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Jordan tightens race for final Asian spot in FIBA WC with rout of sluggish China

Dar Tucker let it rain for Jordan. FIBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Jordan is still putting up a fight in the race for the last slot in the FIBA World Cup.

Behind the hot hands of naturalized guard Dar Tucker, the team pulled off a huge upset in the Asian Qualifiers, zapping China, 86-62, at the Prince Hamzah Hall in Amman early Saturday (Philippine Time).

Tucker was all around the court as he led Jordan to a very important victory that salvaged its bid to join its victim in the FIBA World Cup.

He actually finished the job for the Jordanians as veteran Zaid Abbas had an efficient start as they ended the first quarter ahead, 24-18.

Tucker then took over the rest of the way as the Chinese side began struggling from the perimeter and the free throw line, letting Jordan open a 48-30 halftime lead.

China showed some life at the start of the third quarter by scoring four straight points, but Jordan stayed poise and kept a huge lead entering the fourth.

China had one final push, opening the final frame on a 6-0 run to go to within 11, 53-64, but Jordan once again showed that it already learned its lessons from their previous meeting, in which it squandered a huge lead and lost, and further zapped its visitor.

Tucker finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and one steal for Jordan, which tied its victim at 6-5.

Abbas added 20 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, one block, and one assist, while Mohammad Hussein got 11 points, 14 rebounds, one assist, and one steal.

Zhao Rui made 20 points, four rebounds, and two assists for China, which only 6-for-32 from long range and 10-for-24 from the charity stripe the entire game.

With the result, Jordan can barge its way to China with another stunner over New Zealand back in Amman on Sunday night and a Gilas Pilipinas loss at Kazakhstan.

On the other hand, Gilas must beat Kazakhstan and hope that New Zealand prevails at Jordan for the team to qualify for the World Cup.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno