The Sendai 89ers extended their winning streak to five games on Thursday, beating the expansion Chiba Jets 84-70 in a bj-league game in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture.
Dan Fitzgerald canned 6 of 8 3-point shots and finished with a team-high 25 points for the 89ers (8-3). Johnny Dukes scored 20 points and O’Neal Mims added 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Takehiko Shimura had 11 points, nine assists and five boards for Sendai.
The Jets trailed 30-18 after one quarter and 47-31 at halftime.
Maurice Hargrow paced Chiba (6-5) with 26 points and Jamel Staten scored 24, hauled in 11 rebounds and made six steals. Reina Itakura had nine points.
“We played really well in stretches,” Sendai coach Bob Pierce said, citing Fitzgerald’s 3-point shooting and Dukes’ overall performance in the third quarter. “But sometimes we lost our focus. Chiba reflects the toughness of their coach (Eric Gardow), and they battled the entire game.”
Pierce said the defensive effort of reserve forward Yoshihiro Tachibana and the play of Daisuke Takaoka, who contributed five points, four rebounds and one steal off the bench helped Sendai defeat Chiba in the series opener.
The teams meet again on Friday at 7 p.m.
The Jets were 16-for-31 at the free-throw line and lost their third in a row.