Mon, Nov 07, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan fends off rally to beat Japan

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS The men's basketball team took the gold at the East Asian Games final yesterday, despite a late drive to within three points by Japan

AP , MACAU

Taiwan's Tseng Wen Ting, right, battles against Japan's Shunsuke Ito in the men's basketball final at the East Asian Games in Macau yesterday. Taiwan defeated Japan 60-55 to win the gold medal.

PHOTO: AP

Lee Hsueh-lin (李學林) scored a game-high 15 points yesterday as Taiwan weathered a late rally to defeat Japan 60-55 in the East Asian Games men's basketball final.

Taiwan built a commanding 10-point lead by the end of the third quarter, only to see Japan come back in the last 10 minutes.

Japan, coming off a stunning 68-60 upset over China in the semifinals, closed the gap to just three points late in the game.

Takuya Kawamura, who led Japan with 13 points, hit a key three-pointer with just 3.6 seconds left to cut the lead to 58-55, but forward Tien Lei (田壘) made a pair of free throws from the line to seal the win for Taiwan.

"This was our most tense game of the year," said Taiwan coach Lee Yun-kung (李雲光), who was mobbed by his players after the game and tossed in the air.

The game started evenly with the two teams tied 16-16 at the end of the first quarter. Both sides played tough man-to-man defense, limiting each other to outside shots.

But Taiwan had better success penetrating in the second quarter as Japan struggled with its shooting, pulling ahead 32-22 at the half.

Lee may have been the game's top scorer, but center Tseng Wen-ting (曾文鼎) contributed a range of skills to thwart Japan. He blocked shots, posted up, and fed teammates precisely for 14 points -- all despite an injured leg.

Japan continued to shoot poorly in the third quarter, but Japan point guard Kei Igarashi made a dashing drive and then made a foul shot in the fourth to help narrow the score to 51-44. Igarashi played a vital role in Japan's win over China.

Japan scored a total of 20 points in the final quarter but it wasn't enough to erase the early deficit.

Japan coach Pavlicevic Zeljko said he tried out several new players who didn't shoot well.

"I gave a chance to three players, these young guys, and nobody made any shots from mid-range," he said.

The Chinese women's basketball team made some amends for the stunning loss by their male compatriots, beating Taiwan 71-67 in the gold medal match.

Earlier yesterday, China defeated South Korea 72-70 to win the bronze medal in men's basketball as NBA prospect Yi Jian-lian was on court to salvage the game, swiveling under the basket as he scored the winning points.

South Korea's Lee Kwang-jae had missed twice from the free-throw line with the scores locked 70-70 and 14 seconds to go.

Wang Shipeng had a game-high 30 points for China and Yi -- who was fouled out in the semifinal loss -- had seven points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.

soccer

China defeatedJapan 2-1, with Glasgow Celtic defender Du Wei scoring the winner to lead his side into the final against North Korea.

That is the last of 234 gold medals on offer over nine days.

North Korea had a 2-0 win over South Korea in the first major head-to-head contest since both agreed here to form a single team for the Asian Games and 2008 Olympics.

swimming

China won four of the last seven swimming finals yesterday to finish the East Asian Games meet with 33 gold medals, erasing Japan's reputation as the regional power in the pool.

Across all 17 sports with only seven finals to be determined on the final day of competition at Macau, China had 126 gold medals and 220 overall -- a massive lead over Japan, with 45 gold and 175 overall.

Japan, ranked third in swimming at last year's Athens Olympics, had seven swimming gold medals here, including one on the final day.

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