captain Yang Dong-Geun and a three-point play from Kim, who finished with 17, caught Iran cold before Moon's free throws provided the dagger blow for South Korea.

"It means the world to win the Asian Games gold medal," said Korean coach Yoo Jae-Hak. "We were desperate to win. I can't describe how happy I am."

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