Japan cruised to a 73-48 victory over Kazakhstan in the second round of Group F of the Asian Basketball World Cup qualifier on Tuesday after finishing the second quarter tied 27-27 at the ‘Okinawa Arena.
Japan, co-hosts already qualified for next year’s tournament, led by 12 points in the third quarter, courtesy of three defensive rebounds from Nick Fazekas and contribution from Yuki Kawamura, who had five interceptions and seven assists.
Nick Fazekas of Japan shoots during the first quarter of a match against Kazakhstan in the second round of the Asian Basketball World Cup Group F qualifiers on August 30, 2022 at Okinawa Arena, in southern Japan. (Essonne News)
With just 14 defensive rebounds in the first two quarters at one of next year’s tournament venues, 10 rebounds in the third quarter and better defense overall gave Akatsuki’s Japan a boost much needed, with the host registering 24 turnovers to Kazakhstan’s 14 by the end of the game.
Yudai Nishida led 38th-ranked Japan with 13 points on a 6-for-10 shot from the floor, followed by Yudai Baba with 11 points.
Anton Bykov scored 18 points on 16 shots for 68th-placed Kazakhstan, who edged Japan 50-40 but shot just 28.6% from the floor and failed to stay in the running in the latter moments.
The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 will be co-hosted by Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.