Overcoming first-quarter deficits as large as 10 points, National Taiwan Normal University toppled Chinese Culture University in the final game of the second round of matches by an 83-77 margin at Fu Jen Catholic University in Sinjhuang on Sunday.
The victory not only extended National Taiwan Normal’s tournament record to an awesome 12-0, but also secured their status as the top seeds in the upcoming final round of matches scheduled for March.
The battle of the two previously unbeaten squads was all-Chinese Culture in the early going, with National Taiwan Normal missing their head coach Shih Ming-tsong and all-star center Wu Dai-hao, both serving a one-game suspension for misconduct during Saturday’s 92-71 win over Fu Jen.
National Taiwan Normal trailed 16-26 after the first quarter, but the pre-tournament favorites regained top form midway through the second quarter. They took it strong to the hoop against a fast-fatiguing Chinese Culture interior defense that was missing big men Wu Jien-long and Hsu Kai-jeh to injuries to take a narrow 42-39 lead at halftime.
Both teams played an evenly fought third quarter, with National Taiwan Normal hanging on to a slim lead with a balanced attack, while Chinese Culture relied heavily on a stellar effort by guard Song Yu-hsuen.
Song would leave the game with an injury in late in the third and that would prove to be the difference in the game as National Taiwan Normal held on to win it by six points.
Favored home team Fu Jen Catholic University came up with a big 69-58 win against National Kaohsiung Normal University to cap a 5-2 record and take the third-seed berth in the final round.
National Taiwan University of Arts’ 90-66 blowout win over National Taiwan University of Sports at Taoyuan on Sunday afternoon landed the artists a four-seed finish in the week-long play to round out the top four seeds.
Hsing Wu College, National Taiwan University of Sports at Taoyuan and Taipei Physical Education College all ended the seven-game second round with identical 2-5 records, but the fifth seed place went to Hsing Wu on the tiebreaker ruling. The sixth through the eighth seedings went to National Taiwan University of Sports at Taoyuan, Taipei Physical Education and National Kaohsiung respectively.