Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Asian Games - South Korea stuns China in finals

South Korea pulls off one of the biggest upsets in its basketball history when they stuns China, 102-100, in overtime in Asian Games Final. South Korea wins the gold medal in Asian Games for the first time since 1982 in New Dehli and prevents China from winning its fifth consecutive Asian Games gold.

Trailed by as many as 17 in the first half, South Korea toughens up its zone defense and double-teaming in the second half. It works. With China turning the ball over again and again, South Korea comes right back into the game after a 26-18 third quarter.

Thanks to the instant firepower from Liu Yu-dong, China still hold the lead, 88-81, with 67 seconds to play. Kim Seung-hyun's steal and fastbreak layup make the score 83-88. Li Nan answered. With 32.5 seconds remaining and leading 90-83, it seems China has locked up the victory.

Koreans refuse to give up. Following Hoon Joo-yup's layup basket, South Korea knocked down a three-pointer off a backcourt steal. 15 seconds left, China still lead 90-88 with a last possession. The most unbelievable thing happened when Hu Wei-dong bricked two free-throws after South Korea's intentional foul. Hoon Joo-yup charged up frontcourt and scored on another twisting layup to tie the score with three seconds left.

In overtime, Korea immediately takes the lead, 93-90, after center Seo Jang-hoon's three-pointer. Hoon Joo-yup burned Liu Yu-dong twice and make the score 99-95, Korea. Yao Ming, who is forgotten by his coach and teammates during crunch time, is called for a goaltending on Bang Sung-yoon with 1:15 left, when Korea leads 101-95.

Chinese rally for the last time. Liu Yu-dong and Hu Wei-dong made five consecutive free-throws in the span of 20 seconds to make it 100-101. Moon Kyung-eun then made one of two free-throws before Hu We-dong's desperation three-pointer falls short.

205cm C/F Kim Joo-sung, who's still a college student, leads Korea with 21 points on 9-12 shooting. Hoon Joo-yup walked out of the shadow of his knee injury, scoring 20 points on 10-13 shooting. Another former star Chun Hee-chul, who also has been plagued by knee injury, made 8-of-16 shots and has 20 points.

After knocking out China in 1997 ABC Championship, South Korea scored another victory over China in major Aisan tournament. In the 1997 victory, Chun Hee-chul and Hoon Joo-yup also played major roles.

Yao Ming is closely guarded by at least two Korean defenders for the whole game, but still has a game-high 23 points and 22 rebounds. However he is virtually a non-factor in the last three minutes in regulation and overtime. It's sad to see the No.1 pick in the NBA Draft lost his last game before going to America.


Asian Games Final
South Korea 102-100(OT) China

Quarter score: 18-25, 36-49, 62-67, 90-90

KOR - Kim Joo-sung 21p(9-12 FG)+6rb, Chun Hee-chul 20p(4-7 3PT), Hoon Joo-yup 20p(10-13 FG), Seo Jang-hoon 15p+6rb, Bang Sung-yoon 10p, Moon Kyung-eun 10p, Lee Sang-min 6a, Kim Seung-hyun 9a

CHN - Yao Ming 23p(6-9 FG, 11-11 FT)+22rb, Liu Yu-dong 22p(8-13 FG), Li Nan 16p(6-8 FG), Hu Wei-dong 15p(4-8 FG), Liu Wei 11p

Asian Games Final Standings
1. South Korea, 2. China, 3. Kazakhstan, 4. Philippines, 5. DPR Korea, 6. Japan, 7. Taiwan, 8. Hong Kong