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Jericho Cruz, Guam falls to Japan in FIBA ACQ opener

Japan's bench celebrates after a three-point conversion. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Japan clamped down on defense in the second half to deal Guam a 77-56 defeat to open their stint in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on Thursday night at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo.

After letting Guam score 24 points in the second quarter to give them a 36-35 halftime lead, Japan held them to just eight points in the third to retake the upper hand, 55-44, entering the fourth.

Japan then pulled away for good after outscoring Guam, 22-12, in the final frame.

Yuki Kawamura led Japan with 15 points, five rebounds, six assists, and three steals, while Makoto Hiejima added 12 points, two rebounds, and three assists.

Josh Harrellson dominated the paint and contributed 11 points, 21 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.

Earnest Ross led Guam with 14 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, and three steals, but he went 3-for-20 from the field.

Jericho Cruz also struggled from the field, only converting 5-of-16 from the field for 12 points while committing four turnovers.

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