WUHAN, China (26th FIBA Asia Championship): Hosts China packed their punches in batches, but when they did, each of those punches was sucker enough to beat Lebanon 68-48 and complete the semifinal line-up. China play archrivals and fellow East Asia team Korea in the semifinals on the morrow.
China was the dominant team on the floor, on this there was no doubt.
But on the scoreboard, at least in the initial parts of the game, the hosts just about kept themselves out of the striking distance of a rival who dished out a confident fare.
That a 10-0 run just before the midway mark in the third quarter should go on to become the largest scoring spree spoke for China’s disciplined, but dedicated, focus on the job at hand.
But that spree was only the first step in China widening the gap, and by the time the fourth quarter began the hosts were truly in control, now the scoreboard as well.
China played for time in the remainder of the game.
Wang Zhizhi scored 8 of his 12 points for the game, including the layup followed by the twin free-throws which gave China a 19-point lead, in the third quarter.
Liu Wei another seasoned campaigner scored 5 of his 13 of the game during this period.
The lead, and the China’s march to the last four, only grew stronger thereafter.
Yi Jianlian contributed dozen points along with pulling down 9 rebounds.
“I think those two were the key,” China coach Bob Donewald said.
“Liu Wei really brought his experience into play and Big Wang really pulled up his play,” Donewald added.
Liu Wei was China’s highest scorer with 13 points, but the offensive spread from the others was more than sufficient for the dominant victory.
“We needed to bring in some order,” said Donewald about the third quarter offensive.
“After that we didn’t have any problems,” he added.
“We’ve a long night to go,” Donewald said looking ahead at the semifinal against Korea.
“We’ve played them before and we know the changes in their roster. They’ve got some great shooters, but we are ready.”
Play by play