The Dacin Tigers pulled off an improbable 89-78 win over the heavily favored Taiwan Mobile Cloud Leopards at the Hsinchu Municipal Gymnasium last night by overcoming a double-digit deficit in the second half.
The win not only nipped a team-worst five-game slide for the Tigers, which had many wondering if skipper Hsu Chih-chao would keep his job after this season, but also avenged a pair of tough losses by the Tigers to the Leopards in their previous meetings.
Things did not look positive early on for the Tigers, as the Leopards opened the game with a 9-2 run on the merit of an inside attack that featured 2.18m center Luke Nevill of Australia.
However, the Tigers regained their composure in a hurry with a 9-0 run of their own, featuring three three-pointers late in the first to claim a surprising 19-18 advantage by the end of the quarter.
After the two squads traded a pair of baskets to start the second quarter, the Leopards managed to roll off a 17-7 run over the next six minutes, highlighted by a three-point play the old-fashion way by Nevill, to lead by as many as 13 points before settling for a 42-31 margin at the half.
Trailing by 11, the streaky Tigers came out of the halftime intermission on fire by outscoring the Leopards 10-2 over a 90-second stretch to erase most of the deficit. That was the spark they needed to pick apart the Leopards defense with 29 points in the third period to attain a 60-55 lead.
Taiwan Mobile turned their defensive effort up a notch at the start of the fourth quarter, but it was a futile effort against the red-hot shooting of the Tigers, who made an outstanding 11-for-18 from the field, including five from downtown to deny the Leopards any chance of a comeback.
In other play, it was:
‧ Kinmen Liquor 74,
Bank of Taiwan 58