Basketball: Baba stars as Japan falls to Iran in World Cup qualifying

Sports

Japan lost 79-68 to Iran in the second round of basketball's Asian World Cup qualifying Thursday in Tehran, the already-qualified co-host of next year's tournament falling to its fifth defeat in seven Group F matches. Yudai Baba starred for Japan with 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting from the floor and 5-for-6 from behind the arc, but only Makoto Hiejima with 11 points and Soichiro Inoue with nine provided any significant offensive support. Japan shot just 39.1 percent from the floor and was outrebounded 51-32 by Iran, with the home team commanding the offensive boards. Behnam Yakhchali keyed t...

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