The Saigon Heat returned to the winning column, as they defended home court in the CIS Arena with a 65-60 win over the Westports Malaysia Dragons.
Losers of two straight games, the Heat were able to keep the Dragons at bay, trailing for majority of the contest and holding strong after a late rally by the Dragons. Saigon was able to limit the Malaysia-based to only 31% shooting, which was key in sealing the victory.
Leading the way for the Heat was World Import Kyle Barone, who notched a double-double with 20 points, 19 rebounds and a block. New World Import De Angelo Hamilton made his debut for the Heat with 12 points and 11 rebounds in 29 minutes of action. With Trevon Hughes placed on the injured list, Hamilton definitely gave a huge boost to the team.
Winston Shepard topscored for the Dragons with 22 points and also chipped in 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. However the missing piece of the puzzle was Chris Eversley, as he struggled to find his shot all game long. After scoring 30 points in the win against the Wolf Warriors, the veteran was only able to account for 9 points on 3/11 shooting.
The Heat broke open what was a close game in the first quarter, going on a 12-0 run to bridge the end of the second quarter and start of the 3rd period. As result, they enjoyed a double-digit advantage 39-25 at the 7:05 mark of the 3rd period.
The Dragons were unable to break through until the fourth quarter, and that was with the Heat up 15 points with 6:31 left in the game, threatening to pull away for good. However Eversley came alive, and together with Shepard and local scorer Shee Fai Loh, the Dragons roared back with a 14-0 run, cutting the deficit to only 1 point with 2:52 left in the game.
But the Heat learned from their mistakes and displayed poise down the stretch. Led by Hamilton’s two clutch baskets, Saigon was able to celebrate with their home crowd, winning the hard fought victory.
With the win, Saigon goes up to 4-2 in the standings, good for 5th place, while the Dragons fall to 1-2 in 7th place. They will go on the road next to face the winless Wolf Warriors on December 13, while the Heat host the Singapore Slingers on December 16.