Yen Chen-hong’s clutch jumper with under two minutes to play in the game rallied the Taiwan Mobile Leopards from behind to top the favored Yulon Luxgens 73-69 at the Taipei County Gymnasium in Sinjhuang yesterday afternoon.
The win not only kept the Leopards’ slim postseason hopes alive, but also dealt the slumping Luxgens their fourth loss in five chances, mixing up the once-clear postseason seeding a total toss-up with the second-place spot up for grabs.
What should have been a relatively easy win for the Luxgens saw the Leopards opene the contest with a surprising 20-16 lead after the opening quarter with forward Alexus Foyle and guard Wu Yong-ren championing the Leopard offense.
The Luxgens cleaned up their sloppy act in the second quarter, however, with Yang Tseh-yi nailing a pair of three-pointers in a 20-14 run to finish the first half slightly ahead at 36-34.
Yulon added to their lead by three by the end of the third with Tseng Wen-ding and Yang picking up the scoring slack in what appeared to be an apparent win for the three-time champs.
That would not be the case as the resilient Leopards held their grounds while chipping away at the Luxgens’ lead to tie the game up at 69-all to set the stage for Yen’s late-game heroics.
Yang had a chance to put the Luxgens ahead with a wide-open three-point attempt on the Luxgens’ ensuing possession following Yen’s go-ahead jumper, but failed to connect, which gave the ball back to the Leopards.
The Leopards then finished out strong by holding the Luxgens scoreless the rest of the way to keep the victory intact.
Three players scored in double-digits for the Luxgens compared with the Leopards’ tandem of Foyle and Wu.
But with the game on the line, it was the Leopards that made the most of their opportunities as they finally turned the tide against the Luxgens to garner their first win against their nemeses in four tries this season.
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