After narrowly escaping an eight-game losing streak, Seoul Samsung head coach Eun Hee-seok urged the sixth man to improve.
“We had a long losing streak, but we were able to end it at home, so it was a time of mixed emotions, both sorry and happy for the fans,” Eun said after the team’s regular season home game against Daegu Korea Gas Corporation at Jamsil Indoor Gymnasium in Seoul on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Samsung beat GAS 84-63 to end an eight-game losing streak.
It was the third win of the season (10 losses) for the team after a home win over GASCO (84-80) on March 31.
After taking the lead from the first quarter, Samsung led by more than 30 points at one point in the third quarter and looked to be on its way to victory, but faced a furious comeback from GAS after the midway point of the third quarter.
After foreign player Andrew Nicholson fouled out with five fouls with 6:25 left in the third quarter, Samsung was without all of its key players, including Kofi Coburn, Lee Jung-hyun and Kim Si-rae, with 5:40 remaining.
Gasworks closed the gap to 46-66 at the end of the third quarter on back-to-back baskets by Samjosef Belangel and Lee Dae-heon, and Samsung, who couldn’t regain the momentum after the start of the fourth quarter, trailed 66-58 with 5:40 left.
When asked about this, Coach Eun said, “Our biggest concern is the backups. There’s a big difference in skill between the starters and the backups.”
“We had two games in a row coming up on the weekend, so I wanted to give the starters a break when the score was close and hope that one of the backups who got playing time would step up, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way I wanted,” he said.
“If this situation is not resolved, injuries can happen, and we may have another game like today,” he said, emphasizing that he wants the sixth man to step up.
Still, it’s encouraging to see the team pull through and stop the losing streak. Aside from Coburn, who has been labeled as the “bread and butter” player, Samsung can also take credit for the evenly matched contributions of several players.
Samsung’s top scorer on the night was not Coburn (17 points and 11 rebounds), but Ishmael Lane (19 points and seven rebounds).
“I’m doing the best I can as a coach. We’re trying to detail the movements on the perimeter, or make sure Coburn doesn’t get the ball in a stagnant situation,” said Eun, who hopes to see more of the same from the backups.
Lane, who scored the most points in his KBL debut, said, “I’m very happy that we finally broke the losing streak. “We worked hard and I think we were rewarded for it,” he said, adding, “We played a lot and it was good that we tried to shoot with confidence in our offensive opportunities. 파워볼