2009 Champions Iran routed Malaysia 115-25 in the opening match of the 27th Asian Men's Basketball Championship on Thursday. It was a very lopsided win.
Hamed Hadadi played only about 13 minutes to score 21 points, and pull eight rebounds to lead the 2009 champions.
Both teams stood in silent tribute for one minute before the match for the 25-year-old Malaysian player Ng Kiat-Kee, who passed away while playing an Invitational tournament in China due to a heart attack.
But the Malaysian team failed to pull strenght from that unfortunate event. Their only points scored in the first quarter were from Tong Wen-Keong's three-pointer. Hadadi was 6-of-6 and scored 14 points to help Iran lead 42-3 after the first quarter.
Iran coach Mehmed Becirovic fielded in substitutes in the second quarter but his bench players only outscored Malaysia 16-10. Hadadi, Mahdi Kamrany and Samad Nikkhah Bahrami came back on court to help Iran extend their lead to 76 points before the final quarter.
Bahrami contributed 11 points and four assists while Kamrany had 12. Asghar Kardoust came from bench to take a second team-high 15 points.
"The score is not important," said Becirovic. "It's important for us to play our game."
Iran will play against South Korea in their second group match while Malaysia will take on defending champions China.
"We know South Korea well and they also know us well. South Korea is a very dangerous team and they have lots of great shooters." added Becirovic.
Mak Lok-Seng, who now carries Ng Kiat-Kee's No.14 jersey, felt sorry about the team's poor performance.
"We want to play a good match for him. I'm feeling sorry for the score," said Mak.
"Our team is full of young players," said Malaysian coach Teh Choon-Yean. "We are just gaining experience and learning how to play basketball in a high level."