Japan won their fourth consecutive FIBA World Cup qualifier on Monday, knocking off one of the powerhouses of Group F, Iran, by a score of 70-56.
Why is that relevant on a college basketball website?
Because Gonzaga star Rui Hachimura, an All-American heading into the 2018-19 season and a potential lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, was the best player on the floor once again. Hachimura finished with 25 points while former George Washington star Yuta Watanabe added 18 as the Akatsuki Five moved to within striking distance of the top three in Group F.
Japan is currently fourth in Group F. The top three — and the best fourth-place finisher between Group E and Group F — qualify for the World Cup.
Japan has four qualifiers — one against Iran, one against Kazahkstan and two against Qatar — left to play. If they go 3-1, they will likely be headed to the World Cup.