Kyle Anderson resurrected himself from a nightmarish debut, but his gallant efforts weren’t enough as China suffered another gut-wrenching defeat this time against South Sudan, 89-69, in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Manila.
After going scoreless against Serbia on Saturday, Li Kaier responded with 22 points, five boards, and three assists, but these numbers weren’t able to match the balanced assault made by South Sudan with five cagers cracking double-digit points.
The clash was still tightly contested at 50-49 with nearly four minutes left in the third chapter, but South Sudan suddenly gunned a 13-4 blitz en route to a 10-point closeout heading to the final frame, 63-53.
Team Dragon made plenty of efforts to get themselves back on track, but the South Sudanese group kept on responding behind Carlik Jones’ dazzle, pinning as much as 17-point margin with 2:20 left, 79-62.
Zhou Qi and Zhao Jiwei provided five combined points in separate possessions, but South Sudan came out strong and aced 26-point final-period markers to ice their first-ever World Cup dub.
Jones powered South Sudan’s redeeming performance after a disappointing collapse last weekend against Puerto Rico, registering 21 points and six assists. Kuany Ngor Kuany had 16, while Nuni Omot contributed with 14 markers.
South Sudan halted their two games so far in the Group Phase of the World Cup, while China settled for back-to-back defeats which makes their chances to advance even more tiny.
China can only hope for a miracle as they are set against Puerto Rico on Wednesday. South Sudan will meanwhile target to be on track towards advancing with Serbia up next on their schedule on the same day mentioned.