Top-seeded National Kaohsiung Normal University held off a late-game rally by Changhua’s Mingdao University by sinking a pair of free throws by Wang Tzu-kang to escape with a 74-71 win in the first semi-final of the annual University Basketball Association (UBA) tournament at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night.
The win not only upped the future educators of the south’s post-season mark to a stunning 9-1, but also paved the way into the title game for them for the first time in their history.
What should have been an easy win for National Kaohsiung Normal on paper against sixth-seeded Mingdao was anything but easy, as their lone loss in the post-season had come at the hands of Mingdao.
And Mingdao looked well on their way to make it two wins in a row in the early going by jumping to a 21-17 lead after one quarter of play.
However, National Kaohsiung Normal returned the favor by holding Mingdao to an even dozen in the second quarter while netting 19 points of their own to end the first half with a 36-33 advantage.
National Kaohsiung Normal managed to add to their margin by two in an evenly fought third, before Mingdao capitalized on a couple of mistakes by National Kaohsiung Normal to pull within two at 66-64 with two minutes remaining in the game.
That was as close as they got as National Kaohsiung Normal team captain Lu Chi-er was fouled on a made basket to complete a three-point play the old-fashioned way to make it 72-66 with under a minute to play.
Mingdao’s Lee Chi-wei was able to score from downtown to half the deficit with 11 ticks on the game clock that made it a one-possession game, only to see Wang nailed a pair of free throws that sealed the deal.
A superior rebounding effort by National Kaohsiung Normal was the difference in the game as they out-rebounded Mingdao 56-38, with 23 of the 56 coming off the offensive glass.
“Rebounding was the key to our win today,” Lu said after the game.
His team awaited the winner of the late semi-final contest between New Taipei City's National Taiwan University of Arts and New Taipei City’s Fu Jen Catholic University.
NTU OF ARTS 74, FU JEN CATHOLIC 69
National Taiwan University of Arts won their second game in as many days in the other semifinal game by topping Fu Jen Catholic University 74-69 at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex last night.