HIROSHIMA (FIBA World Championship
) - Angola all but guaranteed their spot in the knock-out stages of the 2006 FIBA World Championship on Sunday with a convincing 87-62 victory over hosts Japan.
The African champions were powered by 19 points from Carlos Almeida and 16 from Abdel Azis Moussa in capturing their second straight victory in Group B in Hiroshima.
Carlos Morais also chipped in with 13 points and Eduardo Mingas with 11 as Angola await results later Sunday to see if they've advanced to the Final 16 in Saitama.
Kosuke Takeuchi led Zeljko Pavlicevic's team with 13 points and Takehiko Orimo added 11 in a losing cause.
Japan started the game very disciplined and efficient, moving the ball and making the Africans play plenty of defense. Their ball passing allowed them easy looks and build a 21-10 lead as Kosuke Takeeuchi hit a three-pointer with 1:03 left in the first quarter.
Angola started a run however, scoring the final five points of the period. They added the first 10 points of the second frame to finish off a 16-0 run in which Carlos Morais and Carlos Almeida combined for 14 points while Japan went scoreless for 4:37.
Tomoso Amino temporarily stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer, but Angola answered with a 12-4 run to open a 38-27 advantage. Alberto Carvalho's team worked the lead to 44-32 going into the break.
Angola kept the Japanese at bay for much of the third quarter and extended the lead to 23 points, 66-43 after three periods. Japan would never get closer to 21 points the rest of the way as Angola increased the lead to 30 points late.
"It was very difficult game against the Japanese at home. They started very well, both on offense and defense. We changed up some things and they worked," Angola coach Alberto Carvolho said.
"Their players have a lot of international experience. And it's tough for our guys in their first tournament," Japan coach Zeljko Pavlicevic said.
"A big problem is our centers can't make any shots. You don't need to have a high IQ to know that when there's no danger inside you can focus more on the outside game."
The Japanese were not big and athletic enough for the Angolans, who out-rebounded the hosts 50-28 for the game, including 19 offensive rebounds.
"If Angola grab 19 offensive rebounds, we can't win the game," Pavlicevic said.
"We knew that if we crashed the boards we would have a good chance to win, and that's what happened," Gomes said.
"We had to really come back on defense. In the first five minutes we saw they weren't looking to pass. they were just penetrating and not dishing. This was defintitely a team effort. We have to play as a team from start to finish to win. And this was a big win.
Japan play Panama on Monday while Angola face New Zealand. By DAVID HEIN
Exclusively for FIBA