Yao scores 21, game-winner as China tops Aussies

Updated: August 15, 2006, 9:48 AM ET
Associated Press

KUNSHAN, China -- Yao Ming scored the game-winner and finished with 21 points Tuesday to lift China past Australia, 63-61, in its final exhibition before the World Championships.

Andrew Bogut's jam tied the game at 61, but he missed a free throw and a chance to take the lead. China took possession with 15 seconds left and Yao scored the winning basket.

The game turned into a battle between Yao and Bogut, the Milwaukee Bucks' No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft, who scored 20 points. Yao seemed to get the better of most of their exchanges, with Australia grabbing only 12 rebounds in the first half to China's 23.

With the return of guard Liu Wei, China was able to play with its full complement of stars. Liu, who had a tryout with the Sacramento Kings in 2004, had 10 points. Wang Zhizhi, China's first player in the NBA, added nine.

China won its first game in four exhibition appearances at home this month. The Chinese team lost to the United States, Germany and Brazil.

The game was played in a packed gymnasium just outside Yao's hometown, Shanghai.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press