Saturday, August 30, 2003

WUG – Taiwan lost to Japan in heartbreaker

Taiwan could not stop the furious rally by Japan and lost in overtime, 105-112, in the final ranking game (15th-16th) of the 2003 World University Games. Chang Chih-feng and Chen Hsin-an had 37 and 35 points respectively in the heartbreaking loss.

Led by Chang Chih-feng’s four three-pointers, Taiwan jumped to an early lead in the first quarter, leading by as many as 19 points. But the Japanese controlled the boards and came back.

Taiwan still led by five with 1:44 remaining in the game, but Japan made three consecutive three-pointers to pull ahead by two. Wu Yang-huei’s two free-throws with 4 seconds left leveled the score at 94-94. The game went into overtime as Japan failed to make the desperation shot.

Japan quickly decided the outcome in the extra session after a 7-0 run. Taiwan settled for the 16th-place in their debut in the WUG, while Japan was ranked 15th. Taiwan was 2-4 in six games.

Chen Hsin-an scored 35 points for the second straight game, shooting an astonishing 13-for-15 from the two-point range but only 1-for-9 from 3-PT and 6-of-8 from the charity stripe. Chang Chih-feng was even more eye-catching with his 37 points outburst, including 8 three-pointers.

For the entire tournament, Taiwan counted on Chen and Chang. Chen Hsin-an averaged 22 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists while Chang averaged 19.2 points and 4.2 rebounds. Chen and Chang both ranked in the top six in tournament scoring.

Ironically, both Chen and Chang are banned from the national team play this year by the CTBA (Chinese Taipei Basketball Association) – Chen for skipping the Asian Games last year because of participation in the Sacramento Kings training camp, Chang for skipping NT training camp while playing for a Div-II team in China.

With NT’s shaky outside shooting, they can definitely use the perimeter scoring of Chen and Chang. Too bad they can’t play for the national team in Harbin (Asian Championship).