Basketball: Japan blows past Taiwan in 1st warm-up friendly

FIBA Basketball World Cup co-host Japan blew past Taiwan 108-86 in the first of two warm-up friendlies Saturday.

Yudai Baba and Shuta Hara led Japan with 18 points each, with Hara going 6-for-7 from beyond the arc, where the hosts badly outpaced the visitors at Shizuoka Prefecture's Hamamatsu Arena, making more than twice as many three-point attempts, 47-23, while shooting 44.7 percent from that range.

"I'd hoped to hold them to a score of 70-something, but (Chinese) Taipei played at a high pace, that made it exciting for the fans," Japan coach Tom Hovasse said.

"It was great that we got six threes from Hara, our defensive stopper. But that's our basketball. It depends on who's hot."

Japan, ranked 36th in the world, had five players score in double digits, while 69th-ranked Taiwan got the bulk of its points from three players, with Mohammad Al Bachir Gadiaga leading both teams with 23.

Josh Hawkinson led both teams with 12 rebounds for the hosts, with six boards on the offensive end.

The teams will play again Sunday at the same venue.

Japan will play its Group E games against Australia, Germany and Finland in Okinawa. The World Cup, being co-hosted with the Philippines and Indonesia, will run from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10.

© Kyodo News