• Basketball

Basketball World Cup 2023: Japan Rallies to Beat Venezuela at World Cup

AP
Japan’s team members celebrate after defeating Venezuela in their Basketball World Cup classification match in Okinawa on Thursday.

Makoto Hiejima scored 23 points, Yuta Watanabe added 21 and Japan roared back from a 15-point third-quarter deficit to beat Venezuela 86-77 on Thursday in a classification round game at the Basketball World Cup in Okinawa, Japan.

Yuki Kawamura scored 19 for Japan (2-2), which would clinch a berth in the Paris Olympics with a win over Cape Verde on Saturday.

AP Photo/Hiro Komae
Japan guard Yuki Kawamura (5) looks to pass the ball to a teammate against Venezuela center Windi Graterol (15) in the first half of their Basketball World Cup classification match in Okinawa, southern Japan, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023.

Garlo Sojo led Venezuela (0-4) with 20 points, and Nestor Colmenares added 17.

A win Saturday would give Japan its second consecutive Olympic berth. The team played in the Tokyo Games two summers ago as the host nation, but fans could not attend because of restrictions related to the pandemic.

AP Photo/Hiro Komae
Japan’s supporters celebrate as the team scored during the first half of the Basketball World Cup classification match against Venezuela in Okinawa, southern Japan, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023.

FINLAND 100, CAPE VERDE 77

At Okinawa, Lauri Markkanen scored 34 points and Finland (1-3) got its first win of the World Cup.

Ivan Almeida led Cape Verde (1-3) with 17 points.

SOUTH SUDAN 87, PHILIPPINES 68

At Manila, Carlik Jones nearly had a triple-double — 17 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds — as South Sudan (2-2) kept alive in the race to take the automatic Olympic qualifying berth from the African region.

Jordan Clarkson scored 24 for the Philippines (0-4).

FRANCE 82, IRAN 55

At Jakarta, France got 13 points from Elie Okobo and 12 from Nando De Colo to improve to 2-2 and now has a chance to leave this World Cup with a winning record.

Rudy Gobert returned from an ankle issue and had nine points, nine rebounds and four blocks for France. Benham Yakhchali and Meisam Mirzaei led Iran (0-4) with 11 points apiece.

CHINA 83, ANGOLA 76

At Manila, Hu Jinqiu scored 20 points for China (1-3). Childe Dundao led Angola (1-3) with 17 points.

MEXICO 108, NEW ZEALAND 100

At Manila, Pako Cruz scored 27 points and Mexico (1-3) wasted most of a 19-point lead before holding on to top New Zealand.

Reuben Te Rangi led all scorers with 32 for New Zealand (1-3).

EGYPT 85, JORDAN 69

At Manila, Assem Marei had 20 points and 14 rebounds, Ehab Amin added 20 points and Egypt (2-2) pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Sami Bzai scored 18 for Jordan (0-4). Rondae Hollis-Jefferson played all 40 minutes, and had nine points.

LEBANON 94, IVORY COAST 84

At Jakarta, Amir Saoud scored 29 points and Omari Spellman added 25 to lead Lebanon (1-3) to its first win. Jean Phillipe Daily led Ivory Coast (1-3) with 21 points.