Taiwan made it two wins in a row at this year’s East Asia Basketball Championship by downing Mongolia 85-69 at the Olympic Sports Center in Nanjing, China, yesterday afternoon to close out the group stage with a perfect 2-0 record.
The win not only gave Taiwan a first-place finish in Group B to take them into tomorrow’s semi-final round, but more importantly, it clinched them a spot in the upcoming FIBA Asia Championship in Wuhan, China, as the top-three finishers (excluding China) gain automatic entry to compete against Asia’s top squads.
What should have been an easy victory over Mongolia turned into a struggle early in the game as Taiwan committed several sloppy turnovers on offense, giving the opposition the opportunity to take a surprising 12-4 lead.
Mongolia claimed a double-digit advantage later in the opening frame, with sharp shooter Sanchir Tungalag connecting from the perimeter, before an injury took him out of the lineup and gave Taiwan a chance to catch up.
That was the break that turned the tables as Taiwan quickly closed the gap to finish out the quarter trailing 30-25.
After a 12-2 run by Taiwan to to take a 37-32 lead in the second quarter, the momentum swung in favor of Mongolia once again as Tungalag returned to help his team claim a 46-43 lead at the half.
That was the biggest lead Mongolia could muster in the second half as Taiwan opened the third quarter outscoring their opponents 12-9 run to tie the game at 55-all and followed with a 6-2 spurt to take the lead for good in the eventual blowout.
Four different players scored in double-digits for Taiwan with Chien Jia-hong (Pure Youth Construction), Su Hsiang-yi (Taiwan Mobile Leopards) and Lu Cheng-rue (Yulon Luxgens) scoring 13 apiece to lead the attack.
Next up for Taiwan is the loser in today’s Group A contest between South Korea and the hosts from China, which is scheduled to tipoff at 4pm this afternoon.