Story from FIBA Asia:
SANA’A, Yemen (21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship): Korea set the ball in motion early to take charge of the proceedings – and despite Chinese Taipei making a determined effort to cut back – went on to open their Second Round Group E campaign with a 90-99 win on Saturday.
Korea, who like their opponents, began the Second Round with a 1-1 win-loss record brought forward from the Preliminary Round, thus improved to 2-1.
Korea were ahead on the scoreboard right from the moment Jun Yl Kim drove in the lane early in the game.
Back to back three pointers interspersed with a free throw by Seonggon Moon put them ahead by a staggering 18 points with more than two minutes left in the first quarter. A position of command, Korea maintained for the remainder of the game.
Seonggon Moon succeeded in all his field attempts – thrice in three pointers and once on the paint – and fired in 11 points in the first quarter.
Moon went on and scored 19 points in the first half, before being rested for almost the entire second.
“He played his role very well. We needed him to give us a good start, which is what exactly he did,” said Korea coach Songgug Lee.
The much younger, and much taller, Seounghyun Lee held steady in inside play and he too had a 100% record in any scoring attempt in the first quarter –four times on the paint and twice from the foul-line – accounting for 10 points in the first quarter.
Seounghyun Lee eventually finished with a game-high 24 points, in a staggering 69% field record (11/16) with no long-range attempts.
“We know their style of play very well, and vice versa. We wanted to take control early, and luckily our shots went in the way we wanted,” said Songgug Lee.
“That made our lives easier for the rest of the game. But it looked much easier on the scoreboard than it did on the court,” he added.
“We hope to maintain the momentum,” Lee said looking ahead of the next game against defending champions Iran. Korea are right now riding high on 3-0 winning run.
“We were caught napping early,” rued Taipei coach Roman Huang.
“The early deficit proved a little too much. If you notice the final difference was almost half as much as we conceded in the first quarter,” Huang said.
“But I am happy we kept the pressure on them throughout and managed to cut back,” he said.
Chen Ying-chun’s 19 with a 67% success rate on the field was the highest for Taipei.
Taipei play WABA U18 Champions Lebanon on Sunday.