China made a significant stride towards securing a spot in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, outclassing Angola with a final score of 83-76 in Group M of the Classification 17-32 phase at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. This triumph marked China’s inaugural win in the tournament.
The standout performances of Li Kaier, Hu Jinqiu, and Hu Mingxuan were pivotal in China’s victory, with the trio collectively contributing 53 points. China orchestrated a remarkable comeback from a 10-point deficit during the third quarter with a 24-14 surge. Notably, this victory over Angola marked China’s first at the World Cup, erasing previous losses in 1990 and 2002, and leveling the teams’ historical record at 3-3.
Key Moment: Trailing by 10 points in the second quarter, China underwent a transformative shift after halftime. The team assumed control, leading 61-57 with 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Subsequently, they embarked on a dominant 15-2 run spanning the final two quarters, resulting in a commanding 74-59 advantage. Although Angola mounted attempts at a comeback, China consistently countered every challenge.
TCL Player of the Game: Hu Jinqiu, the towering presence on the court, earned the accolade of TCL Player of the Game. He delivered a remarkable performance, tallying 20 points on 8-of-10 field goals and 4-of-5 free throws, accompanied by 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block.
Numbers Tell the Tale: China effectively stifled Angola’s offensive endeavors, limiting their shooting accuracy to 40 percent, including a mere 19 percent from beyond the arc. In contrast, China displayed a 56 percent success rate on two-point field goals and generated 43 bench points compared to Angola’s 20.
Bottom Line: Building on this victory, China aims to secure a second consecutive win in a crucial showdown that holds significant implications for their Olympics quest and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. They will face fellow Asian competitors on Saturday, September 2. Meanwhile, Angola is faced with the task of bouncing back as they prepare to take on South Sudan in an earlier Saturday match.
“It was a very tough night for us. The players finished late last night against Puerto Rico and that was my biggest concern. We didn’t have a lot of time to recover our freshness. But I think they did an exceptional job. I am proud of them, and how they stayed focused. Our sloppy start was due to a little bit of tension. But after we talked in a couple of timeouts and released some of that and just started playing basketball we were capable of playing against Angola. Angola put us in difficulty because of their low post-play. We knew the offensive rebounds were going to be the key. We managed to deal with that with a great effort in the second half. We slowed them down with some zone defense and made them think and the guys did a great job.” – Aleksandar Djordjevic, Coach of China
“We followed the game plan and played with our characteristics. We will keep fighting until the end. We have one more game.” – Hu Jinqiu, Forward for China
“It feels great, man. It feels awesome. It’s nice to finally be on the board with such a great group of guys, so we’ll remember this. We haven’t quit or given up. We’ve worked hard and we didn’t want to go home without a win.” – Li Kaier, Forward for China
“We started pretty good defensively. We started struggling after 15 minutes. They played zone defense and we struggled against zone defense. We didn’t shoot well. We didn’t attack well. But also, our defense was not good enough to keep up consistency.” – Pep Claros, Coach of Angola
“Today we didn’t have the same consistency on defense as we have had. We only played well for the first 15 minutes. They scored 45 points in the first half and we never expected to give up 90 points to anybody. These things sometimes happen. We will take a lesson from this for the future.” – Leonel Paulo, Forward for Angola