Lin “the Beast” Chih-jeh’s go-ahead basket off a fierce drive to the hoop with seven seconds left in the game gave Taiwan a 90-89 lead over Team Guan Hua as the national team went on to win by the same score at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night to improve to 4-1.
The Taiwanese team captain proved his worth as he netted 15 of his team-high 24 points in a decisive fourth to lift the national team past their Taiwanese brethrens in one of their closest Jones Cup matches in recent years.
The win not only spared Taiwan what would have been an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the “second team,” it also kept the hosts in contention as they look to finish off the tournament strong with three tough matches to go.
“We knew it would be tough for us and the result definitely showed that,” Taiwanese head coach Hsu Jin-tseh said.
He nearly got bested by Guan Hua for sitting out his top two centers Tseng Wen-ding and Quincy Davis in what many thought would be an easy win.
Guan Hua surprised all by taking a 16-13 lead after one quarter of play and led it 42-41 at the half before building a 70-65 advantage through the third quarter.
After Liu Cheng’s three-pointer gave Guan Hua a 79-72 lead with less than five minutes remaining, the Beast took control of the game and scored the 15 points needed to secure the win.
USA 88, EGYPT 83
Team USA needed a strong fourth quarter to fend off a tough Egyptian squad in the first game in Sinjhuang yesterday afternoon.
What should have been a relatively easy win for the Americans turned into a dog fight as Egypt outscored their counterparts in the second quarter 25-to-20 to force a 50-all draw at the half and hung with the Americans in an evenly fought third before succumbing in the fourth.
SOUTH KOREA 67, JORDAN 57
South Korea bounced back from a tough loss to Iran the night before with a win over Jordan to improve to 5-1 for the tournament.
After allowing South Korea to take an early 18-6 lead, Jordan quickly found their range as they played the favorites shoulder-to-shoulder the rest of the way.
IRAN 60, JAPAN 55
Winless Japan continued their struggle in this year’s competition by dropping a 60-55 decision to unbeaten Iran last night.
Skipper Mehmed Becirovic did not have top shooter Mohammad Samad Nikkhah Bahrami’s services for the game due to injury.