China qualify for FIBA 2023 World Cup after win over Bahrain
Veteran Zhou Peng and center Wang Zhelin led China's men's basketball team past Bahrain in an 80-67 overtime win in Asian qualifiers on Monday.
With the win, China booked a ticket to the FIBA 2023 Basketball World Cup finals.
Leading for most of regular time, China was on the verge of an away loss when Bahrain forward Devon Dwayne Chism made a 3-pointer and reclaimed a 62-61 lead for the home team with less than two minutes on the clock in the fourth quarter.
It was Zhou who nailed a shot only 24 seconds later, making the score 64-62. The 33-year-old, however, was only to see his team dragged into overtime after Chism made another layup and tied the scoreline at 64-64.
Overtime saw Zhou and Wang stand out after both sides failed to score during the first two minutes.
Zhao Rui and Gu Quan also contributed, and China finally took their second straight win on the road in the fifth window of the Asian qualifiers.
Wang put up a game-high 27 points, while Chism led Bahrain with 23 points.
After beating Bahrain, China rank second in Group F, where leaders Australia also secured a berth to the World Cup finals.
China will take on Kazakhstan on February 23 and Iran on February 26 in the sixth window of the qualifiers.