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TOKUSHIMA (FIBA Asia Championship) - Rasheim Wright, with splendid second half support from Zaid Alkhas, shouldered the responsibility of scoring as Jordan wrapped defending champions China in a defense web to post a 78-65 margin in Group 'A' on Friday.
There was very little to choose between the teams - in terms of scoring at least in the initial phases. China, fielding their 'B' team in the Championship, were well served by Bo Wang and Yong Wang in the early stages of the encounter.
Rasheim Wright, who top scored the match with 31 points - along with two assists - countered the Wang duo, but it took Zaid Alkhas' timely strike of form for Jordan to find their rhythm. Zaid Alkhas, who accounted for 22 points and eight defensive rebounds, began rather sedately, but once he found his bearings early in the third quarter, there was no looking back for Jordan.
It was at this juncture, buoyed by the confidence provided by the duo, Mario Palma made some crucial changes in his defense plans. As a result, China who seemed to be hitherto moving around rather comfortably began to repeatedly run into walls of stoic defense put up by Alkhas and Islam Abbaas. The latter collected seventeen rebounds - 10 of them offensive - as China struggled with their second shots.
"Our defense proved it," Palma beamed after the win. "This is the first time in history that Jordan have beaten China. I think it's a remarkable day for me," he said.
"With every team as good as the other in our group, the side with better plan and homework is bound to clinch. And that's exactly what gave us the winning edge today," he added.
Chinese coach Adijiang shrugged off the defeat saying, "after all we have brought our second best team here."
Jordan 78 (Rasheim Wright 31, Zaid Alkhas 22) bt China 65 (Ming Yang 15, Bo Wang 15). Quarterwise: 17-18, 35-30, 60-49.