Squandering first-quarter leads as large as nine points, Taiwan slumped to a 78-56 defeat by South Korea in their second game in the 2013 East Asia Basketball Association Championship yesterday afternoon in Incheon, South Korea.
The Islanders carried their momentum from Thursday’s 76-point win over Macau into the showdown with the hosts by opening the game with a 13-4 run before ending the first quarter with a 21-15 advantage. However, it was downhill all the way after that against a tenacious South Korea squad.
Resolute defending by the hosts managed to hold the Islanders scoreless for nearly five minutes during a horrendous second quarter that saw South Korea outscore Taiwan 22-10 to claim a 37-31 lead at the half.
After a halftime talk in which coach Hsu Jin-tseh of SBL side Pure Youth Construction encouraged his players to regain their composure, Taiwan managed to show some signs of life with a perimeter attack.
However, this served only to trigger a South Korean fight back that quickly racked up a double-digit lead that the hosts never relinquished.
Four different South Korean players scored in double-figures with Heo Il-young heading the pack with 13 points and three rebounds.
Tsai Wen-cheng’s game-high 13 points was the lone highlight for an undermanned Taiwan squad that was missing several of the SBL’s top players.
Taiwan committed 23 turnovers compared with South Korea’s 18 and a 39-31 rebounding margin in favor of the hosts made it virtually impossible for the Islanders to pull off what would have been a tremendous upset victory.
Next up for Taiwan are Japan, who lost their opener to South Korea on Thursday before topping Macau 101-53 yesterday to draw level with Taiwan in Group A with a 1-1 record.
Tip-off time is scheduled for 2pm local time this afternoon.
The group winner’s will earn an automatic place in the upcoming Asian Championship in Manila in August.