Taiwan cruised past Japan in an 82-57 final at the Taipei Physical Education College Gymnasium in Tianmu last night to win its opener in this year’s Jones Cup International Basketball Tournament.
With a full house behind them, the hosts took a 19-11 lead after the opening quarter and never looked back as they dominated their northern neighbors from the get go with a superior defense that held Japan to under 27 percent from the field with no three-pointers in the first half, before taking their game up a notch in the second half to open this year’s play on a high note.
Chang Tsong-hsien showed off his much-improved perimeter game with a pair of three pointers in a 10-point first quarter for Taiwan that got the crowd into the game early. He wound up with a team-high 16 points, despite sitting out most of the second half.
After Japan tightened up their defense against Chang, it was James Mao (Pure Youth Construction) who picked up the scoring slack as he connected for eight points in the second half to rack up 13 points on the night.
Despite a poor early showing, Japan hung in the game in the first half, with Kosuke Takeuchi’s even dozen points keeping the deficit at 12 at the half.
That was the extent the visitors were able to handle the high-flying Taiwanese as the home team outscored their opponents by a 26-17 margin to put the game away long before the final buzzer sounded.
Four starters scored in double-digits for Taiwan, with Chang leading the way, while Takeuchi’s game-high 19 points was the lone highlight for the visitors.
Next up for Taiwan will be the Americans, while Japan get set for a match against the three-time defending champs from Iran this afternoon.
‧ Iran 89, Lebanon 74
‧ S Korea 109, Guanghua 83
‧ Philippines 88, Jordan 78