Sat, Jul 19, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Jordan lift Jones Cup again while Taiwan fade out

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER, WITH STAFF WRITER

Taiwan’s Yang Chin-min lays up against South Korea in their Jones Cup game at the Taipei County Sinjhuang Gymnasium yesterday. Taiwan lost 83-74.

PHOTO: WANG YI-SUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Jordan triumphed in a controversial, heated final against the USA at the Sinjhuang Gymnasium in Taipei County last night, prevailing 93-91 in overtime to lift the Jones Cup for the second consecutive year.

Jordan clawed back from 58-51 to finish 81-81 in regulation time after a controversial series of fouls called on the Middle Easterners, but the USA failed to convert winning baskets amid disputed calls and incensed coaching staff on both sides.

In overtime, the Jordanians survived more disputed calls to take the match and send the Athletes in Action squad from the USA home as runners-up. Jordan were the only team to defeat the USA in the preliminaries.

SOUTH KOREA 83, TAIWAN 74

Taiwan were no match for South Korea in the battle for seventh place in the Jones Cup championship yesterday afternoon, losing 83-74 to close out the nine-day competition with eight straight losses and finishing last in the competition for the first time in its 30-year history.

A pathetically low turnout at the Taipei County Sinjhuang Gymnasium saw the hosts open with just 10 points in the opening quarter to trail South Korea 10-16 before forwards Lu Cheng-rue (Yulon Dinos) and Hsu Chih-chiang (Bank of Taiwan) came off the bench and sparked a rally that gave Taiwan a brief lead.

Tempers flared as the intensity of play increased, which led to an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Taiwan’s Chen Tzu-wei (Dacin Tigers) that gave South Korea a chance to put up five straight points and end the first half with a two-point lead (37-35).

That was where Taiwan’s competitiveness ended, however, as South Korea opened the second half with a lightning 18-4 run and eventually led by as many as 18 points midway through the third quarter.

Even though Taiwan would regroup and reduce the deficit to an even dozen by the end of the third quarter (63-51) before an all-out rally behind 14 spectacular points from Lu in the final quarter to fall within three, South Korea pulled away to leave with a win.

Failure to secure two key defensive rebounds following missed free-throws by South Korea late in the game put a damper on Taiwan’s rally in the final minute, not only giving the Koreans a fresh 24 seconds on the shooting clock, but also forfeiting an offensive possession for the home team.

Three players scored in double digits for each team, with Lu’s game-high 29 points leading the way for Taiwan, while Byun Hyun-soo’s 19 points with six rebounds, seven assists and four steals championed a resilient South Korean club that simply refused to lose after a poor tournament overall.

“Not getting the rebounds off the missed free-throws was inexcusable,” a disgusted Taiwan head coach Chung Kwang-suk said after the game. He now has the distinction of being the first Taiwan coach to finish dead last in the 30 years of Jones Cup competition.

OTHER GAMES

Australia took third place by defeating Qatar 91-90 in overtime in a hard-fought thriller that ended with a last-gasp 3-pointer from the sideline after Qatar thought they had clinched the game with a 2-pointer.

Qatar kept the lead for most of the match, but the Australians put in a committed performance that allowed them to take the game to overtime, though they were unlucky not to win in regulation with a similar shot from the left side of the court that just failed to beat the buzzer.

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