Saturday, May 31, 2008
Chinese Men win with double-double from Zhang Kai
(DONGGUAN, May 28) -- The Chinese Men's National Basketball team pulled out an 87-80 win in an exhibition game against Team Conference USA on May 28 at the Dongguan Tangxia Arena in Guangdong province. New center Zhang Kai was the main man of the match, scoring 20 points and grabbing ten boards.
Without core players like Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian, the sixth pick in the NBA draft last year, and Wang Zhizhi, a former NBA player, the Chinese team trailed in the first half and only had a one-point lead at the end of the third quarter. In the last quarter, they tightened the defense and found their touch behind the three-point line, winning the game by 7 points.
Team Conference USA had seven players from last year's NCAA finalist, the Memphis Tigers, and five players from other NCAA teams (UTEP, Tulsa and Southern Miss). Their top players in this game were Memphis's Robert Doizer and Southern Miss's Jeremy West with 13 points each.
Post-game, head coach of Team Conference USA John Calipari said that he enjoyed the match and was honored to be involved with supporting the disaster relief for the Wenchuan earthquake. He praised the young players of the Chinese team for their impressive effort in the absence of their core players.
The Chinese team's head coach, Jonas Kazlauskas, praised his players' effort and expressed optimism. He said that Yi and Wang would join the team in Beijing for training and expects better performances in next 2 matches."
Before the tip-off, a moment of silence was observed for the Wenchuan earthquake victims. Afterwards, members from both teams made donations, and a condolence video from Yao Ming, who is recovering from injury in the US, was played.
The two teams will meet in Game 2 of the three-game Sino-American Basketball Classic series on Friday in Yangjiang, Guangdong, at 8 p.m., local time