The Japan men’s national team knocked down 12 3-pointers and forced 19 turnovers en route to an 85-74 victory over Iran in the opener of a two-game exhibition series on Friday night in Sapporo.
Interim head coach Luka Pavicevic’s team shot 52.2 percent (12-for-23) from 3-point range. Point guard Yuki Togashi of the Chiba Jets, who was the B. League All-Star Game MVP in January, scored a team-high 17 points, including 5 of 8 from long range. He dished out five assists.
Japan took a 38-34 lead into the third quarter.
Joji Takeuchi (Alvark Tokyo) and Ira Brown (Sunrockers Shibuya) contributed 13 points apiece for the hosts, with Brown grabbing a team-high nine rebounds. Daiki Tanaka, who also plays for the Alvark, added 12 points off the bench, while University of Tsukuba student Yudai Baba sparked Japan with nine points and five steals in nearly 19 minutes of court time. Shooting guard Makoto Hiejima, who stars for the SeaHorses Mikawa, had six points and four steals
Iran shot 10-for-21 at the free-throw line. The visitors shot 26 of 42 from inside the arc.
For Iran, Mohammad Jamshidijafarabadi had a team-high 22 points and Arsalan Kazemi Naeini contributed 18 points, 11 rebounds and seven steals.
It was Pavicevic’s first game at the helm.