The South Korean men’s national basketball team suffered an upset loss to Australia in the first game of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup 2025 qualifiers.

Head coach Ahn Jun-ho’s men’s basketball team (No. 51 in the FIBA rankings) fell to Australia 71-85 in the first game of Group A of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers on Feb. 22 at Red Energy Arena in Bendigo, Australia.

The qualifiers, which will determine the teams that will compete in the FIBA Asia Cup in Saudi Arabia in August 2025, will see 24 nations split into six groups and compete in a home-and-home format through February next year. 토토사이트 The second-place finishers in each group will qualify directly to the main draw, as will four of the six third-place finishers.

South Korea, which is in Group A alongside Australia (No. 4), Indonesia (No. 74), and Thailand (No. 91), began the tournament with one loss and no wins over Australia, which won the last two Asia Cups (2017-2022) and is the highest-ranked team in Asia.

Ahn Jun-ho, who was named the new head coach of the South Korean men’s national basketball team last month and returned to the field after more than 12 years, suffered the loss in his debut.

Against Australia, a young team with six of its 12 players born after 2001, South Korea started off strong.

They harassed the Aussies with strong defense, recording four steals and forcing six turnovers in the first quarter to take a 15-14 lead.

Early in the second quarter, Lee Jung-hyun (SONO) scored eight straight points from 18-16 to open up a double-digit lead (26-16) with 7:20 left in the quarter. With 3:34 left in the quarter, Byun Jun-hyung (Commerce) drained a three-pointer to make it 33-20.

However, Korea faltered a bit afterward and allowed the lead to slip away, ending the first half at 40-36, and held a slim 57-53 lead at the end of the third quarter before letting up in the fourth.

After giving up offensive rebounds and miscues that led to back-to-back three-pointers to cut the deficit to 61-64 with 6:06 to play, Korea struggled to change the momentum as KCC got into foul trouble in the ensuing seesaw game.

Their shooting percentage dropped dramatically and they gave up a number of turnovers on defense, making it a 67-77 game with 2:20 left.

Team captain Ragan Ah led the way with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Byun Jun-hyung, Lee Jung-hyun and Ha Yoon-ki (KT) added nine points apiece.

For Australia, Nick Kay had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Dejan Vasilijevic had 14 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

“We played well in the first to third quarters, but I think the rebounding disadvantage at the end was the difference in the game,” said head coach Ahn Jun-ho in the postgame press conference. The players played their best and Australia is a good team,” he said.

“We’re a small team, so we tried to use our speed to get in transition quickly, and I think our defense did what we wanted it to do,” he said of the positive aspects of the game.

South Korea will welcome Thailand to Wonju on Friday for the second game of the tournament.

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