Taiwan proved no match for the US on the second day of action at the Jones Cup International Basketball Tournament, dropping a 100-77 decision to the visitors at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium in Tianmu last night to even the hosts record to 1-1.
Held scoreless for nearly two minutes against a bigger and faster US lineup, the hosts fell behind 0-4, before Lin “the Beast” Chih-jeh’s three-pointer made it 4-3 in favor of the US.
That was as close as Taiwan got against a crew of Americans who have played professionally in Asia and elsewhere, as the visitors ended the first quarter with a 21-9 advantage and led by as many as 32, before settling for a 23-point margin of victory.
Eight first-quarter turnovers by the hosts against a tenacious US defense disrupted Taiwan from following their game plan of more passing and penetration, with less hesitation and individual effort.
Against an unforgiving opposition as tough as the US that meant trouble, as the foreigners capitalized on their size advantage by dominating the inside of the paint early to wilt the Taiwan defense, before nailing perimeter shots later to enjoy a commanding 46-25 lead at halftime.
“The turnovers really hurt us in the beginning because it set us off on the wrong foot,” Lin said after the game.
He ended up with eight points and three turnovers on the night.
Even though he was not the top scorer for Taiwan, how well he fares carries tremendous weight for the team’s success because the rest of the squad look to him for leadership and confidence.
If there was one weakness about the Americans’ game following their total domination of Taiwan, it would be dismal 17-for-36 shooting from the free-throw line that kept the game from being an even bigger blowout.
Six players scored in double figures for the US, led by Jermaine Barnes’ game-high 16 points over just 18 minutes of play.
Next up for Taiwan are three-time defending champions Iran (2-0), while the US take on South Korea (2-0) in what should be a tight match late this afternoon.