BASKETBALL | Japan cruise past Kazakhstan in FIBA Asia Team Cup opener
Yuta Watanabe scored a game-high 21 points and Keisei Tominaga had a big impact with 13 points in the third quarter, helping set the tone for Japan in their FIBA Asia Cup opener on Wednesday, July 13.
The Akatsuki Five trailed 48-45 at half-time and then dominated Group C opponents Kazakhstan for the final 20 minutes en route to a 100-68 win in Jakarta.
“I was very happy with our effort throughout the game,” Japan coach Tom Hovasse said, “but in the second half our defensive effort and energy, I think, went to another level. And this is what we need to do to move forward.”
In addition to his 21 points and 8 of 15 shooting from the floor, NBA veteran Watanabe, a restricted free agent, had eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks while playing a team record more 29 minutes. It was Watanabe’s first match for the national team since the Tokyo Olympics last summer.
Japanese big man Luke Evans, an inside stalwart for the B.League’s Nagoya Fighting Eagles, added 17 points and nine rebounds. Yudai Nishida contributed 16 points, including 4 for 5 on 3-point attempts. Other key contributions came from substitutes Yutaro Suda (nine points) and Yuki Kawamura (eight points and eight assists) and starting point guard Yuki Togashi (six points and five assists).
Read the full story here on the JAPAN Forward sports website. SportsLook.
Author: Ed Odeven
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