Basketball: Japan down Iran 96-61 to open World Cup year


Japan opened the men’s basketball World Cup year with a win Thursday, easing past Iran 96-61 in Group F in the second round of Asian qualifying.

Japan, already qualified as a tournament co-host alongside the Philippines and Indonesia, got a game-high 20 points from debutant Ren Kanechika in a promising win at Gunma Prefecture’s Takasaki Arena.

Yuki Kawamura twice scored from beyond the arc to give Japan a 22-16 lead after the first quarter, and Kanechika, who made six of his 10 three-point attempts, helped stretch his team’s lead to 52-29 by halftime.

Joshua Hawkinson scored 17 while Kai Toews...

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