CHANGSHA, CHINA – Japan got its FIBA Asia Championship campaign back on track on Thursday, demolishing Malaysia 119-48 to secure the team’s first victory of the tournament.
It was a complete turnaround from Japan’s first game in which the team’s top scorer, Joji Takeuchi, had 10 points.
Against Malaysia, seven Japan players reached double figures, but Keijuro Matsui was the team’s best. The 29-year-old shooting guard scored 25 points on just 14 shots, including seven 3-pointers, in just under 17 minutes on the court.
Ryumo Ono chipped in 19 points and eight rebounds and Takatoshi Furukawa scored 15.
Japan’s 71-point victory is the most one-sided result at the FIBA Asia event since Malaysia was beaten 113-22 by China on day two of the 2013 championships, and Japan’s 119 points are the most scored at the event since Iran put 121 on Malaysia in the second round of the 2011 edition.
Coming off a disappointing first-up performance against Iran, Japan quickly jumped out to a lead against its overmatched Malaysian opponent, starting the game with a 17-2 run that established the tone. Japan finished the first quarter leading by 23 and by the half had a 36-point cushion that was never in danger.
After topping Japan 86-48 on Wednesday, Iran continued its good run in Group A on Thursday, beating India 88-66. Iran was paced by the hot shooting of Mohammad Hassanzadeh Saberi Akhlaghi, who had 16 points on 7-9 shooting.
India, which plays Japan on Friday to determine who will finish second in Group A, could take consolation from a huge performance by Amjyot Singh.
Singh, a 203-cm forward, finished with a 26-point, nine-rebound, four-assist game against Iran, following his 24-point, 10-rebound double-double in his first outing of the tournament on Wednesday, a 102-73 victory over Malaysia.
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