Story and photos by Low Zheng Yu/Red Sports
NTU The Wave, Friday, September 29, 2017 — Nanyang Technological University (NTU) rallied late in the game to defeat Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) 72-62 in the Singapore University Games Basketball Championship.
With the spots for final hanging in the balance, both teams came out to play. However, it was SIM who hustled and played harder in the first quarter. They were off to a strong start with Bryan Gregory Kor (SIM #11) and Gary Yeo (SIM #14) driving and making several plays to keep SIM in front.
Despite that, NTU were not about to give up the home-court advantage which they had and fought back with simple plays. However, despite good plays, their shots were not falling.
Both SIM and NTU were undefeated with identical 3-0 win-loss records entering this game but it was SIM who asserted dominance on the home court of NTU in the first quarter to lead 13-10.
SIM continued to play well in the second but things took a turn two minutes into the quarter when Scott James Driscoll (SIM #21) sprained his ankle going after an offensive board. This was a blow to SIM as Scott (SIM #21) provided an interior presence on both ends of the floor.
Despite that, SIM pressed on and maintained their lead. However, NTU were not about to give up as well. Sean Hoo (NTU #30) was hot from range and knocked down several three-point shots all game long to keep NTU within striking distance.
“We took advantage of Russel who was in the middle and drew all the attention to him which gave me open shots at the perimeter,” said Sean (NTU #30). “We attacked quick and I spaced out. My teammates gave me the ball where I needed and where I like to shoot and I was in rhythm. What I’ve been saying all along is the same thing, as long as my teammates give me the ball at where I like it and where I needed it and I make it, the credit goes to them. It’s all them.”
While SIM stayed ahead, it was evident that without their big man Scott (SIM #21) in the middle, they were having problems dealing with Russel Loh (NTU #32). Russel (NTU #32) was able to make use of his size and height advantage to score and set up open shots for his teammates.
Other than that, the NTU bench also cheered and helped point out lapses in defense to keep the players on court alert. This helped the players on the floor to clamp down on the defensive end and prevented SIM from scoring easily. Defensively, they limited SIM to 10 points in the fourth while scoring 21 points of their own.
The captains, Bryan Wong (NTU #9) and Seah Chin Seng (NTU #24), were heartened by the efforts of their bench. “Our bench played a huge role. When we are on defense, the bench helped cheer which distracted the SIM players,” said Chin Seng (NTU #24).
Bryan (NTU #9) added, “The team spirit from the bench was good as well. We played quite badly at the start, but we were encouraging of each other and we were able to calm down and pick up from there.”
The NTU players were able to capitalize on their shots in the fourth and eventually took the game 72-62.
Captain Kan Wei Huat (NTU #8) said, “We had lots of players that can play, our rotation was deep and we eventually tired SIM out and outlasted them.”
With this victory, NTU are through to the final regardless of the results of their next game against Singapore Institute of Technology. On the other hand, SIM will face National University of Singapore next and will have to win to secure the remaining spot in the final.
Captain Sean Hoo (NTU #30) commented, “I think our squad is one of the deepest squad that we had in quite some time. Throughout this season so far, we have been trusting each other a bit more which is good. So I just hope that we keep that up, we play hard, play together as a team. We defend hard, hustle hard, play together. I think if we do that, good things will happen.”
Scoring by Quarters
NTU vs SIM
1st Q: 10-13
2nd Q: 17-19 (27-32)
3rd Q: 24-20 (51-52)
4th Q: 21-10 (72-62)
Hoo Kang, Sean (#30) – 12 pts
Loh Zhenqiang Russel (#32) – 11 pts
Tok Jian Sheng (#0) – 10 pts
Bryan Gregory Kor Chong Yang (#11) – 16 pts
Ng Kian Hao (#27) – 15 pts
Tok Jian Sheng (#0), Jabez Su Ming Rong (#3), Chia Zao Liang Lyon (#4), Chun Wang Xun (#6), Kan Wei Huat (#8), Wong Liang Hao Brian (#9), Ronald Yip Lang Jing (#11), Chia Wen Han (#12), Tan Zhi Sen (#14), Seah Chin Seng (#24), Lim Yong Cheng, Justin (#25), Liau Ming Shun (#27), Hoo Kang, Sean (#30), Loh Zhenqiang Russel (#32), Tan Bo Yao (#33)
Tan Baiyong (#1), Loh You Ren (#5), Loh Yi Ren (#7), Cheong Wei Liang (#8), Wang Liang Rong (#9), Jovan Lee (#10), Bryan Gregory Kor Chong Yang (#11), Gary Yeo Jun Yuan (#14), Scott James Driscoll (#21), Ng Kian Hao (#27), Ivan Chua Hien Yang (#28), Lim Jeric (#30), Carlo (#34), Sherman Lim Jian Hao (#36), Andy Ho Lian Jie (#37)
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