Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tanan Defeats SBL in Game 4, MNBA finals

Taken from:

By Dashiell Young-Saver
After a strong zone and man-to-man defensive match-up that remained close until the very end, Tanan came away with a victory on Monday night, defeating SBL by a score of 83-77 and taking a 3-1 series lead in the MNBA Finals.
O.Uuganbayar of Tanan led the team in scoring with 23 points, making some key assists, jumpers, and drives to build on Tanan’s one point lead coming out of the third quarter. Overall, however, Tanan’s offense was a team effort, as five of its players finished with scoring in the double-digits.

“We were able to get a lot of fastbreak points, which set up our mid-range jump shots,” said O.Uuganbayar after the game. “Now our defense is the key to closing out the series.”

After a competitive contest the previous night, many expected both teams to start out a little sluggish – especially Tanan, which plays its starters more heavily than SBL and whose experienced point guard has been out with a shoulder injury since game one. But they were able to get ahead with fast breaks led by Antonio Jones, which allowed Ts.Azbayar to sink five early jump shots in the first quarter.
“(Back-to-back games) kind of messes with our legs a little bit,” said Jones, who played for most of the match. “After the first game, you got to try to get rest and just get ready for the next game.”
“The forwards did a great job of getting inside, so they could make outside passes to leave me open to shoot the ball,” said Ts.Azbayar. He finished the game with 16 points.
However, SBL was able to mount a comeback in the second quarter by attacking Tanan’s 2-3 zone, refusing to settle for outside shots, as it did to start off the game. Chris Lawson executed on his drives and was able to make it to the foul line often. In addition, the team stepped up the intensity of its man-to-man coverage, only allowingsix points in the quarter. It took the lead at the half, 36-27.
“I was trying to break the zone and get easy lay-ups and keep on kicking it out for three’s,” said Lawson. “We just have to defend at the right time and make the right decisions. When it comes down to it, we have to make sure we get good shots.”
In the second half, Tanan’s interior defense gained the upper-hand. Freddie Woods, who sat for much of the second quarter, had seven blocks at the center position, as the team slowly took the lead by forcing some turnovers. It eventually iced the game with two Antonio Jones free throws with 22 seconds left to play.
Now, SBL is looking at three games it has to win in order keep its championship hopes alive. Many of its players echoed one another after the game, saying they have to reduce turnovers and refine their defensive play in practices going forward.
“We got to play as hard as we can,” said Marcus Hammonds, who led SBL in scoring.“We got to do better on defense and get back on fast breaks. That’s basically it – we got to play better ‘D.’”
Game five of the MNBA Finals will be played at 7 pm tonight.
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