Host China starts its way to Champion with big win
Updated: 2011-09-16 11:28
China's Yi Jianlian tries to make a shot during the team's opening Asian Championship game against Bahrain in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, Sept 15, 2011. China won 101-49. [Photo/titan24.com]
WUHAN, China - Host Chinese men's basketball team started its way to take back the Asian Champions title after they beat Bahrain 101-49 in first group match at the 2001 FIBA Men's Basketball Asia Championships on Thursday.
Defending champion Iran struggled to beat Chinese Taipei 49-37 and two-time gold medalists South Korea thrashed Malaysia 89-42.
All 12 Chinese players scored in the match. Liu Wei and Yi Jianlian contributed 15 points apiece to lead the Chinese team while veteran Wang Zhizhi, who only played 11 minutes and had six points, is the only starter who didn't score in double-digits.
"Today we are just to get our foot wet," said Robert Donewald Jr, China's head coach. "My players are dancing on the court. And I think the real Asian Championship only start after other five group matches."
Bader Malabes led the Bahrain team with a game-high 17 points, 15 of which came from the first quarter. China led 25-20 after the first quarter but only let Bahrain take four points in the second quarter to build a 27-point lead.
China enlarged its lead to 32 points after the third quarter and once again only let Bahrain score four points in the final quarter. The host outrebounded Bahrain 64-25. Zhang Zhaoxu grabbed a match-high 15 rebounds.
"Zhang Zhaoxu's task is to attack the rim and grab rebounds," said Donewald. "And he did a quite good job."
Zhang Bo, Yi Li and Mugedaer Xirelijiang came from bench and combined 25 points.
China's center Wang Zhizhi tries to make a shot during the team's opening Asian Championship game against Bahrain in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, Sept 15, 2011. [Photo/titan24.com]
China will play against the Phillipines on Friday, who beat the United Arab Emirates 92-52 today.
Samed Nikkhah Bahrami, who is said to be the best small forward in Asia, came from bench to score a match-high 18 points and helped reigning champion Iran over Chinese Taipei.
Both team had offence problems in the first half but Iranian fought back in the second to win the game. Hamed Hadadi grabbed 18 rebounds, including 10 offensive ones.
South Korea had 16 steals in the match against Malaysia and took 20 points from opponent's turnovers to take the win. Cho Sung-Min led with 16 points.
The game between Qatar and Uzbekistan was stopped after six minutes when Qatar's fourth player was fouled out with only one Qatar player left on the court and Uzbekistan won the match by 27-12.
Five of Qatar's 11 registered players were denied for the entry with dual nationality by Asian Basketball Confederation. Qatar's coach Ali Fakhroo said they wanted to be fouled out to express their unhappiness for lack of players to compete and said they would play with the same strategy in the following of the tournament.
In Thursday's other matches, Lebanon edged out India 71-68, Jordan beat Syria 71-58 and Japan defeated Indonesia by 81-59.
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