Sunday’s bj-league competition highlighted the two-time reigning champion Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix’s standard of excellence — a 100-86 win over the host Chiba Jets that improved their record to 29-13 — as they became the first Eastern Conference team to clinch a playoff berth this season.
On Sunday, the Takamatsu Five Arrows’ atrocious season also grabbed the spotlight. The Five Arrows (2-38) lost their 13th consecutive game, a 109-64 decision to the visiting Rizing Fukuoka.
Kevin Palmer paced Fukuoka (26-14) with 28 points, Jermaine Dearman added 23 points, 17 rebounds and six assists and Akitomo Takeno scored 21 points. Carlos Dixon finished with 17 points, eight boards and six blocked shots for the Rizing and Masahiro Kano scored 12 points.
Takamatsu allowed 100 or more points for the sixth time this season.
The Five Arrows, averaging a league-low 66.7 points and allowing a league-high 86.1, were led by Nyika Williams’ 20 points and 11 rebounds.
The Rizing took a 31-12 lead into the second quarter.
Albirex BB 102, Broncos 87
In Toyano, Niigata Prefecture, the hosts outscored Saitama by 20 points in the third quarter to take a commanding 77-58 advantage into the final stanza.
Bennet Davis had a team-best 22 points with 13 rebounds for Niigata (24-18), Nile Murry scored 17 points, Yuichi Ikeda and Chris Holm each scored 14 and Dwight Gordon poured in 11 points. Holm also grabbed 10 boards.
Saitama (11-29), which dropped the series opener, slipped into last place in the 10-team Eastern Conference. John Flowers led the Broncos with 22 points. Former NBA point guard Kenny Satterfield had 13 points and nine assists, while Yasuaki Arai and John “Helicopter” Humphrey put 10 points apiece on the board.
Northern Happinets 96, Brave Warriors 63
In Akita, Kyle Swanston scored 24 points and made four steals and Yuki Kikuchi hit 7 of 16 3s in a 22-point outing as the hosts crushed Shinshu to complete a series sweep.
Mychal Kearse chipped in with 18 points, 10 boards, five assists and three steals for the Happinets (25-17) and E.J. Drayton had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
With its high-octane offense clicking on all cylinders, Akita had 25 more points than Shinshu in the first and fourth quarters to put the game out of reach.
The Brave Warriors (15-25) committed 26 turnovers, and standout guard Derek Raivio missed his second straight game with an injury. Lee Roberts had a team-high 14 points, Tyler Hughes scored 12, Edward Morris contributed 10 and Yosuke Saito had nine.
Shinshu shot 9-for-25 at the free-throw line.
89ers 87, Lakestars 73
In Sendai, before a rowdy crowd of 3,069 spectators, the 89ers put on an offensive clinic, getting 20 assists on their 27 field goals as they salvaged a series split against Shiga.
Dan Fitzgerald erupted for 33 points, including 12-for-15 at the charity stripe, and pulled down seven rebounds, while Takuya Komoda had a big 19-point effort and Johnny Dukes notched a double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks, two steals). Rashaad Singleton finished with nine points, 10 boards and three blocks and captain Takehiko “Take” Shimura provided nine points, eight assists and five rebounds to the winning cause as Sendai improved to 20-20.
The 89ers’ crisp passing led to 21-for-40 shooting from inside the arc.
“We stayed focused for 40 minutes today, and so we finally got to 20 wins,” Sendai coach Bob Pierce said.
“Today I talked to Takuya Komoda before the game and told him to be aggressive and look for his shot, because we are going to run several plays for him. He responded with 19 points and another solid game at both ends of the floor,” the coach added, speaking about a 24-year-old forward who has made major strides this season.
As for Shimura’s leadership and command of the offense on Sunday, Pierce had the following general remarks: “With Take’s great ball control and Takuya forcing the defense to guard him, Dan was able to get free for a game-high 33 points.”
The Lakestars’ Julius Ashy had a team-high 20 points with 11 rebounds, Yu Okada canned four 3s and scored 16 points, Dionisio Gomez had 12 and Josh Peppers 11. Shiga (24-16) shot 24-for-67 from the field.
“Our team defense was much better today, holding Shiga to 29 second-half points, after they took a five-point lead into halftime,” Pierce said. “Daisuke Takaoka really stepped up to help us, even guarding Josh Peppers for a few minutes late in the fourth quarter.”
B-Corsairs 82, Grouses 64
In Nanto, Toyama Prefecture, Yokohama’s Draelon Burns had 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to lead the first-year franchise to a victory.
Chas McFarland had 11 points, 15 rebounds and four steals for the B-Corsairs (22-20), Masayuki Kabaya had a 16-point effort, Marcus Simmons scored 11 and Pape Faye Mour provided eight points for the victors.
For Toyama (21-19), Ira Brown was the leading scorer with 16 points and eight rebounds, Brian Harper scored 15 and Ryuichi Horikawa had nine points. All-Star guard Masashi Joho missed his fourth straight game due to a muscle injury, and the Grouses fell to 0-4 in that span.
Shining Suns 79, Golden Kings 76
In Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, Miyazaki shot 12-for-26 from 3-point range and held the hosts to 5-for-22 in that category en route to a win and a series split.
Dexter Lyons led the Shining Suns (19-23) with 17 points along with five rebounds and three steals. O’Neal Mims and Taishiro Shimizu both had 15-point performances and Darryl Dora scored 13 points for Miyazaki, which pulled out a narrow victory despite shooting 11-for-21 at the line.
Narito Namizato scored 19 points for Ryukyu (33-9 overall, 16-4 at home). Anthony McHenry added 18 points and Jeff Newton had nine points and grabbed 16 rebounds. The Kings were 15-for-26 on free throws.
Big Bulls 79, Hannaryz 73 (OT)
In Kyoto, Makoto Sawaguchi scored 22 points and Thomas Kennedy had 21 as Iwate edged the hosts and moved out of the Eastern Conference cellar.
Gordon Klaiber chipped in with 14 points, six boards and three steals and Jamal Boykin added 10 points for the expansion Big Bulls (12-30).
Veteran sharpshooter Naoto Nakamura drained 6 of 7 3s en route to a team-high 22 points, but the rest of the Hannaryz (26-14) shot 1-for-11 from 3-point range. Jermaine Boyette added 15 points, Lance Allred had a 10-point, 10-rebound afternoon, Babacar Camara scored eight points and Rick Rickert and Lee Cummard added seven points apiece.
Kyoto had an uncharacteristic 19-turnover game.
Evessa 85, Susanoo Magic 76
In Osaka, the Evessa took care of the basketball — only six turnovers — and completed a weekend sweep against Shimane.
Mike Bell (24 points, nine boards), Bobby St. Preux (22 points, five rebounds, three steals) and Cohey Aoki (17 points) carried the Osaka offense. Shota Konno added 11 points and coach Ryan Blackwell’s team made 18 of 23 free throws.
The Evessa improved to 28-12 after playing their first series since star forward Lynn Washington’s arrest for his alleged involvement in shipping a package containing marijuana into Japan.
Michael Parker paced the Magic (21-19) with 25 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. B.J. Puckett scored 20 points, Jeral Davis had 14 points, 12 boards and two blocks and Jumpei Nakama scored 12 points with six rebounds and five assists.