The Akita Northern Happinets’ fourth-quarter comeback fell short in a 72-69 defeat to the host Yokohama B-Corsairs on Saturday in the bj-league.
The Happinets trailed 70-60 with 1:36 remaining, but 3-pointers by Ryosuke Mizumachi and Kazuhiro Shoji gave them a shot to pull off remarkable rally. Yokohama’s Masayuki Kabaya, however, scored the game’s final points on two free throws with 12 seconds left.
Akita’s Stanley Ocitti missed a potential game-tying 3 that was off the mark with 2 seconds left.
The B-Corsairs (13-14) won the first-ever game between the Eastern Conference franchises at Yokohama International Swimming Pool.
Justin Burrell led Yokohama with 19 points and 13 rebounds, Marcus Simmons and Satoshi Hisayama each scored 11, Pape Mour Faye had 10 with eight rebounds, Minoru Kimura scored nine points with three 3s, Kabaya had seven points and Kenji Yamada dished out five assists.
B-Corsairs starting center Chas McFarland did not play after sustaining a concussion against the Niigata Albirex BB last weekend. Due to lingering effects from that concussion, McFarland’s status is day to day, Yokohama coach Reggie Geary said.
Geary called it a “good, solid team win tonight with contributions from both starters and the bench.”
“We knew it would be a tough game with both teams being near the top defensively in the league,” added Geary, a former NBA guard. “Tonight’s win gives us four victories in our last five games and keeps us in the playoff hunt. I’m very proud of my guys.”
Ricky Woods led Akita (17-10) with 23 points. Ocitti had 12 points and 11 boards, Mizumachi and Shoji each scored eight points and Mychal Kearse put seven points on the board along with eight assists and seven rebounds.
Phoenix 83, Albirex BB 77
In Kosai, Shizuoka Prefecture, Wayne Arnold’s 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Jeffrey Parmer’s 17-point effort sparked Hamamatsu Higashimikawa to a win and a series sweep over Niigata.
Jermaine Dixon scored 15 points and Masahiro Oguchi had 12 for the Phoenix (18-10).
Nile Murry led the Albirex (16-12) with 26 points, Yuichi Ikeda scored 18 and Erron Maxey had 10. Chris Holm hauled in 18 rebounds.
Lakestars 80, Shining Suns 70
In Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture, Ray Nixon scored 23 points and Julius Ashby’s 14-point, 10-rebound outing lifted Shiga to a series-opening win.
Yu Okada chipped in with 12 points for the Lakestars (18-9), Dionisio Gomez scored 11 and Shinya Ogawa had 10.
Darryl Dora led Miyazaki (12-17) with 19 points and 13 boards and O’Neal Mims scored 15.
89ers 83, Jets 77
In Sendai, led by Dan Fitzgerald’s 19-point performance and Takehiko Shimura’s 11 assists with eight points, the hosts held off Chiba.
Filip Toncinic scored 16 points on 7-for-12 shooting off the bench and Johnny Dukes provided 14 points and 13 boards for Sendai (13-14).
Maurice Hargrow had 33 points for Chiba. Jamel Staten added 19 points, nine rebounds and six steals for the Jets (10-15) and Takaki Ishida scored 13.
“This is great for Bob to get that out of those guys and that was the difference in the game,” Chiba coach Eric Gardow said of the scoring output Komoda and Takahashi gave the 89ers.
“We missed this opportunity. We forced more turnovers and controlled the boards yet we could not convert our open 3-point looks and we missed 12 free throws (18-for-30),” Gardow said. “Those are all dynamic when you lose by six.”
He added: “(Shimura) is a fighter. Love his attitude. We had him in foul trouble, but he recorded 11 assists. Great play. He makes all kinds of game-changing plays for Sendai.”
Pierce was happy to see his team deliver a solid performance in the series opener.
“I thought we played a pretty good team game, with four players in double figures,” Pierce said. “Takuya Komoda continued his fine play from last week, and should have a nice second half of this season. Also great to see Filip starting to feel more comfortable and showing his many all-around skills. We still have issues with taking care of the ball and rebounding, and will have to work on those areas every game we play.”
Susanoo Magic 88, Broncos 66
In Saitama, the hosts yielded 50 second-half points en route to a blowout loss to Shimane.
Michael Parker scored a game-best 35 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, center Jeral Davis blocked a league-record 11 shots and forward Reggie Golson had 16 points and seven assists for the Magic (16-11). Tatsuhiro Yokoo and Davis scored 12 points apiece and Jumpei Nakama had eight. Davis also had 14 rebounds to register a triple double; his 11 blocks shattered the old mark of 10 set by Shawn Taylor of the Rizing Fukuoka on Feb. 1, 2009, against the Oita HeatDevils.
For the Broncos (7-18), John “Helicopter” Humphrey was the leading scorer with 18 points. John Flowers and Jayme Miller each finished with 12 points for Saitama, which shot 26-for-80 from the field, including 6-for-32 from beyond the 3-point arc. Kenny Satterfield had five assists in the loss, while All-Star Daiki Terashita scored nine points.
HeatDevils 85, Hannaryz 79
In Oita, rookie coach Yukinori Suzuki’s club won for the third time in as many games after the All-Star break by defeating Kyoto.
Naoto Takushi and Wendell White paced the HeatDevils (8-19) with 16 points apiece and Matt Lottich and T.J. Cummings both had 13 and Taj Finger scored 10. Takushi also dished out seven assists and made four steals.
Lee Cummard and Rick Rickert both scored 21 points for Kyoto (18-7). Babacar Camara finished with 16 points and nine boards and Kyosuke Setoyama supplied 10 points and five assists.
Evessa 82, Rizing 79
In Fukuoka, former Tokyo Apache teammates Jun Nakanishi and Cohey Aoki were the high scorers with 22 points apiece, but Aoki’s Osaka squad edged Nakanishi and the hosts.
Newcomer Mike Bell scored 18 points for the Evessa (18-7). Wayne Marshall added 13 points and eight boards and Lynn Washington had 13 rebounds, five assists and three steals on a night when the two-time MVP and 21.8-points-per-game career scorer in the bj-league struggled with his shot (1-for-8 from the field, seven points), while Masashi Obuchi scored nine points. Aoki made all three of his 3-point shots.
Akitomo Takeno had a 15-point effort for Fukuoka (17-10). Osaka held the Rizing’s Kevin Palmer, the league’s No. 2 leading scorer (21.4 ppg), to 12 points.
Five Arrows 79, Grouses 76 (OT)
In Takamatsu, Paul Butorac scored 20 points and Kevin Smith and Michael Nunnally both notched double-doubles as the hosts earned a rare triumph by beating Toyama.
Smith (16 points, 11 rebounds, five assists) and Nunnally (12 points, 15 boards) helped Takamatsu improve to 2-25. The Five Arrows won their only other game on Christmas Day.
Toyama’s Haakim Johnson sent the game into overtime after tying it up on a pair of free throws with 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Masashi Joho scored 29 points to lead the Grouses (12-13). Johnson had 20, Brian Harper scored 14 and Larry Turner had a 13-point, 16-rebound, five-block, four-steal game.
Kings 75, Brave Warriors 72
In Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture, Western Conference-leading Ryukyu used solid contributions from several players to improve to 8-3 at home.
Jeff Newton (16 points, eight boards, three steals, two blocks), Naoto Kosuge (14 points), Anthony McHenry (10 points, seven rebounds), Narito Namizato and David Palmer (nine points) and Tsubasa Yonamine (nine assists) keyed the win for the Golden Kings (21-6).
Derek Raivio and Lee Roberts were Shinshu’s top scorers with 15 points apiece. The Brave Warriors fell to 11-16.