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23 September
03 October, 2015
4 Ji Wei ZHAO (China)
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China pull off remarkable comeback to shock Korea

CHANGSHA-HUNAN (2015 FIBA Asia Championship) - Hosts China set the FIBA Asia Championship alight on Thursday by coming back from a 20-point deficit and stunning Korea, 76-73.

Zhou Qi, who had a sensational game, dunked with just under a minute left to put China in front for good, although the Far East giants needed a fearless drive into the lane and lay-up from Guo Ailun with eight seconds remaining for a 74-71 lead.

After each team made two free-throws, Korea had the ball for one last attempt to tie the contest. They heaved the ball up the floor to Cho Sungmin and he was able to launch a three-point attempt from the left wing without being fouled but his shot was off target.

Turning point: Korea looked like sure winners when Yang Donggeun hit a jump shot for a 66-51 lead with 7:45 to go but China needed just over a minute to shave the deficit to 66-57 as Yi Jianlian made two free-throws and both Zhou Qi and Guo Ailun hit jump shots. The run stretched to 10 points for China, who then used their intensity on defense and home-court advantage to record a hugely important, confidence-boosting triumph.

Stats Don't Lie: China's defense was far more active in the fourth quarter, when they outscored Korea, 25-13.

Game Hero: Zhou Qi, 19, provided energy on both ends of the floor and scored the majority of his team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter by attacking the basket. He also finished with eight rebounds and had one of his two blocks in the last period when China went on their game-changing run.

The Bottom Line: China could easily have caved in when falling behind by a large deficit but Gong Luming's side never gave up and showed a fighting spirit that bodes well for the rest of their FIBA Asia Championship. If Yi Jianlian was the team's most recognizable face before the tournament, Zhou Qi could end up becoming just as famous because in his first two games, he has been sensational.