Asian 3×3 champions Mongolia were brought to their knees by Japan’s archery basketball.

Japan produced a spectacular display of archery basketball, hitting eight two-pointers, as they defeated 2023 3×3 Asia Cup champions Mongolia 21-8 in the FIBA 3×3 World Cup 2023 Men’s Group D preliminary round in Vienna, Austria, on 2 February.

Drawn in Group D alongside the Netherlands, Switzerland and Hungary, Japan and Mongolia are two of Asia’s biggest powerhouses but have struggled to find their stride at the 3×3 World Cup. Japan and Mongolia both won their respective games against Hungary, but fell short against the Netherlands and Switzerland.토토사이트

With a 1-2 record, the two teams met in the final match of the preliminary round. The winner of the match-up would book a ticket to the final tournament, which was also open to the third-placed team in the group.

Mongolia won their first 3×3 Asia Cup title in five years when they defeated Australia at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2023 in March this year. Japan, who fielded ace players in Tomoya Ochiai, Thomas Early Kennedy and Ryuto Yasuoka, all of whom have experience at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It was a battle of two teams that was hard to predict.

But when the lid was lifted, the match-up went in the opposite direction. Japan’s ‘archery basketball’ was outrageous.

Japan’s Thomas Early Kennedy has become a ‘madman’. Thomas Early Kennedy has been Japan’s leading scorer with 21 points in the first three games.

36-year-old Thomas Early Kennedy led Japan’s archery basketball team from the start. Japan’s Thomas Early Kennedy hit a scary two-pointer early in the game.

Japan started the game by conceding a two-pointer to Mongolia. However, Thomas Early Kennedy answered back with three consecutive two-pointers in the first 45 seconds of the game, before Thomas Early Kennedy hit his fourth two-pointer of the game to give Japan an 8-3 lead in the first minute of play.

Ryuto Yasuoka added to the two-point parade, and Japan took a 13-5 lead just over three minutes into the game after Yasuoka added two more two-pointers.

Japan, which had scored 12 of its team-high 13 points from two-point range, completed a 10-point run, 15-5, with Tomoya Ochiai scoring from behind the arc.

Unable to recover from the unbelievable two-point barrage, Mongolia continued to struggle against Japan’s perimeter defence. They tried to find a solution under the basket midway through the game, but it wasn’t the offence that was the problem – the perimeter defence was stifling.

Ryuto Yasuoka hit his third two-pointer of the game with four and a half minutes left in the game, followed by a steal by Thomas Early Kennedy and a finishing two-pointer to give Japan a 21-8 lead.

Japan, who suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of 2023 3×3 Asia Cup champions Mongolia, dramatically finished third in Pool D after going 2-2 in qualifying to qualify for the final.

Mongolia stuck to their style of play to the end, but their inability to change their defensive tactics quickly enough after seeing their opponent’s insane shooting touch proved to be their undoing, and they were eliminated with a 1-3 record in qualifying.

Thomas Early Kennedy, who scored 11 points against Mongolia, including four two-pointers in the first minute of play, made a strong impression and set up a tantalising final tournament match against Brazil.

Thomas Early Kennedy is a naturalised Japanese player from Detroit, USA, who has been playing in Japan since 2011. Playing in Japan’s B League since 2011, this was the first 3×3 World Cup of his career.

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