Miscues at the free-throw line cost Team Taiwan the game against Qatar late on Tuesday evening as it dropped a heartbreaker by 103-96 in double overtime in the basketball competition of the 2006 Asian Games at Doha, Qatar.
Leading by a point with under 14 seconds remaining in regulation, Chen "Airman" Hsin-an (Yulon Dinos) had a chance to finish off the home hosts by giving Taiwan a three-point lead with two made free throws. Instead, he sank only one of the two, which allowed Qatar to put in two game-tying free throws of its own in the final seconds to send the contest into overtime.
Chou Shih-yuan (Dinos) had another shot to wrap up the win in the closing seconds of the first overtime period with two more free throw attempts with the scores tied at 92-92 while subbing for the injured Yang Tseh-yi (Videoland Hunters), whose determined drive to the hoop with five seconds remaining drew the shooting foul that sent Chou to the charity stripe.
And a rattled Chou failed to deliver as he missed both free throws to force the second overtime of the game.
By then, Taiwan was both mentally and physically overextended, making the second overtime a breeze for a Qatar squad that by then had the home crowd on its feet.
A game that should have never been lost had the visitors bombarding Qatar with long-range three's by Yang and guard Lee Hsueh-lin that helped build a 25-18 lead after the first quarter before Taiwan upped its lead by as many as 14 points early in the second quarter.
Then came a scoring drought that lasted nearly six minutes for Taiwan which breathed new life into Qatar as it came up with a 16-4 run over the same span to close out the first half trailing 41-38.
Taiwan would maintain a cushion of five points at the end of the third quarter despite an all-out attack by Qatar in the low-post area that scored 23 points in the quarter, as Chen led Taiwan with an equally impressive effort (14 points) to fend them off.
Neither team would hold leads larger than three points in an evenly fought fourth quarter that saw Qatar dominating the offensive glass with a notable height advantage to offset a better perimeter game by Taiwan, setting the stage for a close finish that eventually went Qatar's way.
Poor free throw shooting was not the sole culprit in Taiwan's loss as Qatar enjoyed an overwhelming 52-39 rebounding edge in the game, with 21 of the 52 boards coming off the offensive glass.
Taiwan was handed a second straight defeat by Japan 67-78 yesterday. Taiwan mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter outscoring the Japanese squad 24-19, but it wasn't enough to overcome a disastrous first quarter in which Japan took a 27-12 lead.
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