Kaohsiung Aquas overwhelm Taoyuan Leopards in T1 LEAGUE
Taipei, Jan. 16 (CNA) The visiting Kaohsiung Aquas overwhelmed the Taoyuan Leopards by over 30 points in their first-ever matchup Saturday in Taiwan's professional basketball league, the T1 LEAGUE, despite the addition of two new former NBA players on the host's game roster.
The Aquas outhustled the Leopards 116-82 at Chung Yuan Christian University Gymnasium in Taoyuan, extending its winning streak to five, winning a total of nine games out of 10 and maintaining its reign at the top of the league standings, while the Leopards continued to sit at the bottom of the standings with a 1-7 record.
Just before the Leopards' losing streak lengthened out to five after its most recent defeat, the team had hit the hardwood with American professional basketball players Deyonta Davis and John Gillon on its game roster for the first time.
The addition of Davis and Gillon, who played in the NBA and the NBA G-League, respectively, meant that the Leopards went out in full force, playing four out of its five imported players in an attempt to stop its losing streak.
As the game tipped off, Leopards' captain Cheng Wei (鄭瑋) sunk a basket from beyond the arc, giving his team the lead, while energetic play from Gillon and Troy Williams, former NBA player and 2017 NBA D-League Slam Dunk Contest champion, gave the hosts a 10-4 over the Aquas within the three minutes after jump ball.
However, what originally looked like strong home court advantage quickly faded away as the Aquas fought to gain the lead 11-10 with just under seven minutes left to play in the first quarter and never looked back.
The gap widened to 39 points, 116-77 with only a minute and 25 seconds left in the game, before the Leopards managed to cut the deficit to 34 before the ending buzzer.
At the post-game press conference, Aquas head coach Brendan Joyce said his team prepared its players against the addition of Davis and Gillon to the Leopards.
"We did prepare for those players even though I know it's difficult for the team to get cohesion, but those players they brought in can score, we knew that," Joyce said. "Their situation is they got some new guys, they got to develop their cohesion and when they get their cohesion, they can upset some teams."
Gillion recorded 15 points, four assists, three rebounds, and two steals, while Davis put up 11 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, two blocks, and one assist.
Meanwhile, Leopards assistant coach Stone Han (韓逸平) said the Aquas was a strong opponent that was able to score inside the paint and also snipe from further out on the floor.
"Our heights were relatively a bit shorter so we had to guard closer inside, but they also had a lot of shooters camping from the perimeter, while their point guard was able to get the ball to the open person." Han said.
The point guard Han referred to was Aquas' Filipino-American Jason Brickman, who posted 17 points, nine assists, four rebounds, and one steal, shooting 63.6 percent from the floor, including 3-4 from beyond the arc.
Aquas forward Hu Long-mao (胡瓏貿) led all scorers with 20 points, while Aquas guard Allen Yu (于煥亞) was 5-5 on the floor and 1-2 from the free throw line to score 13 points.
The game was played behind closed doors, with no fans allowed, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak n in Taoyuan. The decision was made to protect the health and safety of players, staff, and fans, the Leopards said in a statement last week.
The Aquas will have a showdown with the Taipei-based Herobears on Jan. 23, while the Leopards will match up against the Taichung Wagor Suns on Sunday.
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