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Liaoning rallies from 17-point deficit to beat Xinjiang


10:05, February 28, 2013

BEIJING, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Fifth seed Liaoning Hengye came back from a 17-point deficit to become the only team to have maintained home court by edging past Xinjiang Guanghui, who finished fourth in regular season, 100-98 in Game 1 of the first round of Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league playoffs on Wednesday.

Josh Akognon scored a game-high 30 points for Liaoning. His teammate Li Xiaoxu had a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds.

The host team Liaoning got into the game quicker after the opening whistle, taking a 9-2 spurt to force Xinjiang into a timeout, after which their offense witnessed much improvement later to build a 30-25 after the first quarter.

Josh came onto the court in the second quarter and offered much help for Liaoning players' performance behind the arc. Moreover, he delivered several consecutive fast attacks with Guo Ailun, who defended technics champions in CBA All-star Weekend three days ago to catch up with Xinjiang. Liaoning only trailed by two points into halftime.

Xinjiang dominated the third quarter with foreign duo James Singleton and Vom Wafer on court at the same time. Wafer shone in the midway through this quarter by hitting three 3-pointers in a row to help Xinjiang extend the lead to 17 points, the largest margin for them in this game. Liaoning didn't lose the hope to come back into the game, and cut the deficit to nine points into the final 12 minutes.

Josh finished a difficult layup to tie the score at 79. Both teams never extended the gap in the following several minutes. Xinjiang trailed by 100-98 with 5.8 seconds remaining. Zhang Qingpeng grabbed rebound and finished a basket, but was erased by the referee after watchcing the game video.

Xinjiang's Wafer finished with 25 points. Singleton had 9 points while grabbing 19 rebounds.

Former NBA star Stephon Marbury only scored seven points, while defending champions Beijing Ducks held off Zhejiang Guangsha 110-96 thanks to another foreign star Randolph Morris' game-high 35 points and 15 rebounds.

Beijing trailed by 30-28 after the first 12 minutes, while storming into nine straight points to open the second. Beijing built a 52-45 lead after the first half and never fell down afterwards.

In other two matches, regular season titleholder Guangdong Hongyuan downed Zhejiang Chouzhou 104-89 with Ike Diogu's 33 points and 10 rebounds. Rugular season runner-up Shandong Gold also took the lead in this best-of-five series with a 91-86 road victory over Dongguan Marco Polo.

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