The 2002 NBA top pick Yao Ming sparkled with 23 points and 22
rebounds but failed to keep China from surrendering the Asian Games
men's basketball title to South Korea here Monday evening.
The South Koreans, losers to China at the Bangkok Asian Games in
1998, beat the Chinese 102-100 in overtime to win their first Asian
Games men's basketball gold medal in 20 years.
With China trailing 101-97 and 21.5 seconds on the clock, Hu
Weidong made three free throws to make it 101-100. But Moon
Kyung-eun, who had 10 points in the match, got one from the line
three seconds from the end to seal the victory and the first Asian
Games' title since the 1982 New Delhi Asiad for South Korea.
Moon had an open layup to make South Korea lead 99-94 with
1:48remaining in the overtime. Liu Yudong made one of two free
throws24 seconds later to make it a four-point game.
South Korea improved to 101-95 before Liu made both free throwswith
53.6 seconds to go to pull China within 101-97.
Nan scored six points to lift China to a 11-3 run in the fourth
quarter which gave them an 84-71 advantage with three minutes and
17 seconds remaining in the regular time. However, South Korea
staged a 19-6 burst in the rest of the fourth quarter,during which
their sharp shooters Bang Sung-yoon and Lee Sang-min were fouled
out, to tie it 90-90 and force the overtime.
"We stayed focused in the match, especially in the fourth quarter,
which led us to the win," said South Korea head coach KimJin after
leading the hosts to their seven straight win at the Asiad.
"China is a very strong team, but I think we have advantage over
them in speed."
Chinese coach Wang Fei attributed the loss of the reigning Asian
champions to their mistakes in the final minutes of the fourth
"We played really bad in the last few minutes of the fourth
quarter," Wang said. "Our players made quite a few mistakes that
they should not make when we led by seven points."
China led 90-83 with 32.5 seconds remaining in the fourth but
allowed South Korea to make three straight baskets in half a
minute. Chinese veteran Hu Weidong missed both of his free
throwswith 17.6 seconds to go and China leading 90-88.
"We did not expect to lose," Wang said. "We had full confidenceto
win, but I think the players have tried their best."
China, who beat the opponents by an average margin of over 50
points, staged a 10-2 run amid the second quarter for a 43-26
leadwith 4:48 left in the first half.
South Korea pulled within 61-57 late in the third quarter before
Yao gave China a 67-62 lead into the fourth with a single-hand
The Chinese women had similar experience but different result in
the women's basketball final. They held off a strong late surge
from South Korea to beat the hosts 80-76 and claim their first
Asian Games title in 16 years.
Trailing 63-53 after three quarters, South Korea opened the fourth
with a 21-4 run to store a 74-67 lead with four minutes and35
China pushed back with a 9-2 run and Sui Feifei made two free
throws with 1:45 to go to tie it 76-76.
Chen Luyun had a short basket with 45 seconds left and added anopen
layup nine seconds from the end to ice the victory.
"It was a hard game, we endured severe mental challenge," said
triumphant Chinese head coach Gong Luming.
Sui Feifei led four Chinese women in double digits with 18 points,
Chen Nan added 14 points and 14 rebounds.
The South Korean women, who were known for their sharp
shooters,made only two of their 13 three-point attempts.
Agency October 15, 2002)