The Macau Black Bears almost engineered a comeback of epic proportions but Nathan Yu’s three-point attempt fell just a little bit short at the buzzer as Hong Kong Eastern held on to a 111-109 victory at the Southorn Stadium, Saturday night.
The home team looked like they were about to cruise to another easy victory against the Black Bears, similar to their last meeting. O’Darien Bassett scored on a jumper with 6:57 left in the final quarter that gave them a commanding 16-point lead, 99-83. However, the Black Bears would not let them get the win that easily. The Black Bears started with a 9-0 run, capped by a tough fadeaway jumper from Mikh McKinney to cut their deficit to seven, 99-92.
Anthony Tucker then almost single-handedly brought Macau back into the match as he scored on a triple that got them to within three, 104-101 with still 1:54 remaining in the game. Tucker caught an unlucky break as he was called for an unsportsmanlike foul, allowing Hong Kong Eastern to rebuild their lead back up to six points, 107-101, from the stripe.
The Black Bears are still down by six, 109-103 when things got crazy at the Southorn Stadium. First off Tucker hit another massive triple with 14 seconds to keep them in the game. Bassett responded with two free throws to extend their advantage, 111-106. With the Hong Kong defense focused on Tucker, Yu stepped up to drain another triple off the glass as Macau found itself down by only two points.
With three seconds remaining in the game, Yu stole the inbound pass and launched a fallaway three-point shot that could have won the game but it was not meant to be.
Hong Kong Eastern moved up in the standings with the big win as they now sit at the fourth spot at 11-8. The Black Bears fell to the seventh spot at an even 7-7.
Marcus Elliott led the home team with 34 points on 10 of 16 shooting from the field while Bassett added 30 points with nine rebounds and seven assists. Locals Jon Siu and Lee Ki chipped in a combined 29 points as they overcame a poor scoring performance from Sam Deguara who only had seven points although he grabbed 16 rebounds.
Macau had six players scoring in double-digits led by Tucker’s 33 points.
It was a highly-entertaining affair with both teams making it rain from the outside. Hong Kong Eastern made 16 of 37 three-point shots while the Black Bears were even better at 50% with 18 of 36 triples.
The win gave Hong Kong Eastern a 2-1 edge in their head-to-head matchup this season but the Black Bears will have the opportunity to even things up as they face off again on February 21 at Macau’s home-court.