Unable to shut down Lebanon’s deadly perimeter game, Taiwan lost 63-83 at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City last night to settle with a 2-1 record three games into this year’s William Jones Cup International Basketball Tournament.
With the crowd on its feet in anticipation of seeing the home team claim a third straight win following a valiant victory over the US on Sunday, Taiwan found themselves in unfamiliar territory as they trailed the visitors for a good part of the opening quarter. However, a 5-0 run helped salvage a 19-17 lead.
That was as close as the Islanders got against a tenacious Lebanese attack that shot nearly 50 percent from the field (9-for-19) in the second quarter to outscore the hosts 23-8 and close out the first half with a surprising 40-27 advantage.
After five quick points in the first minutes of the third quarter reduced the deficit to 10 for Taiwan, Lebanon promptly went on a 10-0 run, with Fadi El Khatib and Mohamad Ibrahim leading the way, to claim a game-high 20-point advantage.
Even though Taiwan pounded the ball inside the paint, with Quincy Davis making several shots from close range for 15 of his game-high 23 points, it was not enough to turn the tide. The visitors continued to convert from the perimeter in one of the best shooting efforts of the tournament thus far to keep the cushion well over 10 points the rest of the way.
Failure to guard against the Lebanese perimeter game in the second half proved costly as the Taiwanese defenders seemed to constantly be one step behind their opponents.
Timidness in their transition game, especially at critical junctures in the third quarter, cost Taiwan at least eight points that might have made a difference to the outcome.
The loss exposed the weaknesses that coach Hsu Jin-tseh’s crew still possess as they look to fine tune their game for the Asian Championship next month.
He was also missing the services of team captain Lin “the Beast” Chih-jeh who did not dress for the game for unspecified reasons.
IRAN 77, TAIWAN GUAN HUA 64
Team Guan Hua of Taiwan hung tough with a bigger Iranian squad for nearly three quarters before faltering in a dismal fourth to lose by a 77-64 margin in Sinjhuang yesterday afternoon.
The loss set the Islanders back to a 1-2 mark for the tournament while the Iran remained unbeaten at 2-0.
‧ Egypt 64, Japan 59
‧ South Korea 85, US 79