India gave favourite Japan a scare with a superb display in the first-half, before going down 72-90 to bow out of the fourth FIBA Asia Cup basketball tournament, here on Monday.

The Indians kept the Japanese on their toes for the entire first half before succumbing to the home side’s sudden but sustained attack in the second, in their last Group ‘B’ match.

This was the fourth loss in as many matches for India, which made it to the continent’s top-flight competition through the qualifiers.

“I am proud of the way my boys who fought hard,” said a beaming India coach J.P. Singh. Singh’s opposite number Kimikazu Suzuki said: “It was a real close call. Wasn’t it?”

Kosuke Kanamuru was Japan’s leading scorer with seven three-pointers in nine attempts for his 26 points. Kosuke Takeuchi had a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Vishesh Bhriguvanshi led India’s scoring with 21 points and Amritpal Singh pulled down a game-high 20 rebounds to go with his 13 points.

“The lack of experience has been a problem for us all in all the games.

“I think we did play real hard in all our games. We are a young team and we have shown we can play good basketball,” Bhriguvanshi said. — PTI

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