Tue, 18 Jan 2022

China crush Japan in FIBA World Cup qualifier

27 Nov 2021, 17:30 GMT+10

SENDAI, Japan, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Zhou Qi and Guo Ailun each scored 24 points to give China a 79-63 victory over Japan in their first Group B match of FIBA World Cup qualifying campaign here on Saturday.

The 2.16-meter Zhou, who plays with South East Melbourne Phoenix in Australia's NBL, added 12 rebounds and three blocks during 19 minutes and 34 seconds. But he had to leave the court with a seemingly severe right ankle injury after landing awkwardly at the Japanese end.

China got off to a flying start, taking an 8-0 lead two minutes into the game. They extended their advantage to 19-2 before finishing the first quarter 27-11.

The Japanese side, managed by their former women's national team coach Tom Hovasse, stepped up their defense and put more pressure on the visitors in the second half. They beat the Chinese side in the fourth quarter 23-15 but their effort proved too little and too late.

Point guard Guo Ailun also scored 24 points and added four rebounds. Hu Jinqiu scored 15 points and Zhao Rui added 10.

Yudai Nishida was Japan's top scorer with 11 points. Captain Yuki Togashi added 7 and Kosuke Takeuchi scored 6.

China's head coach Du Feng said that he will consult the team doctor about Zhou's injury before making a decision whether to play him in their second match Sunday night.

Du said that the Chinese players made too many mistakes both in defense and offense, which helped Japan close the gap in the second half.

"We need to be more focused on the match," he said. "We need to concentrate on the match for the whole 40 minutes."

China had to play their home match in Japan because China's strict COVID-19 countermeasures make Japan hard to travel there.

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