Rui Hachimura scored 25 points, and Japan outscored Iran by plus-18 points in the third quarter to run away with a 70-56 win over the former 3-time continental champion in the Asian qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup on Monday.
The Akatsuki 5, which barely made it past the opening round qualifiers, has won 4 straight to raise its record to 4-4, just a game behind the Philippines, which downed Qatar later in the day.
Iran is coming off an 8-point win over the Filipinos in Tehran, and its loss to the Japanese in Tokyo came without stars Hamed Haddadi and Samad Nikkhah Bahrami.
Haddadi played barely a minute against the Philippines.
The defeat meant the Iranians fell to solo second in Group F with a 5-2 record, behind the 6-1 card by Australia, which shellacked Kazakhstan 94-41 at home Bendigo.
Kazakhstan dropped to 3-5, while Qatar remained in last place with a 2-6 record.
In tough Group E, New Zealand defended home court with a 63-60 win over Lebanon in Rotorua for a 7-1 record. The two sides entered their game tied with a 6-1 mark.
Korea had little trouble against Syria in a 103-66 rout in Goyang, tying Lebanon with a 6-2 card.
China beat Jordan 88-79 in Beijing, but the reigning Asian Games champions stayed in fifth place (4-4).
Jordan is at 5-3, while Syria is last in the group at 2-6.
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