It was a game you wouldn’t have known if half the free throws had gone in. The Seoul Samsung Thunders were left in tears after a poor free throw shooting performance.

The team lost 85-98 to the Busan KCC Aegis in the 2023-2024 Jungkwanjang Professional Basketball League away game at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Sajik Indoor Gymnasium in Busan.

With the loss, Samsung failed to continue its winning streak and is now 13-38 on the season (0.255 winning percentage). With a three-game gap over ninth-place Anyang Jeonggwanjang, the team’s hopes for the title are slipping away.

Samsung had good memories against KCC. The last time the two teams met, they came away with a close win. Samsung defeated KCC 97-88 in double overtime in a home game at Jamsil Indoor Gymnasium in Seoul on March 4. Led by Kofi Coburn’s 20 points and 20 rebounds, Samsung won its first back-to-back games of the season.

Samsung started Lee Jung-hyun, Dong-yup Lee, Seung-wook Choi, Min-seok Cha, and Ismael Lane. With Coburn nursing a slight ankle issue, Lane got the start. “We prepared various patterns,” said Samsung acting head coach Kim Hyo-beom, adding, “I was excited because I prepared all day.” “The first objective is to control the hustle,” Kim said before the game against KCC.

Against KCC, who have been on a recent upswing, Samsung didn’t fare too badly, scoring 85 points. Lane led the way with 23 points, while Coburn backed him up with 15 points and nine rebounds. Cha Min-seok and Lee Dong-yeop (over 11 points) also scored in double figures.

However, missing more than half of their hard-earned free throws cost them the game. Samsung was awarded free throws early in the first quarter after Lee Seung-hyun was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct foul, but Lee missed one and made only two. Later in the first quarter, Choi Seung-wook was able to convert an and-one play, but missed the free throw. Coburn also missed one of two free throws before the end. In the second quarter, Lee Jung-hyun, the only other player to get a chance, made only half of his shots.

It was more of the same in the second half. Coburn made two of five (40%), Lee Dong-yeop made one of two (50%), and Cha missed a pair of free throws following a basket. Samsung had to cry again in the final quarter as Cha Min-seok made 1 of 2 free throws.

On the day, Samsung made 7 of 17 free throw attempts for a 41.2 percent success rate. This compares to KCC’s 12 of 18 (66.7% success rate). Their season average of 67.5 percent is also last in the league, but it was too much for a game on the 20th.

“We came to Busan and shot free throws for 40 to 45 minutes,” Kim said after the game, adding, “The players have to overcome that, but it’s unavoidable.” He said, “We practice by creating a burdensome environment,” and lamented, “It’s too bad… It’s a shame,” he lamented.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.