MELBOURNE, July 16 (Xinhua) -- China's National Basketball 'Blue' team were in Melbourne on Sunday, and faced off against the feisty Melbourne United NBL team, fresh off their two-game series against Jiangsu Dragons in China.
Both teams came out of the gates hard in the first quarter with Craig Moller dropping a dagger mid-range two pointer to get the scoring underway. China and Melbourne were both running a full paced transition offensive game, but both teams were committing many fouls in the early running.
Wu Qian launched the first three pointer of the game for China, under intense pressure, while the first quarter saw Li Gen putting some solid work in the post, refusing to be bullied by his larger Australian opponents.
But, Li was also a distributor of the rock, dishing an excellent dime to his teammate Hu Jinqiu, who scored despite being fouled and converted the extra free throw. Zeng Lingxu was a beast in the first period, driving into the lane with ease, and putting up a lot of early points, whilst also kicking out to his teammates.
The early going was tense however, with both sides trying to assert an early dominance over the other, with the superb team ball played by China, more than enough to counter the hard screen setting Melbourne players.
The Chinese team had to resort to an open, free passing style of play, to counter the press defence of the scrappy Australians - known for their physical presence on the court.
Yu Dehao was on fire near the end of the first quarter, dropping two threes, despite coming off the bench to start the game.
In the second period, Hu Jinqiu dominated with his mid-range game, showing off his smooth stroke and sinking a set of easy two pointers, despite the swarming defence of the Melbourne team.
Wu also shone, with two clutch three pointers, and a steal which led to fast break points at the other end of the court.
The second half saw Li take it to the Australian team, and at one stage scored three straight baskets for his team, and sparked a duel with four-time Australian Olympian David Andersen, who went bucket for bucket with the Chinese star.
Despite the physical play throughout, China held on to a four-point lead at the end of the third, giving as many hits back as they took from the Australians, with both teams grinding it out in what was up to that point, a very defensively focussed game.
The fourth quarter went much of the same way, with both sides playing hard press defence, and to the shock of the crowd, many of whom were of Chinese heritage, the game ended in an 84-84 draw, triggering overtime.
The young Chinese team gave it their all during the final part of the match, but the experience of the much older Australian players in clutch time situations, particularly Andersen who took over the game, was too much, with the final score being a ten point victory for Melbourne United, 104-94.
After the match, the captain of Melbourne United - and its star player - the 37-year-old veteran of Europe and the NBA, Andersen told Xinhua that he was impressed with the play of the young Chinese players, in what was a very close match all the way to the end.
"I thought they fought really hard, they played pretty well organised basketball," Andersen said.
"Obviously their coach (Du Feng) has implemented in them a 'fight', they (China's Blue team) are going to fight harder. In the years past I have played against China - but now they are going after you."
Coach Du was proud of his team after the match, and said that China could have pulled off a victory in the game, but were plagued by foul trouble throughout - and finished the game with only four players on the court.
"For us, coming to Australia to play this time was all about building experience for the young players," Du said.
"I want to thank Melbourne United for their physical style of play, because having to play against them in this way helps our young players a lot."