Sun steers Zhejiang Lions to one win away from returning to CBA finals

Hanghou, China, May 2 : Sun Minghui powered the Zhejiang Lions past the defending champions the Liaoning Flying Leopards 87-77 here, with Zhejiang leading 2-1 in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league semifinal between last season's finalists. Sun made six 3-pointers for a game-high 33 points along with six rebounds and six assists. He became decisive late in the game, first feeding Zhao Jiaren's 3-pointer to make it a six-point game, and then making a jumper and a floater in the final seconds, reports Xinhua. "Returning to our home court, we felt the support from the crowd, but at the same time, our players were a bit stressed at the start. We tried to relieve our players at the intermission, and they did better in mentality and team spirit in the second half," said Zhejiang coach Wang Bo. Sun and Kyle Wiltjer connected on three 3-pointers as Zhejiang raced to an 11-3 start and forced Liaoning into an early timeout. Liaoning responded well after that, as five different players contributed to a 13-0 surge to turn things around. Sun scored 11 of Zhejiang's 16 points in the first quarter, while despite the absence of their star guard Guo Ailun due to a leg strain, Liaoning managed to possess a two-point lead at the end of the quarter. Zhejiang capitalized on Liaoning's consecutive turnovers in the second period to pull away with a 12-0 run midway through the quarter. But Liaoning guard Kyle Fogg stepped up with his pace to convert baskets in transition, and Zhao Jiwei's layup pulled Liaoning within 41-36 at halftime. Sun was on fire again from beyond the arc after the interval, sinking three 3-pointers and tallying 11 points in the third quarter, while Zhang Zhenlin made a shot from 3-point range at the buzzer to cut Liaoning's deficit to two points heading into the final frame. Fogg once helped Liaoning whittle down their deficit to two points with two minutes left to play, but Sun's virtuoso display in crunch time fueled Zhejiang one step ahead towards the finals. Zhejiang center Hu Jinqiu notched a double-double of 12 points and 18 rebounds. Zhu Junlong and Wiltjer each scored 10 points. "It was a tough game with fierce physical contact down the stretch. We made many unnecessary mistakes, and we need to draw lessons and fight hard in the next game," commented Hu. Fogg led Liaoning with 22 points. Zhao contributed 11 points and 10 assists. Fu Hao and Zhang chipped in with 11 and 10 points respectively. "We played hard, and everyone on the court did his best. But losing our best player (Guo Ailun) and facing an in-form team like the Zhejiang Lions, it was a quite difficult game for us," admitted Liaoning coach Yang Ming. The defending champions pin their hope on winning the next game on Wednesday so as to drag the series into a winner-take-all Game 5 in their home court in Shenyang. /IANS


Asian Games India overcome Pakistan in thriller to claim men s squash team gold
Hangzhou, Sep 30 : India scored a sensational come from behind triumph over arch-rivals Pakistan in the final to win the gold medal in men's Team sq

Asian Games Sarabjot, Divya win silver for India in 10m air pistol Mixed Team shooting
Hangzhou, Sep 30 : India's Sarabjot Singh and Divya TS Divya topped the field in the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team shooting event but eventually went on t

Asian Games India bid to upset powerhouse Republic of Korea in men s archery competitions
Hangzhou, Sep 30 : Led by reigning World Champion Ojas Pravin Deotale, India will be aiming to tackle the mighty Republic of Korea in the Asian Games