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Lebanon adds another plot twist in Asia's Olympic battle after ripping Ivory Coast

Amir Saoud celebrates after Lebanon's win. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Lebanon jumped into the race for Asia's lone outright spot in the Paris Olympics men's 5x5 basketball event after beating Ivory Coast, 94-84, in their classification round game on Thursday night at the Indonesia Arena in Jakarta.

Lebanon survived a late dash by the Ivory Coast as they eventually preserved a hot start.

Lebanon raced to a 32-20 lead at the end of the first quarter and preserved the huge lead until halftime, opening a 55-41 halftime cushion.

However, Ivory Coast crawled back in the third quarter and even tied the game at 60-all before Lebanon finished the quarter strong to restore order.

Ivory Coast mounted another comeback and cut the lead down to just two, 86-84, with 1:09 left in the fourth, but an Omari Spellman three sparked the game-ending 8-0 run to seal Lebanon's win.

Amir Saoud led Lebanon with 29 points, five rebounds, and eight assists, while Spellman added 25 points, six rebounds, five assists, four blocks, and one steal.

Jean Dally led Ivory Coast with 21 points on 4-for-6 three-point shooting, four rebounds, and two steals.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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