Thursday, August 1, 2013

Asian basketball giant China fall to South Korea 63-59

2013 FIBA Asia Championship, Philippines,Korea,China

South Korea endured a back-and-forth battle against defending champions China, to emerge victorious, 63-59, Thursday at the MOA Arena, for a share of the lead in Group C of the preliminary round of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.

In the other Group C match today, Iran had outclassed Malaysia, 115-25, to also go up 1-0.

Neither side led by more than six points, as the two powerhouses slugged it out. The score was at a deadlock, 55-all, with 2:08 left, resulting in a China timeout, but they were unable to get anything out of it as Wang Shipeng turned the ball over.

Nerves were clearly coming into play, as both sides turned the ball over anew, including a second straight for Wang, giving Korea possession with 1:17 left. A pair of charities by Yang Donggeun put Korea ahead. Then, off a turnover, former NBA player Yi Jianlian missed a two-pointer, but China got the offensive rebound and hit both charities, creating yet another tie at 57-all, 41 seconds left.

Cho Sungmin drew a foul from China, and hit both, breaking the tie, 59-57, 31 seconds left. Off China's timeout, Zhou Peng missed a two-pointer and Korea collared the rebound, leading to Cho Sungmin getting fouled anew. Still steady at the line, he canned both, for a two-possession Korea lead.

China wasn't going away yet though, as Liu Xiaoyu got the basket and the foul, but he missed his bonus charity. This time, Yang Donggeun was tested, but he too canned both free throws. In desperation, China launched up two three-pointers, but both failed to connect, allowing Korea to escape with this one.

"We gave them a lot of layups and a lot of easy baskets," lamented China head coach Panagiotis Giannakis.

Kim Joo-Sung paced South Korea with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Cho Sungmin added 12 markers, while Yang Donggeun chimed in with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists in a well-rounded effort.


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