Sangmyung University, Choi Joon-hwan was too much for Jangshin Forest

Choi Jun-hwan (195 cm, F/C) was too much for one man.

Sangmyung University lost 44-84 to Dongguk University in the 2024 KUSF University Basketball U-League South Division regular season game at Dongguk University’s Pil-dong campus on Nov. 27. Seven losses in seven games. Dropped to sole possession of last place.

Sangmyung University has struggled with player supply and demand in recent years. On top of that, there were injuries. For that reason, the team was unable to practice five-on-five.

However, injured players have returned to the court. “We have quite a few returning players,” said Sangmyung coach Ko Seung-jin before the game. We are able to put 10 players on the roster. It seems like we’ve been practicing 5-on-5 for the first time in a few years.” 홀덤 He was encouraged by the increase in available players.

Sangmyung University, however, had a problem. They don’t have a lot of reliable tall resources. While Dongguk University had more than five players over 2 meters, Sangmyung only had two players over 195 centimeters (all based on profiles listed by the Korean University Basketball Association).

Choi Jun-hwan’s role was crucial. Choi is a forward who combines height and athleticism. With the addition of Choi Jung-hwan (196 cm, F/C) to lighten the load, Choi had to step up his game.

Choi attacked the Dongguk University paint zone. He aimed for the basket in the middle of the Dongguk Daejangshin forest. Although he struggled with blocked shots from Dongguk’s big men, he showed off his height by scoring hook shots and putbacks. He scored 10 points in the first quarter alone, and Sangmyung University, which was down 6-16, caught up with Dongguk at 18-22.

However, Choi Jun-hwan alone was no match for Dongguk’s long resources. That’s why Sangmyung head coach Ko Seung-jin called for Choi Jun-hwan 1 minute and 49 seconds into the second quarter. That’s how Choi got his first break.

However, after Choi stepped down, Sangmyung faltered sharply. They fell behind 18-30 just 3 minutes and 51 seconds into the second quarter. Sangmyung head coach Ko Seung-jin called the last timeout of the first half, and Choi Jun-hwan returned to the court after the timeout.

However, Sangmyung was unable to break through Dongguk’s modified zone defense. The lack of centering from Sangmyung’s ball handlers made it difficult for Choi to get into position. In addition, Dongguk University utilized several long players to create mismatches. It was hard for Choi Jun-hwan alone to change the atmosphere.

Even though Choi Jun-hwan came back, the gap between Sangmyung and Dongguk grew larger and larger. The first half ended 20-53. With 20 minutes left in the second half, it looked like Sangmyung’s defeat was deep.

However, Sangmyung’s players, including Choi Jun-hwan, had to play until the end. At the very least, they had to show their worth, playing to their strengths such as height and speed.

However, as Dongguk continued to play a 1-3-1 zone defense, it was difficult for Choi to get the ball. Although Choi kept moving in the high post, Sangmyung’s ball handlers were blocked by Dongguk’s front line, making it difficult for Choi to play as well as he did in the first quarter.

Even when he did get the ball, his role was limited. He could only look for openings in the high post. Of course, Choi also didn’t utilize many options. In particular, he didn’t utilize any derivative options from screens.

In addition to his lack of strength on offense, Choi was unable to handle the screens and height of Lee Dae-gyun (201 cm, F/C) on defense. Defensive rebounds were also hard to come by. Meanwhile, the gap between Sangmyung and Dongguk widened. They were down 22-59 just 4 minutes and 17 seconds into the third quarter.

Nevertheless, Choi Jun-hwan focused on offensive rebounds and defense. In the final quarter, he was still struggling with Dongguk University’s long and tall resources, but he seemed to have adjusted to Dongguk University’s tempo and patterns. He stepped off the court with 2 minutes and 42 seconds left in the game. He finished the game with 14 points, 14 rebounds (5 offensive), 2 steals, and 1 assist. It was a double-double and an injury-free game.

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