Team Taiwan easily cruised past Japan in a 99-72 triumph at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night to win their opener in this year’s William Jones Cup International Basketball Tournament.
A sellout crowd of 10,000-plus cheered on the home team who humbled their rivals from the north by downing 56 points in the second half in a great offensive showing that started out rather slowly as the two teams combined for only 25 points during the first eight minutes of play.
Once past their early-game jittery, the hosts were well on their way, with forward Lu Cheng-rue nailing a pair of three-pointers to help his team take a 21-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.
After a 7-3 run by Japan, which cut the deficit to five early in the second quarter, Taiwan returned the favor by outscoring Japan 19-12 in the rest of the quarter to claim a 43-31 advantage at the half.
That was as close as Japan got as Taiwan opened the second half with a tremendous scoring blitz during which Yang Jing-min (Taiwan Beer) netted back-to-back baskets to bring the crowd to its feet.
Taiwan ended the third with 33 points to lead by more than 20 to seal the win long before the final buzzer.
“It’s a big win for us because we need all the help we can get to achieve our goals in this year’s competition,” Taiwan head coach Chou Jung-san said after the game.
His team takes on the Philippines in what should be an uphill battle for Taiwan as the Philippines pulled off an upset win over the defending champs from Iran earlier yesterday.