Jordi Trias scored 10 points for Spain in a 12-2 run to start the fourth quarter Sunday to put Japan’s national team away, as the hosts finished the three-game Kirin Cup Basketball 2002 with a 89-67 defeat.
Trias, a 206-cm small forward, finished with 15 points and gathered nine rebounds. He was named Most Valuable Player of the series as the Spanish national team won all three of its games.
After Japan scored five points in a matter of 12 seconds at the end of the third quarter to cut Spain’s lead to 15 points, the partisan crowd at Yoyogi No. 2 Gymnasium went wild.
Japan coach Kenji Yoshida dished out high-fives as his players returned for the two-minute interval. Only one thing was on Yoshida’s mind.
“I told them, ‘Just keep the same flow and something might happen,’ ” he said.
Something did happen — Spain’s best player single-handedly took over the game.
“Japan fought hard for the first 30 minutes,” said Trias, referring to the first three quarters. “The rebounds made the difference.”
Which was a nice way of putting it, considering what appeared on the stat sheet. Spain’s physical presence in the paint led to a 50-25 rebounding edge — 157-77 for the series.
Yoshida’s team, which has implemented a run-and-gun style, could not ride any momentum because of Spain’s red-hot outside shooting.
Japan shooting guard Takuya Kita hit an 18-footer in the first quarter to cut Spain’s lead to 10-9, the closest Japan got in the game.
Spain led 45-34 at halftime.
Bernardo Rodriguez led all scorers with 16 points for Spain, while teammate David Mesa posted a double-double, recording 13 points and collecting 10 boards.
Kita had 15 points to lead Japan, followed by captain Satoru Furuta’s 11.
Spain shot 61 percent from the field, compared to Japan’s dismal 37 percent.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.