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NBL pre-season: Melbourne United win hard-fought, foul-ridden clash against China

Melbourne United enjoyed a big win before an impressive crowd at Margaret Court Arena in their pre-season clash with China on Sunday.

But the burgeoning relations between the NBL and China could take a hit from the game as eight Chinese players fouled out in Melbourne's 104-92 overtime win leaving the visitors with only four players on the court in the final minutes.

Drive way: Melbourne United's Kyle Adnam head to the basket. Photo: Robert Prezioso
The pre-season game drew a near capacity 6888 supporters, and many of them were Chinese supporters, exactly the demographic the NBL want to bring under their umbrella.

But a total of 71 fouls were called in the game, and eight Chinese players along with Melbourne's Craig Moller fouled out with five fouls.

The visitors were clearly trying to foul in the final minutes of overtime which made the situation worse, but they had already lost multiple players in the final term.

Melbourne shot 56 free throws compared to 27 from China, who argued that they deserved to be awarded more foul calls on their drives to the basket.

China has split their national squad into two so their players can gain more international experience, but whatever the faults in the Chinese play, it was a bad look for both parties.

China coach Du Feng, speaking via an interpreter, was diplomatic post game but said his side would have won with more free throws and it wouldn't put them off playing in Australia in the future.

"This for us is a good experience for us," Feng said.

"If we had the same quantity of free throws we would have won the game easy."

Feng then emphasised his point by saying "easy" in English.

Melbourne United star David Andersen scored all 20 of his points in the second half and overtime while Craig Moller scored 20 in his first Australian appearance for his new club.

Melbourne point guard Kyle Adnam racked up 19 points, 16 coming from the free throw line.

Chinese guard Wu Qian led his side with 22 points, while centre Jinqiu Hu scored 17 points.

Andersen said the Chinese side was much more aggressive on defence.

"It did get a bit out of hand at the end, they were being a bit silly, but that's how things go sometimes," Andersen said.

"Credit to the refs, they didn't get flustered or worry about too much - they called what was obvious fouls.

"They fought really hard, their coach has implemented a fight in them, in the past I have played against Chinese teams who were a bit softer than what you would expect.

"Now they are going after you, they are fouling a lot but they played hard basketball."

Melbourne centre Majok Majok was outstanding inside with 13 points before rolling his ankle in the final term.

Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman said Andersen, Chris Goulding and Majok will head to Australian Boomers camp on Tuesday, although how much Majok plays will depend on how severe his injury is.

Goulding missed the China game due to feeling sick earlier this week while David Barlow had a back spasm so sat out.

"Majok stepped on some else's foot and turned it to the outside," Vickerman said.

"Chris took a cortisone a week ago, there is one little spot in his ankle which we have to get right and then he got sick as well."

Vickerman also praised the fight of his side.

"We wanted to establish and change some of our behaviours in how we want to play this year," Vickerman said.

"The charges we took tonight was an indication, that's a sacrifice play for the rest of your team and to see the rest of the guys sprint to pick that guy up -that was contagious throughout the game."

The Chinese will play Brisbane Bullets on the Gold Coast on Tuesday night.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/basketball/nbl-preseason-melbourne-united-win-hardfought-foulridden-clash-against-china-20170716-gxc96s.html

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