Twenty-two-year-old Narito Namizato is one of the youngest players in the bj-league. He’s also one of the boldest, and quickly becoming one of the league’s elite players.
On Sunday, the Ryukyu Golden Kings guard led all scorers with 21 points and also collected a game-high four steals in a 79-69 win over his older brother, Tasuku, and the host Iwate Big Bulls.
Namizato, an All-Star, is averaging 11.3 points and 4.4 assists (No. 8 in the 19-team league) in 36 games (25 starts).
The Golden Kings, who were the championship runnerup last season, are 16-4 in road games and have the league’s best record (29-7).
Jeff Newton had 18 points and nine rebounds and Dzaflo Laraki scored 14 for Ryukyu. Anthony McHenry added 12 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, and Morihisa Yamauchi scored eight points in Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture.
Shawn Malloy paced Iwate (9-27) with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Teammate Yoshiaki Yamamoto scored 11 points and handed out nine assists, Jamal Boykin scored 10 and Makoto Sawaguchi had nine. Tasuku Namizato had two assists in limited action.
Jets 101, Lakestars 100 (OT)
In Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, Chiba, a first-year franchise, edged the Lakestars and snapped a seven-game losing streak.
Maurice Hargrow had a game-high 36 points with four assists for the Jets (13-21). Jamel Staten scored 32 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and dished out seven assists and Takaki Ishida added 12 points. Antoine Broxsie raked in nine rebounds and Kensuke Tanaka had five assists for coach Eric Gardow’s squad.
“Well, the losing streak ended today,” Jets coach Eric Gardow told The Japan Times, “thanks to Hargrow and Staten.”
“Maurice was clutch, hitting three free throws to tie the game and put it into overtime as well as hitting the ‘would-be’ game winner in overtime. Let’s hope this gets us going.”
Shiga slipped to 21-15 a day after Yu Okada had 31 points and canned seven 3s. He was held to 16 points and 2-for-6 shooting from long range in the rematch. Veteran Ray Nixon had 30 points on Sunday and Dionisio Gomez scored 19, while Josh Peppers had 10.
“Nixon kept giving them an opportunities to win all game, especially in the fourth quarter and OT,” Gardow said of the Shiga star. “He is a great player, a clutch player, and really stepped up for them when Ishi (Ishida) was able to take Okada out of his rhythm today.”
Phoenix 89, Evessa 81
In Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, quintessential floor leader Jermaine Dixon’s 25-point, eight-assist, four-steal performance guided Hamamatsu Higashimikawa to a win and a sweep over Osaka.
Jeffrey Parmer scored 17 points, Wayne Arnold pumped in 14, Shoji Nakanishi scored 13 and ex-Evessa forward Lawrence Blackledge had 11 as the two-time reigning champion Phoenix improved to 24-12, tops in the Eastern Conference.
Bobby St. Preux led Osaka (24-10) with 20 points, Wayne Marshall scored 16 and Cohey Aoki had 12 in a game featuring 49 personal fouls and 62 free-throw attempts. Evessa star Lynn Washington was held to nine points on 2-for-11 shooting.
Grouses 79, Brave Warriors 76
In Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture, four-time All-Star Masashi Joho buried five 3s en route to a 20-point performance as Toyama completed a series sweep.
Ira Brown scored 16 points and fellow big man Larry Turner had 14 points and 16 rebounds. All-Star Brian Harper had a 15-point outing and Takeshi Mito scored 14 points while playing all 40 minutes.
Toyama (19-15) earned the win despite a 12-for-25 effort at the free-throw line.
Shinshu coach Motofumi Aoki’s expansion team fell to 13-23.
Derek Raivio led the hosts with 18 points, Yosuke Saito scored 15 and Lee Roberts had 12.
89ers 72, Five Arrows 54
In Sendai, despite 20 turnovers and lousy free-throw shooting (10-for-20), the 89ers rolled past short-handed Takamatsu, which only dressed seven players.
Five Arrows leading scorer Paul Butorac (15.9 points per game) sustained a left leg injury in Saturday’s loss, and was unavailable for the rematch.
Center Rashaad Singleton had 21 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots for Sendai (18-16), which began the weekend in sixth place in the East but climbed to fourth by completing the sweep. Filip Toncinic contributed 14 points and 10 boards and Dan Fitzgerald scored 13. Takehiko “Take” Shimura finished with 11 points and five assists for the 89ers. Johnny Dukes added 15 rebounds, seven assists and four steals on a day when he was 1-for-5 for three points.
Nyika Williams led Takamatsu (2-32) with 19 points and Kevin Smith had 18. Hiroyuki Kikuchi scored 12 points for the Five Arrows, who were 3-for-22 from beyond the arc. All season, perimeter shooting has been a major problem for coach Kenzo Maeda’s team, which is 117-for-490 on 3s (23.9 percent through Sunday).
When it was over, Sendai coach Bob Pierce said, “Just like going to the drive thru at In-N-Out Burger: Give me two Double-Doubles.”
“Rashaad and Filip both came up big, with double-doubles for both … as we kept Takamatsu in the 50s on our way to our second win in a row. Take kept the ball moving, and took advantage of the sagging defense to score 11 points of his own.”
He added: “The defense never left Johnny alone, and he often saw double or triple coverage, but despite the frustration of very limited scoring chances, he played a brilliant all-around game … (and) proving once again that there are many ways to help your team win.”
Though the Five Arrows’ record is atrocious, Pierce believes Maeda has done a respectable job in his first season as the Five Arrows bench boss.
“Kenzo Maeda is coaching his butt off,” Pierce said. “They do some really smart things on defense, obviously scout teams very well, and have some hard-to-guard offensive sets. With their record they still play very hard on every play. That’s a tribute to his coaching, and to veteran bj-league players like Paul Butorac, (Makoto) Kita, Kikuchi, (Shuichi) Takada, and the vastly underrated (Masaaki) Suzuki.”
HeatDevils 80, Susanoo Magic 73
In Unnan, Shimane Prefecture, T.J. Cummings scored 27 points on 13-for-19 shooting to lead Oita to a bounce-back win over the hosts.
Cummings, whose father Terry was a longtime NBA forward, had a game-high 14 rebounds for the HeatDevils (12-24). Point guard Naoto Takushi contributed 14 points and four assists. Matt Lottich and Wendell White scored 12 points apiece. White also had eight boards and five assists.
Tatsuhiro Yokoo and Michael Parker paced Shimane (20-16, sixth in the West) with 15 points apiece. Reggie Golson poured in 13 points and Edward Yamamoto had 10. Jeral Davis contributed eight points and nine rebounds, while Koki Yabuuchi scored seven points. Shimane was 14-for-25 at the charity stripe.
Broncos 77, Hannaryz 68
In Ise, Mie Prefecture, ex-NBA point guard Kenny Satterfield made his first start since Dec. 28, and Saitama bounced back from a Saturday defeat.
The Broncos had five double-digit scorers: John “Helicopter” Humphrey (17 points, including 9-for-10 at the line, as well as three steals and three blocks), Yuki Kitamuki (14), Jayme Miller (13), Yasuaki Arai (12 and 4-for-5 on 3s) and John Flowers (11). Satterfield chipped in with six points and four assists.
Saitama improved to 10-24.
Jermaine Boyette led Kyoto (23-11) with 19 points, Naoto Nakamura added 18, including five 3-pointers, and Rick Rickert had 11 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Lance Allred scored 10 points and Babacar Camara had eight before fouling out in 20 minutes.
Saitama outscored the hosts 18-4 in the second quarter to take a 37-25 advantage into the break.
Albirex BB 91, Northern Happinets 81
In Akita, Niigata crashed the boards from start to finish in a dominating effort against the hosts to salvage a series split.
Led by point guard Nile Murry’s 12 rebounds and league leader Chris Holm’s 11, the Albirex held a 60-36 in that category, including 26 offensive boards.
Murry scored a team-high 27 points for Niigata (19-17), Shuhei Komatsu drained 4 of 6 3s and scored 16, Holm had 15 points and Kimitake Sato poured in 14.
For Akita (22-14), Kyle Swanston was the leading scorer (26 points) and Ricky Woods had 20.