China won their 11th Asian men's basketball title and the only birth in Asia in the Sydney Olympics when they defeated defending champion South Korea 63-45 on September 5th.
The Koreans led 15-13 in the early going but soon trailed 21-29 at the half. Cho Sung-Won's three-pointer with eight minutes remaining in the second half cut China's lead to 38-42, but that's the closest they can get. China's Hu Wei-Dong, who was selected the MVP in the tournament, buried three three-pointers in the last four minutes to seal the win.
Hu scored team-high 16 points while Gong Xiao-Bin contributed 15. NBA Dallas Mavericks draft pick Wang Zhi-Zhi collected 10 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in 27 minutes. Korea was led by Kang Dong-Hee's 10 points. Center Seo Jang-Hoon had 9 points and 6 rebounds.
Known for a dangerous shooting team, South Korea was limited by China's brilliant defense on the perimeter, shooting for a miserable 5-19 from three-point range. Korea also lost to China 92-112 in last year's Asiam Games in Bangkok.
China coach Jiang Xing-Quan praised his team's defense and work on the boards. China grabbed the only spot Asia receives from Sydney Olympics and will look for improving their 8th place finish both in '94 World Championships and '96 Atlanta Olympics.
In the consolation game, Saudi Arabia regained their momentum in the second half and trounced favorite Taiwan 93-67 to win the third place, the highest finish in their Asian Championship history starting from 1989.
Ali Al Maghrabi tallied 36 points and led Saudi Arabia from 38-39 halftime deficit to complete the come-from-behind win. Saudi Arabia outscored Taiwan 55-28 in the second 20 minutes.
Taiwan led 12-4 in the beginning and trailed only by one, 51-52, with 13 1/2 minutes remaining. However they were upset by several calls that didn't went their way and collapsed in the last 10 minutes.
The 21th Asian Men's Basketball Championship will be held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2001.
FINAL:China 63-45 South Korea(29-21)
CONSOLATION:Saudi Arabia 93-67 Taiwan(38-39)
SEMI I: China 105-51 Taiwan(50-28)
SEMI II:South Korea 85-59 Saudi Arabia(42-30)
5th & 6th:Japan 77-61 Kuwait(45-25)
7th & 8th:Lebanon 61-60 Syria(27-34)
9th & 10th:Uzbekistan 70-56 UAE(42-22)
11th & 12th:Philippines 83-75 Bahrain(46-31)
13th & 14th:Hong Kong 68-53 Thailand(39-22)
2. South Korea
3. Saudi Arabia
10.United Arab Emirates
**Tournament MVP:Hu Wei-Dong, China(198cm, G/F)