China to face Iran for Asian basketball title

Yi Jianlian(L) of China breaks through during the semifinal against Lebanon at the 2009 FIBA Asia Championships for Men in Tianjin, north China, Aug. 15, 2009.

TIANJIN, China, Aug. 15 -- Hosts China will meet defending champions Iran for the title of the Asian men's basketball championship as both teams won in Saturday's semifinals here.

China scored the last four points of the match on free-throws to beat Lebanon 72-68, while Iran clinched a 77-75 thrilling win over Jordan.

South Korea almost boycotted a game when they lost 70-65 to Chinese Taipei for the worst result in the history at the continental tournament.

China guard Hu Xuefeng made 2-out-of-3 and forward Yi Jianlian buried both free-throws in the final minutes to give China the second victory over Lebanon in the tournament.

Wang Zhizhi(L) of China shoots during the semifinal against Lebanon at the 2009 FIBA Asia Championships for Men in Tianjin, north China, Aug. 15, 2009.

Jackson Vroman, who had the game-high 27 points and 10 rebounds, tied it on 68-68 with two free-throws with 1:04 minutes remaining in the game.

Rony Fahed received his fifth foul when he tried to block Hu's 3-pointer attempt with 42 seconds to go, and Yi, who had 18 points, four blocks and four rebounds, denied Brian Feghali's 3-pointer with four seconds left on the clock.

Jordan missed two shots to tie the game after Samad Bahirami made a game-winning jumper with 13 seconds to go.

Enver Soobzokov's three-pointer gave Jordan a 75-74 lead but Pooya Tadjik converted one of the two free-throws to level it 75 to all with 49 seconds left.

A fade-away shot from Rasheim Wright, top scorer of the tournament with an average 19.8 points, bounced off the rim. Zaid Abbas grabbed the offensive rebound but his shot was wide again when the time was running off.

Hamed Afagh stepped up when Jordan staged a third quarter rally outscoring Iran 27-16. The 26-year-old guard scored the first five points of the fourth quarter and put Iran in control again.

Afagh was 5-of-7 in three-pointers for his 18 points while Bahrami led the scoring for the match with 23 points.

Iran center Hamed Ehadadi scored only five points, but stood tall and solid in defense, collecting 12 rebounds.

South Korea head coach Hur Jae asked his players to remain seated after he was called a technical foul during a time-out when South Korea were down 67-65 with nine seconds left in the game.

Hur complained on a no-call to referee Arsen Andryshkin of Kazakhstan. He burst out Korean slangs when Andryshkin gave him a technical call for his complaints.

Referee Heros Avanesian of Iran gave one more minute to South Korea as no players stepped onto the court after the time-out was over. Korean players returned to the game without Hur's signal and Chinese Taipei went on for the victory.

"I thought there was a no-call on a travelling against Chinese Taipei. I tried to get some explanation on that no-call but he (Andryshkin) called a technical on me right away. That's the reason I was angry," Hur said at the after-game conference.

South Korea had to compete against Philippines for the 7th placing of the tournament after the loss.

Qatar assured themselves of an improvement in the standings after beating the Philippines 83-65 in the 5th-8th classification.

Qatar, who finished seventh at the 2007 championship at Tokushima, Japan, will now play against Chinese Taipei in the fifth placing finals.

In Saturday's other matches, Kazakhstan beat Japan to finish 9th in the tournament while Kuwait beat the United Arab Emirates 65-61 in a 11th-12th placing final.