Overcoming third-quarter deficits as large as 20 points, top-ranked Pure Youth Construction poured in 25 points in the decisive fourth quarter to escape with a 78-77 win over Bank of Taiwan at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night.
Quincy Davis’ clutch put-back basket with 4.6 seconds remaining turned a one-point deficit into a 78-77 lead as the Builders held on to grab a thrilling victory.
What should have been a double-digit win for the two-time defending champions against the last-placed Bankers turned into an uphill battle from the get-go as the Bankers surprised everyone with a 25-point first quarter that featured five three-pointers, including Kao Chien-yi’s buzzer-beating three, to lead Pure Youth 25-16.
Bank of Taiwan would follow their tremendous first quarter with an even more impressive 27-point second to close out the first half with a 52-35 advantage.
First-half hero Liam McMorrow, who led all scorers with 14 points at the halfway stage, managed to knock down two more baskets and grabbed five more rebounds in the third quarter against the rallying Builders to keep the Bankers’ lead at 14 heading into the fourth.
However, the tide was clearly turning in the Builders’ favor as they went to a pressure defense that forced nine turnovers off the Bankers and drew a fifth foul on McMorrow early in the fourth to bring them back to within two and eventually tie the game 74-74 with 2 minutes, 23 seconds to play.
After each side missed a pair of free throws over the next two minutes of play, it was Davis’ two free throws with 26 seconds remaining that put the Builders ahead 76-74.
Bank of Taiwan were able to counter with a go-ahead three-pointer from Chang Bo-sheng that made it 77-76 and set up what ended up being Davis’ game-clincher.
Failure to keep McMorrow in the game ultimately cost the Bankers as McMorrow’s absence in the fourth gave the Builders the chance to attack the inside of the paint, resulting in eight points and 11 rebounds from Davis in the fourth quarter alone. Had McMorrow been in the game for just three more minutes the outcome might have been different.
KINMEN 79, TAIWAN BEER 68
Kinmen Kaoliang pulled off a minor upset win over Taiwan Beer in the second game in Sinjhuang last night.
Yang Che-yi’s team-high 24 points led a foursome of double-digit scorers for the Distillers, who led from start to finish in a game that was dominated by the best from Kinmen.