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Pac-12 China Game: Cardinal top Crimson 80-70 in U.S. college basketball tip-off


11-13-2016 15:51 BJT

Two of the leading universities from the US tipped off the new college basketball campaign in Shanghai. A year ago the inaugural Pac-12 China Game featured an American sports organization hosting a regular season competition in China for the first time ever. And as Damion Jones tells us, the second edition would hammer home the scholastic component of this venture, as Stanford faced Harvard, in a clash of academic heavyweights.

College basketball is one of the main avenues where sports and scholarship intersect in the USA. And there is perhaps nowhere that juxtaposition could be more prominently on display, than at the second annual Pac-12 China Game. Harvard and Stanford hold the top two positions in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and as this season opener in Shanghai would reaffirm, their hoops teams can certainly contribute additional points of pride, to the rolls of honor at these two educational powerhouses.

Stanford defeats Harvard in Shanghai.

Stanford defeats Harvard in Shanghai.

After bringing another tip-off event across the Pacific Ocean, Commissioner Larry Scott announced that his office would be partnering with Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Yao Ming's charity foundation, to help develop the game at the grassroots level in China. The Pac-12 also donated some of the proceeds from this contest to the Shanghai native's philanthropic organization. Another retired NBA veteran, Game Ambassador Jason Collins, stresses that cooperative efforts like this are beneficial, both on and off the court.

Cardinal alumni like Collins take great pride in their alma mater, as do their counterparts who ventured to the Mercedes-Benz Arena to cheer on the designated visitors, the Ivy League's Crimson, all relishing a rare chance to see student-athletes from their schools hitting the hardwood, on a completely different side of the globe.

Stanford supporters would show up in bigger numbers and cheer a bit louder, their enthusiasm spurring on the Cardinal, who snag the lead in the initial minute of action, and maintain that momentum as the first half progresses.

Stanford went into the break holding a two-point lead, but opened the second half with a strong run to take control of the game, and appeared to be on course for a season-opening victory, unless Harvard could pull off a stirring comeback down the stretch.

The Cardinal seem to be on the verge of busting the game open several times, only for the Crimson to respond and stay within striking distance. But Harvard would eventually come up on the short end of an 80-70 final score, with Stanford emerging triumphant in their first outing under new head coach Jerod Haase, in a setting unlike anything these squads had ever experienced before.

And after a solid second staging of the Pac-12 China Game, fans of the league's various universities are clearly excited about the prospect of their favorite college hoopsters trekking to Shanghai in the future. Those partial to Arizona must wait a while longer, though, as UCLA will host Georgia Tech in next season's third edition of this burgeoning cross-cultural endeavor.

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