Australians fall to hosts in Stankovic Cup
An Australian men’s team has been defeated by the Chinese national team in their second game at the Stankovic Continental Cup in China, 67-44.
After starting the competition with a strong win over a Russian team, the Australians struggled to score against a full strength host nation with no player managing to reach double-figures.
Todd Blanchfield of the Townsville Crocodiles led the Australians with nine points.
His Townsville teammate Mitch Norton added six points, as did the Cairns Taipans new signing Clint Steindl and US college player Cameron Bairstow.
China with a crushing 21-9 opening stanza, which saw the Aussies on the back foot early in the contest. They did a better job defensively in the second period, holding China to just 12 points for the term, but managed to only add an additional 10 toe their own tally, to head into the changerooms at the half trailing by 14.
The Aussies again failed to register more than 10 points in the third term, struggled to score from anywhere on the floor, China taking a 15-9 advantage in that term to extend the lead by 20 heading into the final period.
The Aussies were better in the fourth, registering 16 points to close out the game, but failed to prevent China from extending again, the home-side eventually running away with the 23 point win. The larger Chinese dominated the glass, establishing a 56-34 rebounding advantage. The Aussies will also want to shoot better than they did in this contest as the tournament progresses: they connected on just 19 per cent of attempts from inside the arc and just 24 per cent from down town.
The Aussies tackle Tunisia tonight, with a win there giving them another crack at the Chinese side.