Basketball: Yudai Baba tops scorers as Japan crush Iran and sweep series

Yudai Baba rises to score in the first half for Akatsuki Japan en route to a 21-point effort in Japan’s 80-58 win over Iran in their international basketball friendly match at Xebio Arena Sendai on 14 August 2022. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Yudai Baba scored a team-high 21 points for Japan in an 80-58 loss to Iran at Xebio Arena Sendai on Sunday.

Yuki Togashi and Makoto Hiejima also added 12 points each as Akatsuki Japan swept the two-game international friendly series after Saturday’s narrow 82-77 win.

Head coach Tom Hovasse’s side outscored the visitors 25-14 in the second quarter and remained in control for the rest of the game, extending the lead to 20 points midway through the third quarter.

Japan shot just 30% from the three-point arc but reached 64% from the field overall, while holding Iran to 44.1% shooting. The hosts were also a perfect 12 of 12 from the free throw line.

“We didn’t hit that many three-pointers, but sometimes you have those kinds of games,” Hovasse said. “From a defensive point of view, we had a very good game.”

Amirhossein Yazarloo scored a team record 15 points for Iran.

Hovasse, who coached the Japanese women to Olympic silver last summer, experimented with several lineups while leading the men’s team to the FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup 2023, which Japan will co-host with Japan. Indonesia and the Philippines.

Although NBA forwards Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe haven’t appeared in recent international matches, they should be the cornerstones of a World Cup squad that should also include 21-year-old keeper Keisei Tominaga. University of Nebraska Omaha.

Japan will face Iran in the next round of Asian World Cup qualifiers in Tehran on August 25.

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