The Macau Black Bears moved above the .500 mark after coming away with a 97-86 road victory against Westports Malaysia Dragons.
The visiting Black Bears were able to take control of the game early by capitalizing on a series of Dragons turnovers, building up a lead that peaked at 17 points in the first quarter. However, Chiang Wei Er helped spark a 9-0 Dragons run that cut their deficit to just eight points going into the second period.
Macau opened up the second quarter with back-to-back three pointers from Ryan Watkins and never looked back from that point on. The Dragons had no answers for the Black Bears’ Mikh McKinney, who scored 29 of his game-high 35 points in the first half, and capped off his hot shooting with a half-court heave that found the bottom of the net as time expired going into the halftime break.
Control of the game continued in favor of the visitors early into the second half before Malaysia was able to muster together a spirited effort late in the third period. Down by 18 points with three minutes remaining, Chris Eversley and Winston Shephard combined for another 9-0 Dragons run to help their team go into the final quarter down just nine points.
The ABL’s reigning World Import MVP Anthony Tucker started the deciding period with a three, setting the tone for the remainder of the game, as every Dragons attempt at a comeback was effectively repelled. Despite an Eversley three-pointer which cut the Black Bears’ lead to eight with two minutes left to go, Macau was able to close out the game with a comfortable 11-point victory.
In addition to his game-high 35 points, Mikh McKinney also added nine rebounds and six assists. Big man Ryan Watkins logged a double-double with 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Anthony Tucker chipped in 21 points and eight assists to round out impressive performances from the Black Bears’ trio of imports.
On the other side, the Dragons had two players finish with double-doubles. Chris Eversley once again led the way with 28 points and 16 rebounds, while fellow import Winston Shephard notched 24 points and 15 boards.
Westports Malaysia Dragons was without veteran local Loh Shee Fai, who sat out due to injury.
The Dragons will look to end its 6-game skid on its home floor against BTN CLS Knights Indonesia on February 14th, while the Black Bears won’t see action again until February 21st when it hosts Hong Kong Eastern.
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