Without their leading scorer in Trevon Hughes, the Saigon Heat banked on their pure shooter in Murphy Burnatowski to tow them into a 105-86 victory against the winless Wolf Warriors, Thursday night at the Doumen Gymnasium in Zhuhai, China.
Burnatowski played all 40 minutes and finished the game with 35 points on 7 of 15 shooting from the three-point range. He also added eight rebounds, six assists, and two steals to his tally while Kyle Barone came up with another big double-double with 28 points and 17 rebounds.
The Heat could not shake off the Wolf Warriors in the first half of the game. Even though they went on a 10-0 start in the first quarter, the home squad tied the count at 20-all after the first 10 minutes.
Three-point shooting heated up in the second period with Dinh Tahn Sang, Tran Dang Khoa, and and Burnatowski converting for Saigon and Li Jun, Cris Shentu, and Jenning Leung doing it for the Wolf Warriors who only found themselves down by six points, 51-45, at the half.
However, the home team could not hang on to Saigon for long as Burnatowski nailed four triples in the third period to break the game wide open as they led by as much as 16 points. Late triples from Yan Xu and Mike Bell allowed the Wolf Warriors to inch within nine, 80-71, heading into the fourth.
Baron and Burnatowski then combined to score 17 points in the final period to keep the Wolf Warriors winless in their first eight games while Saigon now has five wins against two defeats.
Local Chris Dierker had a solid outing for the Heat with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists, while shooting 8 of 12 from the field. Their replacement import DeAngelo Hamilton chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds.
On the other side, Bell led the charge with 24 points while Eric Tisby had 11 markers on a sordid 4 of 21 shooting from the field. Eddy Curry only finished with four points, only playing 12 minutes and taking two attempts.