Sat, Jul 15, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Taiwan rallies to conquer Qatar

BASKETBALL After trailing by as many as nine points, Taiwan switched to a matched-up zone defense which allowed it to do as it pleased in a lopsided final quarter


Yang Tseh-yi of Team Taiwan dumps a pass in front of Qatar's Ahmad Mohammed Baker in Thursday night's 85-64 win over Qatar at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium.


Yang Tseh-yi's (Videoland Hunters) 18-point night, including a perfect 4-for-4 shooting from the three-point range, sparked a 52-point second half, as Team Taiwan overcame a six-point halftime deficit to storm past the previously unbeaten Qatar in an 85-64 final at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium on Thursday night.

It was a huge victory for the home team in this year's William Jones' Cup competition, not only in terms of improving Team Taiwan's chances to advance into the second round, but also showing that it could play evenly against one of the top squads in all of Asia.

The contest began with the hosts greeting the visitors with a 13-3 run, before the Qataris answered with an 18-6 run of their own to close out the first quarter leading 21-19.

A series of uncontested mid-range jumpers, coupled with an outstanding rebounding effort by the Qatar offense, extended the team's lead over Taiwan to as many as nine points in the second quarter before the hosts managed to cut the deficit to six heading into the halftime intermission.

Switching to a matched-up zone defense for a good part of the third quarter, Team Taiwan finally put a stop to the Qatari perimeter game while hitting its own outside shots on offense in a 31-point third quarter to claim a 64-58 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.

Caught off guard by the sudden Taiwanese offensive surge, Qatar found itself in unfamiliar territory, playing catch-up for the first time in the tournament. And with the crowd on its feet rooting for the home team and the Qataris missing shots they normally would have made, Taiwan did as it pleased in a lopsided final quarter (holding Qatar to a tournament low of six points in the quarter) to run away with the blowout win.

Four different players scored in double-digits for Taiwan, with Yang leading the pack with 18 points, followed by forward Tien Lei's (Dacin Tigers) 15, center Tseng Wen-ding's (Yulon Dinos) 14, and Chen "Airman" Hsin-an's (Yulon Dinos) 13.

"Coach Lee specifically told us not to pass up any shots if we are open, so I tried to get myself open for the three's that's all," Yang said after the game, referring to his red-hot shooting after three dismal games earlier in the tournament.

Normally reserve guard Lee Hsueh-lin also made the most his rare start by dishing out a tournament-high of eleven assists in the game to help his team in a winning cause.

Taiwan 69, Australia 61

Wednesday night's contest against Team Australia set the sellout crowd of 3,500 through several rollercoaster rides with a number of lead changes as Taiwan overcame a sloppily played third quarter that wasted a 37-26 halftime lead to eke out a 69-61 win.

A slow start that saw the hosts falling behind by a 17-11 score after the opening quarter was promptly erased when Chou Shih-yuan (Yulon Dinos) and Lin "the Beast" Chih-jeh (Taiwan Beer) combined for three three's in a 26-point second to help Taiwan claim a 37-26 advantage at the end of the first half.

The eleven-point halftime cushion for Taiwan lasted less than a quarter as a resilient Australian defense stiffened to hold the Taiwanese attack to only eleven points while scoring 26 points on offense in the quarter to reclaim a 49-48 lead after third quarter.

Down to the final quarter in a game it could not afford to lose, Taiwan resorted to Chen Hsin-an, who accounted for 14 of its final 21 points in the game, all in the decisive fourth quarter, to help secure the victory.

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