Guangzhou, November 25 - Korea defeated Japan 55-51 on Thursday to enter the final of the Guangzhou Asian Games Men's Basketball tournament.
Kim Joo Sung scored 13 points and grabbed nine recounds for Korea, who also got 12 points from forward Cho Sungmin.
Korea, which meet the winners of other semifinal between China and Iran on Friday's gold medal final, started slowly and made only 3-for-13 in field goals, trailing 9-14 in the opening quarter.
Japan expanded the lead to 23-14 with 5:30 minutes to play in the second quarter but were held to only three points after that. Using a 13-3 run, Korea finished a 27-26 halftime. The combination of 53 points was the lowest score during the tournament.
The first 20 minutes marked a poor shooting per cent with Korea 35 (11-for-31) while Japan 41 (11-for-27). Japan's 2.05-metre Takeuchi Kosuke was the only player to score double-figure with 10 points.
Gradually, Korea controlled the game after a 36-36 tie, and turned one-point lead into a 46-38 at the end of the third quarter.
It looked the game was over when Korea took a 52-42 advantage with two minutes to go. But Japan fought back with a 9-1 surge capped by Ishizaki Takumi's 3-pointers to cut to 51-53 behind with 10 seconds left. But Yang Donggeun hit a pair of free throws to seal the victory for the Korean.
Former NBA player Tabuse Yuta led the Japan with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Yang Donggeun adding 14 points.