Trouble continued for Taiwan in their third contest of this year’s William Jones Cup competition as the hosts succumbed to the defending champions from Iran 75-64 at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium in Tianmu last night to drop to a 1-2 record.
Even though the outcome of the game did not go the way the home crowd wanted, Taiwan put up a good fight by keeping the deficit to a somewhat respectable level in an evenly fought second half against a superior Persian lineup.
“We really hurt ourselves by not getting back on defense quick enough and not doing a good job boxing out [Iran] in the first half,” speedy guard Chen Shih-jeh said after the game.
He could not have been more correct in pin-pointing the problem for the hosts as they fell behind by 15 points at halftime (42-27) in a game where they actually outscored Iran by four points in the second half.
Failure to get back on defense in the first half not only led to several fast-break points for Iran, it also forced Taiwan to play catchup ball sooner than they would have liked.
That meant not being able to fully execute their game plan of letting Iran scoring threat Samad Nikkhah Bahrami have his game, while shutting down the rest of the team.
Bahrami indeed had a big game with 30 points on the night, but Taiwan were not able to contain the other big Iran scorer, Hamed Afagh, who poured in 21 points to devastate the hosts.
Four different players scored in double digits for Taiwan compared with Iran’s two, with Chang Tsong-hsien, Lin “the Beast” Chih-jeh and Lu Cheng-rue racking up 12 points each.
However, that was not nearly enough to avoid the loss as Iran cruised to a 3-0 record.
Yesterday’s other results:
‧ Japan 85, Taiwan Guan-hua 50
‧ Jordan 87, Lebanon 68
‧ US 84, South Korea 75