Every team wants big-time production from its big man.
That’s what the Sendai 89ers received on Saturday in a pulse-rising 66-64 victory over the two-time defending champion Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix.
Rashaad Singleton, a 211-cm center, scored a season-high 25 points, hauled in 12 rebounds and blocked six shots in a big victory for the hosts.
The 89ers improved to 24-21 despite shooting 1-for-11 from beyond the 3-point arc and turning the ball over 18 times.
Singleton made that possible, but wasn’t alone.
Johnny Dukes scored 19 points, Filip Toncinic had 11 and Takehiko Shimura handed out 10 assists in the bj-league game.
“Nothing is easy when you play the Phoenix,” 89ers coach Bob Pierce told The Japan Times. “I told the guys to stay focused on what we had practiced all week, to be patient, and to just keep playing good defense. Then, finally, in the fourth quarter Rashaad scored 16 of his game-high 25 points as we came from behind to win.”
Singleton, especially known for his shot-blocking skills, rebounding and tough defense, was 11-for-15 at the foul line.
“A lot of credit has to go to guys like Takuya (Komoda) and Hikaru (Kusaka), who shoot with him in free-throw competition in practice,” Pierce said of Singleton.
For the Phoenix, who have already clinched a home playoff spot for the Eastern Conference’s semifinal round in May, Jermaine Dixon was the top scorer (19 points, seven assists). Kenya Tomori was the team’s only other double-digit scorer (10 points). Reigning MVP Jeffrey Parmer had nine points.
Hamamatsu’s 12-for-20 free-throw shooting contributed to its defeat.
B-Corsairs 80, Northern Happinets 78
In Akita, the Northern Happinets trailed by 16 points entering the fourth quarter against visiting Yokohama. Akita nearly pulled off an improbable comeback, but fell to the expansion B-Corsairs in the series opener.
Justin Burrell paced Yokohama with 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Chas McFarland had 15 points with 12 boards. Draelon Burns and Masayuki Kabaya each scored 17 points as the B-Corsairs, who sit in fifth place in the 10-team East, improved to 24-21.
Ricky Woods scored a team-best 23 points for Akita (27-20), Yuki Kikuchi added 16, Mychal Kearse had 14 and Kyle Swanston 12.
Broncos 100, Five Arrows 85
In Iyo, Ehime Prefecture, Saitama heaped more misery on the hosts, handing them their 18th consecutive defeat.
John “Helicopter” Humphrey put 22 points on the board and James Porter scored 21 for the Broncos (13-32). Jayme Miller added 15 points, Yuki Kitamuki had a 14-point outing and Daiki Terashita poured in 13 points in the team’s first game since disgruntled point guard Kenny Satterfield’s unapproved departure on Thursday.
Paul Butorac led Takamatsu (2-43) with 30 points and 14 rebounds, while Keishiro Tsutsumi dished out nine assists.
Brave Warriors 100, HeatDevils 89
In Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, Lee Roberts’ 26-point, 14-rebound effort and Derek Raivio’s 22 points and seven assists guided Shinshu to a win over Oita.
Takato Saito and Edward Morris both had 15 points and Yosuke Saito added 10 points for the Brave Warriors (18-27).
Wendell White finished with 26 points, 18 rebounds and five assists for the HeatDevils (18-27) and Naoto Takushi chipped in with 10 assists. Matt Lottich scored 23 points and T.J. Cummings, the league’s March MVP, had 21 points and 14 rebounds.
Albirex BB 83, Evessa 73
In Osaka, Niigata closed out the game in impressive form, outscoring the Evessa 27-12 in the fourth quarter.
All-Star center Chris Holm scored 19 points and hauled in seven rebounds for Niigata (25-20). Nile Murry added 15 points and 10 boards, Erron Maxey scored 12 points with 11 rebounds and Yuichi Ikeda had nine points.
The Albirex dominated on the glass, with 55 rebounds to undermanned Osaka’s 34.
The Evessa played without center Wayne Marshall (broken hand) and two-time MVP Lynn Washington (not reinstated by the team despite being cleared by Osaka Prefectural Police of all drug-related charges following his March 13 arrest in Osaka).
Satoshi Takeda scored 20 points for Osaka (30-15), Bobby St. Preux had 15, Mike Bell added 13 points with 12 boards and four blocked shots and Masashi Obuchi scored nine points. Cohey Aoki had eight points and Kevin Tyner made six assists in the loss.
Jets 91, Susanoo Magic 87
In Yonago, Tottori Prefecture, Jamel Staten and Maurice Hargrow combined for 68 points in Chiba’s narrow victory over Shimane.
Staten finished with a game-high 38 points with 14 rebounds and Hargrow contributed 30 points. Takaki Ishida added eight points for the expansion Jets (17-28). Staten sank 13 free throws (17 attempts).
Jeral Davis had 28 points for the Magic (24-23), Michael Parker finished with 26 points and 10 boards and Reggie Golson scored 15 points.
Golden Kings 82, Grouses 71
In Okinawa City, Ryukyu outclassed Toyama en route to their 35th victory of the season.
Exhibit A: The Golden Kings had 28 second-quarter points to the Grouses’ seven. They led 49-27 entering the second half.
David Palmer sank 4 of 7 3s and scored 26 points for the Western Conference-leading Golden Kings (35-12). Naoto Kosuge had 18 points, Anthony McHenry and Dzaflo Larkai scored 11 apiece and Tsubasa Yonamine dished out seven assists. McHenry added 12 points and three blocks.
Masashi Joho scored 16 points for Toyama (23-22), Devin Searcy added a double-double (15 points, 17 boards) and Takeshi Mito had 14 points.
Hannaryz 98, Shining Suns 91
In Kyoto, Miyazaki only dressed seven players, including one import (Lewis Witcher), but kept it close before falling to the hosts.
Taishiro Shimizu was the Suns’ top scorer with 24 points and six assists, Witcher had 20 points and Shinnosuke Oishi scored 18 with six assists.
Miyazaki, which shot 14-for-24 from 3-point range, fell to 20-25 as its playoff chances continue to fade.
For Kyoto (29-16), Jermaine Boyette had a team-best 23 points, including 8-for-10 from 2-point range. Rick Rickert added 19 points, 12 boards and six assists and Taizo Kawabe had 15 points. Naoto Nakamura scored 10 points and Lee Cummard had nine.
Lakestars 87, Rizing 77
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Yu Okada ignited the hosts’ high-octane offense with 22 points and Josh Peppers and Ray Nixon contributed 15 points apiece in a win over Fukuoka.
Dionisio Gomez added 13 points for the Lakestars (29-16).
The Rizing’s Kevin Palmer had a 32-point performance and macho forward Gary Hamilton raked in 23 rebounds along with an 11-point effort, while Jun Nakanishi scored 11 points with five assists for Fukuoka (28-17).
The Rizing missed 21 of 25 shots from 3-point land.