The Taiwan Mobile Cloud Leopards burst into the new year with a 74-69 victory over Taiwan Beer at the Sinjhuang Sports Complex in New Taipei City yesterday afternoon to improve to 11-6 for the season.
Luke Nevill of Australia extended his recent double-double streak to four-straight games with 24 points and 16 rebounds, despite allowing counterpart Patrick O’Bryant of Taiwan Beer to rack up a game-high 26 points with a dozen boards.
“Nevill’s presence inside the paint took Taiwan Beer’s transition game out of their attack, which gave us the advantage on defense,” Leopards skipper Cheng Chih-lung said after the game, referring to the Australian’s ability to keep O’Bryant occupied long enough to take away his quick outlet pass following a missed shot to initiate Taiwan Beer’s fast break offense.
With O’Bryant doing most of the work on offense, the Brew Crew failed to find another consistent scoring source, with Tso Tsong-kai and Lu Chi-min the team’s other double-digit scorers, making it much easier for the Leopards to defend.
A sloppy start by the Leopards spotted Taiwan Beer a 19-12 lead after one quarter of play, but the slow-warming offense more than made up for their early flaws by netting 20 to Taiwan Beer’s 17 in the second quarter to reduce the deficit to four (36-32) at the half, before erupting for 25 points in the third to claim a six-point lead by the end of the third.
That made the difference in the game as the Leopards found their comfort zone in the fourth, with Nevill and guard Wu Yong-ren combining for seven of their 17 points in the quarter to fend off a comeback attempt by Taiwan Beer and seal the win.
KINMEN LIQUOR 74, TIGERS 65
Kinmen Liquor downed the Dacin Tigers in the second contest in Sinjhuang last night to leave their season series mark against the Tigers at a perfect 3-0.
Fresh off a lopsided defeat at the hands of Pure Youth Construction the night before, the Distillers appeared flat in the beginning, trailing the Cats by four in the opening frame and being forced to play catch-up through the first three quarters.
However, with the game on the line, hired gun Aaron Pettway rose to the occasion by attacking the basket with several strong moves inside the paint to lift Kinmen past their foes.
LUXGENS 72, PURE YOUTH 76
Pure Youth Construction won their second game in as many days in the opening weekend of the new year by topping the Yulon Luxgens in the nightcap in Sinjhuang to run their league-leading mark to 13-3.