China Kashgar get second straight win at Al Ahli’s expense
CHENZHOU (FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2016) – China Kashgar had a bit of a slow start, but they eventually righted the ship and dealt Al Ahli a decisive defeat, 108-79, at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2016 in Chenzhou, China.
The home team waxed hot from long range en route to winning their second straight game and remaining on top of Group B. Andray Blatche, Li Gen, Darius Adams and Mugedaer Xirelijiang all scored in double-figures to lead a balanced attack from the Chinese. Li, Adams and Xirelijiang combined to make 8 three-pointers. Al Ahli, meanwhile, was paced by Samuel Young’s 26 points, though he shot an atrocious 6-of-23 from the field.
Turning Point: For one whole half, Al Ahli had the initiative and seemed like the better team, but China turned the tables in the second half behind better ball movement and rebounding. The hosts turned a 2-point halftime deficit into a 14-point lead entering the payoff period, and they were never threatened again.
Stats Don't Lie: Three-point shooting was a huge weapon for China in this match. As a team, coach Li Qiuping’s squad hit a dozen of their 24 three-point attempts. Li and Xrielijiang each netted 3 triples, while Adams had a pair. With that kind of perimeter sniping, China were able to stave off a gritty Al Ahli quintet.
Game Hero: Andray Blatche was all over the place in this outing. The naturalized Filipino and former NBA player had a very impressive performance, notching a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double. He used his size advantage and versatile offensive skill-set to the hilt, making 7-of-13 field goals. He even handed out 7 assists and got 1 block in a scintillating display of productivity.
The Bottom Line: Back to back wins have given China Kashgar a ton of momentum, and they will continue to be heavy favorites when they face Barsy Atyrau of Kazakhstan tomorrow. If the Chinese play as well as they did in the second half today, they shouldn’t have much trouble against the Kazakhs. On the other end, the UAE club just didn’t have enough depth to hang with China for an entire game. They will look to bounce back against Malaysia tomorrow before closing their group play opposite Al Shorta on Day 4.