KCC shoots to break curse of the 2-game deficit

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KCC shoots to break curse of the 2-game deficit

As they prepare for game four in Jeonju, North Jeolla, tomorrow night, the KCC Egis continue their difficult climb back from the two-game deficit that began the series.

The first task on hand for the defending champs will be to win tomorrow’s game on the home court and even the series before it shifts to Jamsil, southern Seoul, for the final three games.

It’s possible. A win tomorrow could give KCC the momentum it needs for the last part of the series.

Mobis, on the other hand, can virtually end the series with a win.

No team in the history of the KBL has come back from being down three games to one. In fact, only one team, the 1997-98 Hyundai Dynat (now KCC) managed to come back from being down two games.

“Our biggest goal at this point is to even the series before game five in Seoul,” said KCC manager Hur Jae at the end of game three on Sunday.

Mobis won the first two games on their home court to open the series, but KCC responded with a 89-78 win in Jeonju on Sunday.

That night’s key for KCC was their offense, which finally showed up with Jeon Tae-pung, Choo Seung-gyun, Terrence Leather and Ivan Johnson coming up big.

The biggest factor was Jeon, who finally was able to play his game without being hampered by Mobis’ defense, driving to the basket to get his shots off.

The rookie point guard got his teammates involved, connecting with Johnson and Leather on several two-on-two situations. Jeon ended the game with 14 points, six assists and two steals.

KCC also found an answer to forward Ham Ji-hoon. Even without center Ha Seung-jin, who was again scratched from the lineup due to an injury, the team kept Ham down to 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

The forward has been averaging 20.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and five assists in the series.

In the battle of overseas players, Leather and Johnson combined for 38 points and 14 rebounds while Mobis’ duo of Aaron Haynes and Bryant Dunston combined for 31 points and 11 rebounds.

The mental game between the two head coaches - and whether it will have any bearing on the officiating in upcoming games - will also be of interest.

Johnson was issued a technical foul for rough play on Park Jong-chun in game three and Yoo didn’t let it slip.

“It has been a continual thing [with Johnson and Leather]. The officials just failed to call the rough plays in the past and gave a call in our favor for the first time,” said Yoo.

Hur responded with an observation of his own. A player is not allowed more than three seconds in the key, the 16-feet wide painted area stretching from the free-throw line to the baseline.

“I complained to the officials at half-time about Ham violating the three-second rule,” stated Hur.

By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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