Basketball

Hachimura puts on show as Japan falls to Italy at Under-19 World Cup

STAFF REPORT

Hoop phenom Rui Hachimura knocked down two 3-pointers to tie the game in the closing minutes but Japan wound up losing to Italy 57-55 in the Round of 16 at the Under-19 World Cup in Cairo on Wednesday.

Hachimura, a Gonzaga University player, racked up a game-high 22 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks for Japan, which has a 1-3 record in the tournament.

With the defeat, Japan will face South Korea on Saturday in a placement game.

With Japan trailing 54-49, Hachimura dribbled the ball from the backcourt and hit a 3 from the top of the key with less than 10 seconds left in the game. Following the play, Italy extended its lead to three points with a free throw. Moments later, Hachimura stepped up once again, nailing a tough shot from behind the 3-point arc over two Italian defenders with 2.4 seconds remaining.

But Italy came away with the victory on a baseline jumper from Tommaso Oxilia, who had a team-high 19 points, with 1.4 seconds left on the clock.

Okinawa-born guard Shinsaku Enomoto added 12 points for Japan in the loss. The 19-year-old, who was born to a Japanese mother and American father, is known as Isaiah Murphy at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona.

Entering his sophomore season for the NCAA Tournament runnerup Gonzaga this fall, Hachimura has been one of the most recognized names at the Under-19 World Cup and has impressed both spectators and the media.

The Beninese-Japanese has led the tournament with 19.5 points per game and is second in rebounds with 11.8. The Toyama native has recorded double-doubles in all four games Japan has played.