Fri, Aug 01, 2008 - Page 23 News List

Australia manhandle China at FIBA Diamond Cup


Australian center Andrew Bogut, right, grapples with Chinese center Yao Ming at the Diamond Cup tournament in Nanjing, China, on Wednesday.


Australia’s Olympic squad manhandled China, led by Yao Ming (姚明), at the FIBA Diamond Cup in Nanjing on Wednesday, frustrating the towering center in a lopsided 67-55 warm-up ahead of the Beijing Games.

The Boomers, led by Milwaukee Buck Andrew Bogut and Melbourne Tiger Chris Anstey — both 2.13m tall — dominated the interior and used their size to force China into 25 turnovers.

Anstey led Australia with 11 points, while Bogut added nine.

Yao, in his fifth game back since being sidelined by a broken foot in February, had 14 points and seven rebounds for China, while former Dallas Maverick center Wang Zhizhi (王治郅) only contributed four points.

New Jersey Nets’ Yi Jianlian (易建聯), China’s other NBA player and Bogut’s former Milwaukee teammate, was scoreless.

“Today our opponents played well and we lost the game,” Yao told reporters. “But this was not the Olympic Games, at the Olympic Games we will will play better.”

Australia jumped out to a 20-13 lead in the first quarter, extending it to 36-26 at halftime.

Following the break, China came back from a 14 point third quarter deficit and cut the lead to 55-49 with eight minutes left in the game before a string of turnovers helped Australia maintain a comfortable lead the rest of the way.

Since returning from injury earlier this month, the 27-year-old Yao has averaged just over 13 points and five rebounds a game in five matches. Before injuring himself, Yao was having his best NBA season, averaging 22 points and nearly 11 rebounds.

In a later Diamond Cup match, Iran held on to beat Serbia 72-70. Point guard Javad Davari led the way with 20 points, while towering center Hamad Hadadi chipped in 20 points and pulled down 19 rebounds for the winners.

China will face Angola in the Olympics in a tough group B that includes the US, world champion Spain, Greece and Germany. Australia is in Group A with reigning Olympic champions Argentina, Russia, Lithuania, Croatia and Iran.

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