Japan and China scored impressive wins to remain undefeated at the 2017 East Asia Basketball Championship for Men in Nagano, Japan, while Taiwan is to take on Hong Kong today, after suffering a 33-point loss to China on Saturday.
Playing in front of a supportive home crowd, Japan overwhelmed Macau 119-47, led by point guard Makoto Hiejima’s double-double performance.
Hiejima netted 17 points with 10 assists, along with three rebounds and two steals.
Japan’s twin brothers Kosuke and Joji Takeuchi played up front for a combined 20 points and 17 rebounds, while Yudai Baba and Ryumo Ono contributed 13 points each for the win.
China yesterday clobbered Hong Kong 90-60, with forward Hu Jinqiu the top scorer on 17 points with 12 rebounds.
In Saturday’s curtain-raiser matches, Japan prevailed over archrivals South Korea 78-72, while Team Taiwan had a disappointing performance, losing to China 96-63.
“We knew it would be a tough game, but it is surprising that we lost by such a big margin. Our forwards did not have their scoring touch today, they missed quite a lot of shots,” Taiwan head coach Chou Chun-san said after the game. “Our defense could not keep up with China’s fast attack.”
Forward Liu Ching and Quincy Davis at center were Taiwan’s only players in double digits, with 10 and 15 points respectively.
It was expected that Taiwan could maintain a close score against China, since Taiwan have more experience than the China squad, who are on average 19 years old.
Liu Ching also had inside knowledge of the opposition, facing several of his Zhejiang Lions teammates in the match.
However, China used their fast pace attack and height advantage to overpower Taiwan and went ahead by 13 points in the first quarter, and led 48-25 at intermission. China did not let up to score another 48 points in the second half for the 33 point triumph.
Chinese point guard Zhao Yanhao and forward Hu Jinqiu had the team’s best efforts at 22 and 20 points respectively.
South Korea faces Macau today and Taiwan takes on Hong Kong in the evening.
Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau must win to gain berth, as five-out-of-six teams from this tournament will advance to the FIBA Asia Cup, which is scheduled for Aug. 8 to 20 in Lebanon.
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