The Azio Eagles accomplished beat the Videoland Hunters 66-60 at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium on Saturday for their first win of the season.
Dropping their first ten straight by an average margin of 14.7 points, and playing without top center Jien Jia-hong due to an injury, the Eagles had every reason to believe that it was going to be another lopsided loss against the previously top-ranked Hunters. Instead, they turned in their best game of the season by far by holding the Hunters to 60 points, their lowest point total in four years, to claim the all-import first victory of the season.
Speedy guard Chen Shih-jeh's strong drive to the hoop against the Hunters' Jonathan Sanders with 10.2 seconds remaining ended all hopes for the Hunters as it gave the Eagles a five-point lead at that point. A miss by Chen would have given the Hunters one final chance at forcing a tie with a three-pointer. Instead, they were tagged with the ugly loss, the fourth in their past five games, after winning seven in a row to start the season in blistering fashion.
The game began with a low-scoring first quarter that ended 18-18 before the Eagles pulled ahead in the latter part of the second quarter to enjoy a surprise four-point lead (38-34) at the half.
Tenacious defense by the Eagles that held the Hunters to only a dozen points in the entire third quarter put the underdogs ahead by seven heading into the final quarter, suggesting that the unthinkable might actually happen.
The Hunters made a strong push to cut the Eagles' lead to one with four minutes left in the game. But that was as close as they got with the Eagles refusing to back down.
Chang Yu-lin led the scoring with 22 points in the game in what was his best performance of the season.
For the Hunters, all-purpose forward Sanders continued his dominance inside the paint with his fifth double-20 effort (20 points and 28 rebounds) of the year. His 28 boards set a new record in a single game for total rebounds, shattering the previous mark of 24, set by Dacin Tigers icon Tien Lei in 2005.
Troubles at the free-throw line were partially to blame for the Hunters' loss as they shot below 55 percent for the second straight night. Their lousy 20-for-35 shooting was slightly better than the 15-for-30 effort in the loss to the ETTV Antelopes on Friday but still not good enough for the win.
Tigers 94, Bank of Taiwan 69
The Dacin Tigers had little trouble handling Bank of Taiwan in a 94-69 blowout in Game two on Saturday evening, dealing the hapless Bankers their sixth straight defeat.
The win helped avenge a disheartening 92-91 loss to the Bankers in the season opener for the Tigers as they cruised to victory with another stellar effort from top scorer Tien Lei, whose game-high 26 points in less than 30 minutes played set a new standard for scoring efficiency in the league.
Dinos 107, Antelopes 83
The ETTV Antelopes bid to extend its winning run to six straight hit a roadblock as the Yulon Dinos beat them 107-83.
The defending champs took a 29-18 lead after the first quarter and never looked back as they dominated the Antelopes the entire way, thanks to an outstanding effort by versatile forward Chen Hsin-an, whose 28 points in the game was second only to his 36-point outburst in a huge win over Taiwan Beer late last month.