Croatia beat China in Stankovic Cup opener

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Croatia beat Team Red of the Chinese men's basketball national team 81-71 at the Stankovic Continental Cup 2017 on Wednesday.

A 28-8 first quarter set the tune for the entire game. Tomislav Zubcic and Ivan Buva combined for 22 points for Croatia in the opening quarter, while the host committed nine turnovers in that period.

Veteran Meng Duo, who played for Shenzhen in the CBA League, once again became the hero of the Shenzhen city. He made three 3-pointers and one field goal to lead the Chinese team with 11 points in the second quarter. China outscored their opponent 18-13 in that quarter and cut Croatian's lead to 15.

But the Croatia team once again played high-level basketball in the third quarter. Zubcic scored nine of his second match-high 23 points in that quarter to help Croatia heading into the final period.

Meng Duo stood out along with Yi Li. The two veterans combined for 14 points in the fourth quarter. China forced their opponent to only 16 points in that quarter but was still unable to turn the table. The Croatians won the game at 81-71.

Buva finished with a game-high 30 points while Zubcic added 23. Meng Duo led China with 20 while Fangshuo added 13.

"We had a very bad start, letting our opponents shooting too many three-pointers."said Li Nan, head coach of the Team Red. "We didn't do well in neither defense or offense in the first quarter. And we didn't play tough enough as the Croatia team did."

"But we played differently in the second half. The players did well in protecting the rebound as we told them to. I saw good things in that. As young players, they need this level of match to gain experiences," added Li.

China will play against Egypt on Thursday, who lost to Germany 69-83 in Wednesday's opener.

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