Japan crushed Taiwan to grab its first win of the FIBA Asia Cup on Thursday, Takatoshi Furukawa’s 15 points helping his team run out a 38-point win in Beirut.
Backing up from a heavy loss to Australia in the first Group D game, Japan was untouchable against a Taiwan team missing its injured centerpiece Quincy Davis III, closing out the game 87-49.
Furukawa shot a sparkling 60 percent from the floor, including 3-for-5 from behind the arc, to pace the Japanese.
Japan shooting guard Makoto Hiejima provided a solid all-round effort off the bench one day before his 27th birthday, equaling Furukawa’s scoring total while adding four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Chou Yi-hsiang played almost the entire game and finished with a team-best 15 points, the only player to score in double digits for Taiwan.
Japan overcame an early deficit by going on a 14-5 run to close the first quarter with a five-point lead. The team was able to hold the momentum into the second, pushing the lead out to as many as 21 by keeping the turnover-prone Taiwan to just five points in the period.
By the end of the third stanza the deficit had stretched to 26 and Japan coach Julio Lamas could spread the minutes around.
The victory means Japan is near certain to secure second place in its group behind Australia, with just one game against so-far winless Hong Kong to come on Saturday.
Each of the four group winners qualify to the quarterfinals directly, with the second and third teams per group playing off to advance to the final eight.