Ryukyu downs Guangzhou for Terrific 12 title
MACAU—Ryukyu made quite a splash in Macau after taking down Guangzhou, 85-76, for the Asia League The Terrific 12 championship Sunday at Studio City Events Center.
The Golden Kings’ nine-point win over the Long Lions was the first time the whole tournament that their winning margin fell below 15 points after they picked apart their first three opponents by an average of 20.3 points.
Although Ryukyu eventually managed to take the win in a sizeable way, it wasn’t the case in the latter of the stages of the fourth when it was tied at 70 with 4:49 remaining.
The two teams exchanged 10-0 runs to get to the stalemate but Ryuichi Kishimoto knocked down a cold-blooded triple for the Golden Kings’ 73-70 lead 45 seconds after the tie.
Ryukyu head coach Norio Sassa said his team struggled first for some part of the fourth quarter after Guangzhou employed a zone defense that momentarily nullified big men Josh Scott and Jeff Ayres.
That was until Kishimoto started hitting threes.
“During the fourth quarter we struggled a little bit and I knew our offense wasn’t working well,” said Sassa. “So I told my players something but Ryuichi has his own mind and he got his own shot so liked the situation.”
Kishimoto then followed it up with another long ball from the left wing to put Ryukyu up 78-72 with 1:17 left.
Captain Kishimoto eventually put up 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting from deep while Josh Scott also had 21 points with 16 rebounds.
Kyle Fogg lit up for the Long Lions with 40 points but had little support from his teammates with Marreese Speights hitting blanks for nine points on 2-of-15 shooting.
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