Tien Lei's dynamite 46-point night, along with point guard Wang Chih-chuin's 19 points, propelled the high-flying Dacin Tigers to an impressive 106-84 win over the Bank of Taiwan at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium on Friday night.
It was the third game of the season in which Tien has scored over 40 points, giving the league's Most Valuable Player in February an average of 26.6 points per contest for this season's scoring title.
"Once he [Tien] is on, it's pretty hard to shut him off," fellow teammate Chang Chih-fong said after the game, referring to Tien's amazing scoring ability.
The Tigers jumped to a quick 29-14 lead after the first quarter behind Tien and guard Chang Chih-fong's combined 20-plus points, before the bankers rallied with an 18-5 run of their own midway through the second quarter to close out the first half trailing only by two.
Bank of Taiwan took a six-point lead in the first minutes of the second half on the strength of an 8-0 run, only to see a Tien-led Tigers attack that answered with 32 point in the quarter to retake an 80-65 lead.
A tenacious Tigers defense, which forced a dozen turnovers by the bankers, complemented the well-known three-point attack (11-for 28 from behind the three-point line) perfectly as the Tigers outplayed the bankers in every facet of the game.
The victory upped the Tigers' winning streak to five straight for the second time this season as they gained a half-game in the Super Basketball League standings to trail the league-leading Dinos by a half-game.
As for the bankers, the loss snapped their winning skid at three games as they prepared for two more games over the weekend.
Scoring threat Yang Jin-ming's 20 points was the lone highlight for a bankers squad that was without the services of speedy guard Jien Ming-fu, who sat out with a two-game suspension.
Hunters 82, Antelopes 73
Lee Chi-yi's double-double performance (21 points and 10 rebounds) on an emotional night ignited a previously slumping Videoland Hunters squad for an 82-73 win over the ETTV Antelopes.
The third year veteran forward left the floor momentarily in disgust of a foul called on him by the referee, which led to his automatic ejection from the game with over six minutes left to play.
"Something should be done about the quality of the officiating crew in this league," Lee said, "I can't believe what is happening out there a lot of the times."
The Hunters took a comfortable 23-14 lead in the first quarter, despite the Antelopes' four straight three-pointers to start the game, and made it 44-30 by the end of the first half on Lee and Yang Tseh-yi's combined 23-point effort.
Unlike several of the Hunters' recent losses where they failed to protect a fourth-quarter lead, the men with the rifles made good on their first-half success and held off the rallying Antelopes in the final quarter for the much-needed win.
The victory not only ended the Hunters' three-game losing streak, but also brought them to a tie with the Bamk of Taiwan for fourth place in the standings, the fourth-and-final ticket for the upcoming postseason.
Today's Big Game
The match up between the Hunters and the bankers this afternoon should draw a good crowd to the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium as the battle for the ticket into the postseason heats.
Controlling the tempo of the game will be crucial for both clubs since it means so much to their respective offense.