Balanced scoring and a strong all-around effort in the second half ignited Japan to a 73-48 triumph over Kazakhstan in a 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifier on Tuesday, August 30.
Japan outscored the visitors 46-21 in the second half at Okinawa Arena, bouncing back from a 79-68 loss to Iran in Tehran on August 25. In that game, dynamic guard Yudai Baba had a game-best 27 points for Japan.
In this game, the hosts missed 13 of 17 shots in the opening quarter and didn’t heat up for a sustained excellent stretch on offense until the third quarter.
In Tuesday’s second-round match against its Group F foe, Japan had seven players share the bulk of the scoring load. Shooting guard Yudai Nishida poured in a team-high 13 points, while Baba finished with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Soichiro Inoue contributed nine points. Naturalized Japanese citizen Nick Fazekas, a longtime B.League star for the Kawasaki Brave Thunders and a former NBA player, made his first national team appearance of 2022 a success with solid all-around numbers (eight points, eight rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block).
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Author: Ed Odeven
Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward’s [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter ＠ed_odeven, and find him on JAPAN Forward’s dedicated sports website, SportsLook.