Wu Chih-hsiang’s pair of free throws with less than 12 seconds remaining gave National Taiwan University of Physical Education and Sports a 66-62 lead, and they held on to defeat Chinese Culture University 67-62 in the title game at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night to win the holy grail in college hoops.
The dark horse of this year’s final four, National Taiwan Physical Education proved their success was no fluke, following up their 84-71 trouncing of perennial powerhouse National Taiwan Normal University on Saturday night with another solid triumph over Chinese Culture to close out their season on a storybook ending with the school’s first-ever title.
“We have been on a mission to prove everyone wrong from the start and I am so glad we did it,” National Taiwan Physical Education head coach Mai Tsai-chen said.
It has been 18 years since his team made it into the title game, with all four of their previous appearances ending in bitter defeat.
National Taiwan Physical Education opened the contest with a 16-11 lead after one quarter of play and added six to their lead to close out the first half with a 35-24 cushion.
However, Chinese Culture fought back with a strong third to pull within three at the start of the fourth quarter.
That was as close as they got, as National Taiwan Physical Education widened their lead to eight with four minutes to go and held off Chinese Culture in the final minute to garner the victory.
National Taiwan Normal University 78, I-Shou University 68
In the battle for the bronze, National Taiwan Normal University vented their frustration for losing in Saturday night’s semi-final against National Taiwan Sport University by topping Kaohsiung’s I-Shou University in overtime in Sinjhuang last night.
Favored to win it all this season, the future educators were off to a great start against I-Shou, who had fallen short in their first final four appearance in a tough loss to Chinese Culture University the night before, as they took a double-digit lead in the first quarter and kept the advantage to 15 at the half.
I-Shou regained their composure by chipping away at the deficit in the second half. They eventually tied the game at 64-all on Chen Yo-hsu’s field goal with 3.8 seconds remaining in the game to send it into overtime.
That was the extent I-Shou managed to hang with National Taiwan Normal as the future teachers rolled off an 8-0 run in the extra session to surprise I-Shou.
They held the southerners scoreless for more than three minutes to run away with the 10-point victory.