The void left by the league’s best shooter was huge. The KBL’s Goyang Sono failed to capitalize on the departure of Jeon Sung-hyun (32).
“We played well, but it was a game where we needed (former) Sung-hyun,” said Sono coach Kim Seung-ki after the second-round away game against Busan KCC in the second round of the 2023-2024 Korean Basketball League at Sajik Indoor Gymnasium in Busan on Sunday. I wish I had Sung Hyun-i…” and expressed his regret.
On that day, Sono lost 69-78 against KCC. This ended a two-game winning streak that began with a 100-90 away win against Daegu KOGAS on the 11th, especially since the previous game (on the 12th) was also against KCC, and the team scored 29 points in the third quarter alone to win 93-84 at home.레모나토토 주소
Sono came out with a lineup of Lee Jung-hyun, Kim Ji-hoo, Ham Jun-hoo, Choi Hyun-min, and Chinanu Onuaku. Jeon Sung-hyun, who is suffering from a back injury, was unable to play, and Onuaku, who is known for his “Kang Baek-ho free throws” while playing DB in Wonju, replaced Jarrod Jones as the first option foreign player. Coach Kim said, “Onuaku has a high level of questioning on defense. He knows basketball,” Kim said. “He said he’s still at 60 percent,” Kim said, adding, “He (Onuaku) said he’ll get it up soon.”
The game was played in an intense atmosphere. Sono took the lead with an early three-pointer and Onuaku’s under-the-radar play, and Lee Jung-hyun, who had an MVP-caliber performance in the first round, joined in. They ended the first quarter with a 17-16 lead. However, in the second quarter, the tide quickly turned in KCC’s favor as they allowed Choi Jun-yong to score back-to-back points. Lee Jung-hyun played well, but he couldn’t stop Choi, who scored 16 points in the second quarter alone.
Trailing by as many as 11 points at one point in the third quarter, SONO battled back with a three-pointer from Choi Hyun-min and five straight points from Lee Jung-hyun following a turnover. However, Choi Jun-yong remained steadfast and even Lagunar was unable to stop KCC’s momentum, which began to explode. In the final minutes, even Heo Woong, who had been shooting poorly, added a three-pointer to drive a wedge, and KCC eventually overcame Sono.
Sono is a team that specializes in so-called “archery basketball,” which is based on perimeter shooting. Coach Kim’s mantra to his players is, “I’m not going to tell you what to do, so shoot boldly.” On this day, however, Sono shot just nine of their 38 three-point attempts for a 24% success rate. His three-point shooting percentage dropped to 34.7 percent from 35.9 percent before the game.
In this situation, it’s hard not to miss their main shooter, Jeon Sung-hyun. He averaged 17.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 50 league games last season, and led the league in three-pointers made, averaging 3.4 per game and totaling 171. The team made it to the playoffs despite a sudden-deafness injury that damaged his cochlea, with the outside shooter coming through in clutch situations.
“It was a game where we needed (former) Sung Hyun-i,” Kim said. “It became a frustrating game. We tied the game and took the lead, and if we could have made one or two, we could have won it, but we couldn’t.” He must have been frustrated with the lack of 3-pointers. “They’re underpaid players, so you have to understand,” he said, adding, “We have to continue with this team, so we have to do it without being disappointed. We have to hold on until (former player) Sung-hyun comes.”
Speaking about Onuaku, who grabbed 14 rebounds on the night, Kim said, “He came in and didn’t fit, but I already thought about it. I made a mismatch or did a good job, but I didn’t feel it. He’ll get better,” Kim said, expressing both concern and expectation.