Outplayed by South Korea in every facet of the game, Taiwan fell short by a ton in an 82-61 final to lose the second game of the second round of this year’s FIBA Asia Championship at the Wuhan Sports Complex in Wuhan, China, late yesterday afternoon.
Despite an auspicious start that saw Taiwan take a surprising 20-16 lead late in the opening quarter against their archrivals from the north, the game quickly swung in favor of South Korea by the start of the second quarter, with Yang Dong-geun and Moon Tae-jong combining for 10 of the next 15 points in a overwhelming 15-2 run to set Taiwan on their heels.
Taiwan regained their composure by attacking the South Korea interior defense, with Wu Tai-hao, Tseng Wen-ting and Chen Hsin-an teaming up to score six unanswered points to pull within seven of South Korea (28-35) with under four minutes remaining in the first half.
That was as close as they got, as South Korea managed to close out the half with a rally-killing 8-4 run of their own to maintain a double-digit advantage (43-32) at the half.
Trouble continued for Taiwan in the second half, with South Korea constantly changing their defensive scheme from a man-to-man coverage to a matchup-zone to confuse the Taiwanese offense, which proved effective as it held Taiwan to just eight points in the third quarter.
The confusion on offense also hurt Taiwan defensively, as they seemed to fall short against a versatile South Korea attack on every defensive stance that dominated, with Moon converting from the perimeters and veteran big man Kim Joo-sung finding the opening with several nifty passes that led to easy points to give South Korea their biggest lead of 64-38 in the closing minutes of the quarter.
With the outcome of the game already determined, Taiwan skipper Chou Jung-san opted to go with his bench for the remainder of the contest to give his reserve players some floor time, running out the clock in the eventual blowout loss.
Three players scored in double-digits for Taiwan, led by Wu’s team-high 15, with Tseng and Chen contributing 13 and 10 points respectively.
As for South Korea, Cho Sung-min’s game-high 19 with three three-pointers led a foursome of double-digit scorers that pillared a balanced attack too powerful for Taiwan.
Next up for Taiwan is a feisty Malaysian squad that edged past Uzbekistan yesterday to win their first game in the second round.
It is a game that Taiwan expect to win, as they match up better against Malaysia in every position. Tipoff is scheduled for 11am at the Wuhan Sports Complex.