Marais-less LG falls victim to rebounding disadvantage

Professional basketball’s Anyang Jungkwanjang ace Park Ji-hoon saved his team from tying the franchise record of eight consecutive losses, which he set with KGC in 2013. He scored a reverse layup over Juan Tello (Changwon LG) at the end of the fourth quarter and roared to celebrate the victory.

Chung snapped a seven-game losing streak with an 84-80 home win over LG in the 2023-24 Korean Professional Basketball League regular season at Anyang Gymnasium on Feb. 2. The team dominated the rebounding battle, 39-28, to pull off the upset in the first game of the new year.

Five players scored in double figures, led by Park Ji-hoon, who poured in a team-high 24 points. Jung Hyo-geun added 14 points and eight rebounds, Lee Jong-hyun finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds, and Robert Carter (16 points, nine rebounds) and Choi Sung-won (10 points) provided supporting fire.

Head coach Kim Sang-sik said after the game, “Park Ji-hoon has been playing well during the losing streak, so we had our heads down. “I was worried that he would give up when we were up by more than 10 points, but Jung Hyo-geun and Lee Jong-hyun did a great job and we were able to win.”

LG was unable to fill the void left by center Asem Marei’s knee injury. Yang Hong-seok scored 21 points and Tello finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but they were outrebounded by 15 offensive rebounds. LG head coach Cho Sang-hyun said, “I don’t have much to say about the game. “We didn’t box out,” he said, “and we made a lot of mistakes by attacking too much at key moments. I want the players to take responsibility.”

LG opened the scoring in the first half with Tello leading the offense. On the other hand, Jeong Kwan-jang made up for Carter’s missed field goal with an offensive rebound by Lee Jong-hyun off the bench. After Lee Jae-do and Yoo Yoo-sang missed shots, Jeong Kwan-jang and Lee Jong-hyun attacked the basket and Carter joined the scoring streak, giving LG a 16-12 lead in the first quarter.

Yang Hong-seok hit LG’s first three-pointer of the game, followed by back-to-back baskets. Jung Hyo-geun and Carter used their height advantage to score, but Gutang lost the paint zone to a foul and missed free throws. Yang Hong-seok took a pass from Lee Kwan-hee to turn it around, and Jung In-duk hit a three-pointer to end the half with a six-point lead.

Tello opened the second half with a corner three, but LG answered with a layup from Lee Jae-do. Park Ji-hoon countered with a fast break on the right side, but Choi Sung-won and Park missed three-pointers. In response, Lee Jong-hyun made a basket and Bae Byeong-joon made a layup, but they couldn’t stop Yang Hong-seok, who drove from the inside out, and the score remained 10 points in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Lee Jong-hyun, Choi Sung-won, and Park Ji-hoon hit consecutive outside shots to even the score. LG responded with a corner three from Lee Jae-do and then Gutang drove under an empty basket and bombed the rim for a dunk. However, ace Park Ji-hoon made a fast break with a minute left in the game to beat Lee Jae-do and Tello. Jung Kwan-jang made the final defense to end the long losing streak.

Goyang Sono pulled off an upset to beat league leader Wonju DB 94-88 at Wonju Gymnasium. Chinanu Onuaku led the way with 20 points and 15 rebounds, while Han Ho-bin, Kim Kang-min (16 points) and Kim Min-wook (14 points) hit four 3-pointers apiece.

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