China win first leg of four-nation men's basketball tourney

09:57, July 13, 2011      

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China beat Australia 62-53 on Tuesday night to win the title of the four-nation men's basketball tournament first leg with a third straight win.

Mo Ko, the only player to score double digit at the game, came off the bench to score a team-high 12 points and grab five rebounds for China, which shoot only 29.5 percent field goals against Australia's 25.5 percent.

Both sides played a defensive game and shot a lower percent and combined a total of 50 points at halftime with China scoring 10 of 26 field goals and Australia only 7 of 39.

China finished the first half 31-19 after a 15-11 advantage in the opening quarter and held the Austalians to only eight points in the second quarter, where Australia didn't score until 5:40 minutes to play on Ben Smith's two free-throws.

The host extended their lead to 15 points, 44-29, but Australia used an 8-0 run to cut it to seven with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.

It was 46-39 when China took the lead into the fourth quarter and there was still nobody from both teams to score double figures.

Australia went on their run and tied it at 50-all after an 11-6 spurt capped by Clint Steindl's 3-pointer with 3:20 minutes left. But China, who fielded five benches at the court after Ding Jinghui fouled out in the last quarter, answered with a 5-0 run, backed by center Su Wei's one of two free-throws and a layup, to recontrol the game before sealing their last victory in the tourney.

"We defensed badly in the third quarter to give the opponent some chances to come back and they shot the ball better this quarter," said Chinese coach Robert Donewald.

Two Astralians scored double digits with Cameron Glidon 14 points and Tom Daly 11. China outscored Australia but were outrebounded 38-52. "We sometimes not very concentrated on the game so we lost some rebounds," Donewald added. "We also have to confess that Australia played very physically and rebounded well."

Montenegro earlier trounced Turkey, who was the only team without a win in the three-day and round-robin tourney, 92-78 to finish second with a two-wins and one-loss record.

Turkey played a very good defense early and took a 21-16 lead after the first quarter, but Montenegro came back strongly in the second and third quarters with a series of furious defense and offense and entered the third quarter 64-50.

Aleksa Popovic scored 18 points for Montenegro, who were only beaten by China at the opening game on Sunday. Ibrahim Yildrimia finished a game-high 24 points for Turkey.

The second leg of the tournament will be played in Yongcheng, Henan province, from July 15-17.

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