National Basketball Federation
of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan men's national basketball team defeated the Syrian national team at the start of qualification for the 2023 World Cup

26.11.2021    Views: 421
Source: Press service
The national basketball team of Kazakhstan won a laborious victory in the opening home match of the 2023 World Cup qualification against the Syrian team. Yielding three quarters in the course of the uncompromising struggle, "Steppen Wolves" showed character and put the squeeze on rivals at the end of the meeting.

The Syrian national team is a “mystery team”. Not only was this meeting the first ever official meeting between Kazakhstan and Syria, but the composition of the rivals for the game was not known almost until the very end. Let us remind you that there were 22 players in the application for the tournament, and it was completely unclear which of them would play in this game. Plus, it was not even known, for sure, the name of the head coach of the Syrians. By the way, it was the American specialist Joseph Salerno, who has been coaching Canadian professional teams for the last ten years, became the Champion of Canada and three times the coach of the year of Canada. After the composition of the rivals for the game became known and the eyes were directed to the naturalized American Amir Jabbar-Hinton, who later became a real "thorn" for our team. The composition of Kazakhstanis for the game was quite predictable. In this game, Darko Russo instructed Shaim Kuanov, Alexander Zhigulin, Dmitry Gavrilov, Maxim Marchuk and our Captain Rustam Murzagaliev to start the match ... the captain with a capital letter is not a mistake, but according to the last game, it is a given. But first things first.

Kazakhstan Men's National Basketball Team - 2023 World Cup Qualification
Dmitry Gavrilov could not overcome a larger opponent and lost the starting toss. The first attacks did not bring success to any of the teams, only after a minute and a half of the game the score in the match was opened, and its guests opened it. True, in the next attack, our guys achieved their goal, Alexander Zhigulin, with an accurate three-man, not only opened the score for our team, but also brought Steppenwolfs forward. Then the teams exchanged effective attacks, with us Maxim Marchuk scored. Then the Syrians came forward and tried to keep the initiative in their hands. Two points from Dmitry Gavrilov reduced the gap to a minimum, but the opponents were still ahead. The Syrians had a good game in the middle of the first quarter, starting to break away and the coaching staff of the Kazakh team was forced to use the right to a one-minute break already at the start of the meeting. In the sixth minute of the match, the Syrians won 7 points, two times ahead of our team. Rustam Murzagaliev opened his personal account, and immediately with an accurate "troll", thereby interrupting the goalless pause of his team. In a tough fight, until the end of the first quarter, the score difference was around 7-4 points. During this period of time, Dmitry Gavrilov, after a clear pass from Murzagaliev, checked the rivals' ring for strength, scoring from above. Rustam himself was again accurate from beyond the arc, and Oleg Balashov, who by the way today made his debut for the national team of Kazakhstan, scored the first points for his country, and immediately “end one”. True, Oleg's free kick did not fly, and after three from the rivals in the last seconds, the quarter ended with a score of 17:24 in Syria's favor.

The first quarter could not be considered an asset for our team, but there were still thirty minutes ahead to fix everything, especially since 7 points behind were not critical. Zhigulin was the first to achieve success in this period. The opponents scored their first points in the second quarter from the penalty line and approached a double-digit lead. Rustam Murzagaliev chalked up two more points. Nikolay Bazhin converted a three-point goal and opened his personal score in the game, and after two more effective points from Zhigulin, the difference was reduced to three points and the Syrian coaching staff was forced to take a time-out. Bazhin scored two more points and at the equator of the second quarter the Kazakhstanis were only one point behind. The next minutes of the game, the difference remained in the region of 1-3 points. Our points were earned by Anton Bykov and Alexander Zhigulin. Darko Russo took another time-out for our team a minute before the end of the first half of the match, when the rivals' lead reached five points, but in the remaining time the Kazakhstanis missed the mark, as well as the rivals. As a result, the first half ended with the score 33:38 in favor of the Syrian guests. If you look at the statistics of the first half, our three-point indicator could not be called a “benchmark” - 5 out of 22. True, this indicator was worse for our opponents - 1 out of 8. In other indicators, there was relative equality. But on penalties, the Syrians were head and shoulders above the Kazakhs. If the players of our team approached the penalty line in 20 minutes only once, and even that one was “past the box office”, then the guests, from the same point, scored 11 points and 14 possible ones.

Oleg Balashov
After fifteen minutes of play and adjustments made to the game of our team during the big break by Darko Russo and the coaching staff of the Kazakh team, “Steppenwolves” entered the fight. Anton Bykov corrected the statistics of our team's free throws, realizing three out of four at the beginning of the third ten minutes, and Ruslan Aitkali, who snatched an offensive rebound after an unsuccessful free kick from Bykov, leveled the score in the match. It was not possible to go forward immediately, the Syrians again tried to break away, but the points from Anton Bykov and Maxim Marchuk kept the rivals from breaking away. Anton Bykov earned two more free throws and this time was accurate in both cases, while leveling the score again. Opponents were opposed to letting our team go ahead, and held back the “Steppenwolfs” as best they could, but they, through the efforts of Murzagaliev and Bazhin, equalized the score. Maxim Marchuk converted three points and brought our team forward, for the first time since the start of the game, and he also forced the rivals' coaching staff to take a time-out a couple of minutes before the end of the third quarter. The Syrians in this period implemented a couple of attacks, and Oleg Balashov earned two free throws. Our team did not allow rivals to catch up, but won, before the final quarter, by only one point - 54:53.

The tough and tenacious play in the first three quarters promised that the last ten minutes would be an uncompromising struggle. Guests quickly leveled the score early in the fourth quarter. Kazakhstanis within two minutes implemented 4 free throws - Oleg Balashov and Nikolay Bazhin, and also missed a three-pointer from the rivals, and continued to lead by only one point. During the next minute, Maxim Marchuk, Nikolay Bazhin and Rustam Murzagaliev added points to their account, allowing their opponents to increase their score by +1. Thus, our advantage increased to 7 points. Until the middle of the quarter, when our handicap was reduced to four points, Darko Russo used one more minute break, after which Rustam Murzagaliev and Maxim Marchuk built one of the most beautiful moments of the match - a spectacular alley-up. The rivals tried to catch up with our team in the next minutes, but points from Anton Bykov, Oleg Balashov and Rustam Murzagaliev fed our leadership. And yet the outcome of the meeting was still unpredictable. Almost three minutes before the end of the meeting, the difference was only three points. but then Maksim Marchuk and Nikolay Bazhin scored two points each. And less than a minute before the end of the game, our “cap” made a crazy three-point attempt and for the first time in the match the difference became double-digit and, most importantly, in our favor. It seemed that everything was already done and the game was done, but the Syrians did not give up and the last forty seconds stretched out in a tactical struggle. During this time, the teams twice resorted to using time-outs and the fight took place on every centimeter of the site. During this time, our players earned points only after the opponents' tactical fouls. Oleg Balashov increased his personal score by two points and Rustam Murzagaliev by four points. As a result, Kazakhstanis kept ten points of advantage and won the match with a score of 84:74. According to the final statistics, we can say that our players significantly threw their rivals, as a result, they greatly improved their statistics of free throws, and in general, in the end they looked better than their rivals.
 

Best players of the match:
  • Kazakhstan: After the first minutes of the meeting, Rustam Murzagaliev's game did not look very confident, but in the end he became the true leader of the team in this game, having spent the most time on the court, participating in all the key moments, building not a single highlight and becoming the most productive player in Kazakhstan. line-up - 20 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists. Nikolay Bazhin was very reliable today, and not only has he become the most effective player for Steppenwolfs, he has also become the only player in our squad with a double-double - 13 points and 11 rebounds. Maxim Marchuk gave us not only one of the most memorable moments of the meeting, but also scored 14 points and 3 steals. Anton Bykov played excellently under the basket - 11 points, 7 rebounds and 1 block-shot, but also made an interception three times. Alexander Zhigulin helped his team with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists, and Oleg Balashov's debut was very successful - 10 points and 2 rebounds.
  • Syria: American player of the Syrians Amir Jabbar Hinton proved today that he was not in vain attracted to the team, and brought a lot of trouble to our team - 33 points, 20 rebounds, 4 interceptions. Also worth noting is Etonouni Bakara - 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
Post-match press conference:
 

Consequences: It is worth noting that in parallel with the game of Kazakhstan against Syria, a meeting was held between our future rivals Iran and Bahrain, which took place in Iran. According to its results, the Iranians won a fairly confident victory with a score of 82:66. After two games in the group, Iran topped the table, Kazakhstan is on the second line, losing to the Iranians only by the difference between goals scored and conceded, and Syria and Bahrain took the third and fourth positions, also by additional results.

Next match: Next, Darko Russo's charges will pay a return visit to the Syrian national team. The meeting will take place on Monday 29 November in Damascus, starting at 22:00 Moscow time.
 

Detailed information about the match, lineups, news, photo and video reports, as well as statistics are published in the Match Center.

The National Basketball Federation of Kazakhstan expresses gratitude for the support and assistance in preparing the team for participation in the tournament to the National Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the "Samruk Kazyna" National Welfare Fund, the "Sport Qory" Tourism and Sports Industry Support Fund and the Nur-Sultan City Akimat. General sponsor of the National Basketball Team of Kazakhstan - "M-Sport" LLP, sponsors - "Capital City Center" LLP and "Begtas NS" Firm, technical partner - "Transtelecom" JSC, partner - "Kokshe Susyndary" company with the "Prima Naturale" trademark.

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