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Zhou Peng takes China over Kazakhstan at Asian championship

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-08-06 11:22

Zhou Peng takes China over Kazakhstan at Asian championship

China's Zhou Peng (15) drives to the basket during their second round game against Kazakhstan during FIBA Asia Basketball Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena at suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines, Aug 5, 2013. [Photo/icpress.cn]

MANILA - Kazakhstan almost scared China but Zhou Peng's 12 points in the final quarter lifted the defending champions to a winning start in the second round here on Monday at the 27th Asian Men's Basketball Championship.

Iran, Chinese Taipei and Qatar all stay unbeaten after Monday's second round matches.

Zhou Peng scored 12 of his game-high 17 points to lead China to victory.

Mikhail Yevstigneyev made in two free-throws with three minutes and 12 seconds to the end, which put Kazakhstan in the leading position since the start of the match.

Zhou Peng answered with a field goal and then a three-pointer, which helped China lead at 67-63.

Kazakhstan then missed two open shots and also the chance to tie the score, which sealed China's first win in Group F.

China headed into the second quarter with a leading of 12 points but Kazakhstan took a 14-2 run to cut the lead to only four. Zhu Fangyu stood up and made in three triples before the halftime, at which China led 42-30.

Kazakhstan outscored China 16-8 in the third quarter but Wang Shipeng's two triples early in the final quarter kept China in a leading position with 10 points. Then Kazakhstan, who won all three group matches in the preliminary stage, had a 10-1 run in the middle of the fourth quarter but still denied by Zhou Peng.

"It's a very tough match for us because the team is now in a very difficult time," said Zhou, who also grabbed eight rebounds but missed six free throws.

"We don't have the confidence we need and we couldn't find the rhythm during the match," added Zhou. "We have to win more matches and we will get better."

"We played a very good game with difficult situations and we improved our mind and team play," said Panaglotis Giannakis, head coach of China. "Kazakhstan surprised us but we never lost mind and controlled the panic."

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