23 September, 2015
03 October
15 Joji TAKEUCHI (Japan)
Game Report
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Japan rout Hong Kong to reach Last Eight

CHANGSHA-HUNAN (2015 FIBA Asia Championship) - Japan utilized a strong third quarter push to break the game open and blow out Hong Kong, 89-62, in Group E of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.

Save for the second quarter, Team Hayabusa didn’t encounter much resistance in this match as their size and overall talent were too much for Hong Kong. Coach Kenji Hasegawa’s wards outplayed their foes in almost every aspect.

Four Japanese scored in double-figures, led by Makoto Hiejima and Joji Takeuchi, who tallied a combined 36 points Kenta Hirose also did well, scoring 12, while deadshot Keijuro Matsui added 11 points off the bench on the strength of three triples.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, was paced by Wong Chun Wai’s 14 points, while Duncan Reid had 10 points and 6 rebounds in the loss.

Turning Point: Hong Kong did well in the early goings, leading by as many as 7 points with 8:20 to go in the second period. Japan, however, flipped the switch at that moment, uncorking a 19-4 run to close the half with an 8-point lead.

Stats Don't Lie: Japan pressed the attack inside, outscoring the smaller Hong Kong side, 28-12, and also outrebounding them, 34-26. This led to Japan’s having 14 more field goal attempts, and they were much more efficient, too, hitting 54% of their shots from the floor.

Game Hero: Not surprisingly, Joji Takeuchi was Japan's leader in this contest. The big man from the Hitachi Sunrockers dropped 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists as the Nippon quintet formalized their entry into the next phase of the competition.

The Bottom Line: Japan were riding high after getting past Palestine yesterday, and they didn’t disappoint against their East Asian opponents. Hong Kong were visibly overmatched, but they still played admirably. Unfortunately, coach On Hing King’s squad goes down winless in the second round and will be relegated to the consolation games, where the highest they can finish is ninth place.