CHINA has remained undefeated in the 2022 FIBA Asian Qualifiers after claiming an overtime (OT) triumph over Bahrain at Manama on Tuesday morning, qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.
Despite China being heavily favoured coming in, Bahrain produced a brave performance against one of the world powerhouse sides, forcing the game into extra time thanks to Wayne Chism‘s lay-up with 23 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. However, China’s dominance came to the forefront in OT, outscoring the opposition 16-3 to snatch an 80-67 win.
Wang Zhelin was immense for the winning side once again, stuffing the stat sheet for another big performance. He finished the match with a whopping double-double of 27 points and 14 rebounds on 10/13 shooting from the field, doing most of his damage inside the paint. Nine of his 10 buckets came from two-point territory, while a rare three-pointer showcased just how hot he was from the field. Zhou Peng and Zhao Rui combined for 23 points as well, most of which came in crunch time when the game was on the line.
Bahrain’s performance was built on a stunning second quarter from Maitham Isa, who scored 11 of his 16 points in that time to help his side chip away at the deficit. Chism finished the match with a team-high 23 points to go with 11 rebounds in a stirring performance. He shot 9/18 from the field and was one of the game’s stronger performers.
Bahrain (67) def. by China (80)
China managed to get out to a lead as big as 11 points in the second half, as Bahrain’s upset looked less and less likely, but the home side fought back in the final term. They chipped away at the margin slowly throughout the third and fourth quarters, and tied things up in the dying stages, before China broke away in extra time as Bahrain’s offence dried up.
The biggest moment of the game came in overtime, with less than two minutes on the clock. Zhao Rui managed to pull down an offensive rebound from a China miss, but his putback essentially sealed the deal for his side and ensured there was no chance of a boilover.
In terms of shooting percentages, the two teams were quite evenly matched, with Bahrain matching China’s scoring power. The visitors made 50 per cent of their shots from the field to Bahrain’s 48 per cent, so not much separated the sides here. In fact, the latter shot five per cent better from behind the arc, so there are numbers to suggest they could have won it, but it was not to be. China’s biggest success came on the offensive boards, pulling down 14 and converting them into 22 second chance points, which was more than enough to secure the victory.