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Abbas, Tucker keep Jordan's qualification hopes alive
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As a result, Jordan not only snapped their 4-game slide and kept their hopes alive to qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.
Tucker was unstoppable in the win, scoring 32 points on the back of 4 three-pointers to lead the charge for the Jordanians, who won in front of 5,500 fans at the sold out Prince Hamza Arena. Tucker also added 11 rebounds and 5 assists in an incredible all-around effort.
Not to be outdone, veteran national team player Zaid Abbas also impressed, hitting a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc en route to scoring 20 points along with grabbing 10 rebounds for the Falcons. They also got ample support from big man Mohammad Shaher Hussein, who tallied an 11-point, 14-rebound double-double.
This was a close battle in the first period, with China and Jordan exchanging leads a handful of times before the home team caught fire in the second quarter and outscored the visitors, 24-12, to take a commanding 18-point lead into the half-time break.
China were able to cut the lead to single digits in the second half, but they were not able to mount a big enough rally to overhaul the deficit.
Zhao Rui was solid for coach Li Nan here, scoring 20 points together with 4 rebounds and 3 triples, while the returning Zhou Qi added 19 points and 10 boards, though he shot just 9-of-21 from the floor and missed all 5 of his free-throw attempts.
The victory kept Jordan's hopes of returning to the World Cup alive and momentarily pushed them to the top three in Group E pending the results of Lebanon's match against New Zealand, who are Jordan's next opponents.
The Falcons and Tall Blacks collide on 24 February to close out their respective Asian Qualifiers campaigns, with the Jordanians needing another win to further boost their chances of qualification. A loss against New Zealand may potentially drop them to fourth place in Group E and possibly give them an inferior record compared to other teams from Group F who are also seeking qualification - Japan, Iran and Philippines.