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Sweden defeats Japan in men's wheelchair basketball
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09:06, September 08, 2008

Sweden held off a second-half burst of speed and scoring momentum by Japan to win 61-49 in a pool A preliminary game of Beijing Paralympics on Sunday at the National Indoor Stadium.

Sweden led 33-15 at halftime, but Japan cut Sweden's advantage to 11 points after they managed a 19-point scoring drive in the third quarter.

With just over three minutes of play remaining in the game, Japan had pulled to within five points against Sweden.

Sweden finished the game with an aggressive offence, and secured the win after hitting several shots in the closing minutes.

Three Swedish players, guard Hussein Haidari, forward Peter Kohlstrom and forward Joachim Gustavsson, accounted for 50 of their team's 61 points. Haidari led the game with 26 points.

Two Japanese players scored in double digits. Forward Hiroaki Kozai led his team with 19 points. Forward Akimasa Suzuki scored 16, but was then susbstituted in the fourth quarter after he committed his fifth personal foul. As a team, Japan outnumbered Sweden in personal fouls 23- 12.

"It was a very good game. It's the first game, so everyone is a little bit nervous and we had to overcome it. We had our ups and downs, and some problems in the middle that made it closer, but we are happy with the outcome," said Swedish forward Peter Kohlstrom.

"I am very satisfied. I mean, I shot very badly, but my friends made up for it. It's all in the teamwork and working toward the whole," said Swedish Center Dan Wallin.

"I have never played in front of so many people. It's a lot different, and amazing to play."

In a following preliminary match of Pool B, United States thrashed Israel 76-53.

"It was unbelievable. It was nothing like I anticipated and unlike anything I've ever been a part of. I've never played in front of so many people before," said U.S. forward Steve Serio.

"The atmosphere was very good. People were cheering and applauding. I will remember this moment for a long time.

"It's unbelievable. It's a big win and I'm very excited. We did a good job as a team."

Source: Xinhua

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