Taking advantage of a strong finish, Taiwan outscored Japan by an 8-1 margin in the final three minutes for a 70-62 decision 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.
In a game where they never trailed, the hosts managed to hold off an all-out rally by the visitors that featured a 14-4 run midway through the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to only one point, with Tseng Wen-ding netting four of his team’s final eight points to keep the victory intact.
Even though Tseng did not have a big game statistically, with only eight points and nine rebounds on the night, his clutch play and leadership on the floor in the key moments of the game was undoubtedly the key to victory for Taiwan.
Also starring for the hosts was newly naturalized center Quincy Davis, who scored a game-high 18 points with a dozen boards in his first game as a Taiwanese to lift Taiwan past Japan.
With the sellout crowd on its feet, Taiwan opened the contest with a 10-0 run in the first three minutes before Japan finally scored four minutes into the game.
Sloppy ball-handling on the part of Taiwan kept Japan in the game as the home team committed an unusual six turnovers in the first quarter to settle with a 22-12 advantage.
Superior perimeter shooting, coupled with five more turnovers by Taiwan, helped Japan held the hosts to nine points in the second quarter as the visitors cut into the deficit by four to close out the first half down 31-25.
That set up a strong third quarter for Davis, who connected from close range for eight points with several nifty moves inside the paint, as Taiwan built a big enough cushion to prevent the visitors from turning the tables on them.
Taiwan Guan Hua 70, Lebanon 66
Taiwan’s second team, Guan Hua, started the tournament with a 70-66 win over Lebanon in Sinjhuang earlier yesterday afternoon, thanks to a 20-point effort by big man Liu Tsang.
Guan Hua led a recently assembled Lebanese squad from the get go through a good part of the second half before letting the visitors back into the game when Lebanon forced a tie late in the fourth.
Fortunately for the hosts, they regrouped in a hurry to skid ahead and hold off their foes in the closing minutes to pick up an important win in front of the home crowd.
In other play, it was:
‧ South Korea 80, Egypt 63
‧ Jordan 57, Iran 64