Terrence Woodyard’s valiant effort carried the Saitama Broncos to their first victory of the season on Sunday.
The veteran forward scored 21 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked five shots in Saitama’s 76-63 triumph over the host Toyama Grouses.
Saitama (1-7) played an aggressive, hard-nosed brand of basketball on Sunday. And this helped, too: The Broncos shot 21 free throws (13 makes) compared to Toyama’s 3-for-5 effort at the line.
Reserve guard Yasuaki Arai drained 3 of 4 3-point shots for Saitama and finished with 11 points, and Daiki Terashita was 5-for-6 from the field on a 10-point afternoon.
Kenya Tomori and Takeshi Mito both scored 12 points for the Grouses (4-2), who shot 27-for-74 from the field.
Elsewhere in the bj-league, the host Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix completed a series sweep, beating the Sendai 89ers 87-75.
William Knight paced the Phoenix with 21 points. Despite a 2-for-10 outing from 3-point land, the former UCLA guard/forward, capitalized on his time at the charity stripe, where he converted 11 of 12 shots.
Wendell White added 19 points and big man Chris Mortellaro had 14 points to help Hamamatsu (7-1) pull ahead of second-place Sendai in the Eastern Conference standings.
Demetrius Guions had 29 points for the 89ers (6-2), while center Chris Holm chipped in with a double-double (14 points, 20 boards).
Sendai, which held the Phoenix to 24 first-half points, missed 11 of 12 3-point attempts, a significant factor in defeat.
In the fourth quarter, Hamamatsu erupted for 34 points to seal the victory.
The 89ers now look to regroup before a two-game home series against the rival Tokyo Apache next weekend.
Sharpshooter Yu Okada’s 27-point performance and Michael Gardener’s 26-point outing ignited the Takamatsu Five Arrows to a 91-81 road win over the Shiga Lakestars.
Takamatsu (2-6) also got 15 points from Satoshi Takeda. Veteran forward Antoine Broxsie gave John Neumann’s club ample activity in the paint, with 11 rebounds and five blocks to go along with seven points.
The Five Arrows, who often employ a fast-paced, run-and-gun offense, made 9 of 19 3-pointers, including Okada’s 5-for-9 effort.
Shiga trailed 58-44 entering the final quarter.
The Lakestars (7-3) outscored the Five Arrows 37-33 in the final stanza but were unable to avoid a series split.
Forward Mike Hall, who had 16 points, was the Lakestars’ leading scorer. Bobby Nash added 15 points, Chris Schlatter had 13 and Masashi Joho had 12 on 5-for-21 shooting.
Takamatsu was 28-for-43 at the line. Shiga was 8-for-18.
Also Sunday, Marlyn Bryant put 31 points on the board in the Rizing Fukuoka’s 106-97 road win over the Oita HeatDevils.
Michael Parker poured in 26 points and Kohei Mitomo added 14 points as the Rizing (3-5) won their second straight game after entering the weekend with a five-game losing streak.
For the HeatDevils (2-4), Ricky Woods scored a game-best 36 points and Mike Bell contributed 32 points.
In a frantic fourth quarter, Oita scored 43 points, or 25 more than it had in the third. But Fukuoka, which improved its scoring output from 20 points in the first, to 22 in the second, to 27 in the third to 37 in the fourth, had enough energy to hold off the pesky HeatDevils down the stretch.
The defending champion Ryuyku Golden Kings closed out the weekend with an 86-69 victory over the visiting Kyoto Hannaryz and completed a two-game sweep.
Ex-Indiana University teammates Jeff Newton (19 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks) and George Leach (15 points, 13 boards) paved the way for the Golden Kings on both ends of the floor. Shigeyuki Kinjo had an 18-point effort and three others scored in double figures for Ryukyu (4-2), while Anthony McHenry dished out a game-high six assists.
Hannaryz point guard Naoto Takushi, the bj-league’s No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, had nine points, four assists and two steals against his former club.
Center Reda Rhalimi, who was born in Morocco, was the top scorer for Kyoto, finishing with 19 points. Veteran guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who played his final NBA game in 2001, added 18 points in the loss.
The Hannaryz slipped to 3-5.