Iran beaten by Japan in FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifier

February 21, 2019 - 20:23

TEHRAN – Iran national basketball team lost to Japan 97-89 in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian qualifiers in Tehran’s Azadi Hall on Thursday.

It's seven wins in a row for the Akatsuki Five. The Japanese team moved up to 7-5 and are one win away from FIBA World Cup qualification.

Team Melli were paced by Mohammad Jamshidi's 33 points, but he had little support as Sajjad Mashayekhi was the only other Iranian player who broke into double-figures with 13 points.

Makoto Hiejima shone brightest for Japan with 24 points, six assists, four rebounds and 9-of-13 field goal shooting, while Nick Fazekas added 26 points and 8 boards. Veteran big man Joji Takeuchi also stepped up, hitting a couple of triples en route to 17 points.

Japan had also defeated Iran 70-56 in Tokyo in September.

 Iran now need to win against Australia on Sunday to qualify.

Japan next face Qatar in Doha and aim for their eighth win in a row on Sunday.

Australia, the group's top team, have already booked their tickets to China, and Iran are aiming to follow suit.

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