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Japan's speed prove to be too much for Lebanon
Behind the capable playmaking of Yuki Kawamura and Seishin Yokochi, Japan started the game strong and broke the match open in the second quarter, leading 46-33 at the half. Japan built on their momentum even more in the second half, leading by as many as 29 points en route to their 26-point margin of victory.
It was a surprisingly dominant display in a game that was expected to be closer than what actually happened. With no player taller than 6ft 3in (1.90m), Japan were supposed to have a tough time containing Lebanon's bigger frontline, but coach Torsten Loibl's wards negated Lebanon's size with blinding speed and sharp shooting. As a team, Japan shot a searing 61% from the 2-point area while also scoring 20 points in transition and 13 off second chances. Despite their size disadvantage, Japan managed to outscore Lebanon, 56-38, in the paint and even outrebound them, 52-38.
Keisei Tominaga was Japan's top scorer with 15 points in under 20 minutes of play, while Rin Yamazaki recorded a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double. Much hyped guard Chikara Tanaka also did well with 12 points despite struggling to shoot well from the floor all night (3-of-14 FGs). On the other end, Rayan Zanbaka was the lone bright spot for the U16 Cedars, scoring 21 points and grabbing a dozen boards.
This win gives Japan a 1-0 win-loss card in Group D, while the Lebanese absorb their first loss and sink to the bottom of the group.
Japan are hoping for back-to-back wins when they face India tomorrow even as Lebanon will try to bounce back against defending champions Korea.