Changsha (China), Oct 1 (IANS) The brilliant run of the Indian men’s basketball team ended with a 58-104 loss to hosts China in the quarter-finals of the 28th FIBA Asia Championship here on Thursday .
Returning to the knockout stage after a gap of 12 years, the young cagers showed glimpses of their class and ability to go toe to toe against one of the top sides in the continent. The last time the two teams faced each other during the 5th FIBA Asia Cup in 2014, India had stunned their opponents 65-58.
On Thursday, India led in the initial few minutes before China turned in a great show, led mainly by Yi Jianlian. Jianlian was restricted inside by his hardworking Indian counterpart Amritpal Singh.
But Jianlian could not be stopped, and had 18 points at half-time. China moved the ball well to effectively counter India’s 2-3 zone.
For India, overall tournament top scorer Amjyot Singh was aggressively man marked, so Yadwinder Singh and Captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi took up most of the scoring load. While Yadwinder was aggressive in the first quarter, guard Bhriguvanshi caught fire midway through the second quarter with back to back threes.
He continued to showcase his scoring and playmaking abilities in the second half to end the game with a match high 22 points and five assists.
His tournament average of 16.1 points per game and nearly five assists per game has ensured that he, along with forward Amjyot, are in the reckoning for making the tournament All-Star team.
“Regardless of the outcome we fought hard and will look to do the same tomorrow against Korea,” Bhriguvanshi said in a release.
While India’s run in the main competition has ended, the side has two key classification games to look forward to, starting with one against South Korea on Friday.
An upset win over the Koreans will allow India to at least secure the sixth place.