Sunday’s Oita HeatDevils-Ryukyu Golden Kings game was a farce from the get-go. And the 1,286 spectators in attendance weren’t treated to anything resembling a professional basketball contest.
The result? Ryukyu 123, Oita 50.
Oita trailed 35-6 after one quarter. It was 64-22 at halftime. The Golden Kings (14-0) took a 102-33 advantage into the final period in Beppu, Oita Prefecture.
The HeatDevils (9-7) dressed eight players — all Japanese. Their four imports — Taj Finger, Matt Lottich, Cyrus Tate and Wendell White — who played a major role in the team’s 9-5 start, which put them in second place in the 10-team Western Conference entering this weekend, did not play in either game against the bj-league’s defending champions. Team management and league officials, who are set to take over the bankrupt franchise as early as Monday have said that they won’t be paid their November salaries, sources have told The Japan Times in numerous conversations and interviews in recent days.
Oita lost 100-68 on Saturday, a game in which coach Yukinori Suzuki’s squad was held to 25 rebounds while Ryukyu grabbed 59 boards. A day later, the Golden Kings again held a massive advantage on the board, pulling down 59 to the HeatDevils’ 34.
In the series finale, Ryukyu’s Naoto Kosuge scored a game-high 23 points, including 7-for-14 from beyond the 3-point arc. Shigeyuki Kinjo poured in 20 points and canned 6 of 10 3s, Anthony McHenry added 18 points, Terrance Woodbury scored 16 and Jeff Newton had 14. Narito Namizato scored eight points and dished out 10 assists. Tsubasa Yonamine also scored eight points. The Golden Kings collected 18 steals.
Only 22-year-old guard Morihisa Yamauchi played major minutes for the Golden Kings. He was on the court for 30-plus minutes. Six of his teammates logged less than 20 minutes of court time.
Forward Kazuya Hatano led the HeatDevils with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Kohei Mitomo and Taishiro Shimizu each scored 13. Oita shot 20-for-68 from the field and turned the ball over 27 times. The HeatDevils reserves scored six points.
Brave Warriors 80, Big Bulls 79
In Takizawa, Iwate Prefecture, Shinshu dominated on the boards, grabbing 20 more rebounds than the hosts in a narrow victory to earn a series sweep.
Wayne Marshall, who had 10 points and four blocked shots, led the Brave Warriors in rebounds (10), and the much-improved second-season franchise had 47 rebounds in total.
D’Mario Curry, a Lincoln Memorial University product, paced Shinshu (11-5 overall, 8-2 road) with 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting, while Jermaine Green scored 13 and Takanori Goya had 11. Takato Saito canned two important 3s and finished with nine points.
For Iwate (11-5), Carlos Dixon finished with a game-best 22 points and Dillion Sneed scored 16. Reggie Okosa had a 13-point effort and Lawrence Blackledge scored 12 in the down-to-the-wire rematch.
Northern Happinets 104, Albirex BB 97
In Shibata, Niigata Prefecture, in a high-scoring game, capped by a 79-point combined outburst in the fourth quarter, Akita held off the hosts to salvage a series split.
Dion Harris led the way with 25 points, 5-for-8 from beyond the arc, nine assists, six rebounds and two steals. Shigehiro Taguchi (who was 5-for-8 on 3s), Makoto Kato and Jordan DeMercy all finished with 21 points and Anthony Kent had 14.
The Eastern Conference-leading Happinets (10-4) shot 60 percent from 3-point range (12-for-20) and 35-for-59 overall from the field to make up for a lousy day at the free-throw line (22-for-37).
Nile Murry was the top scorer for the Albirex (10-6), finishing with 23 and Yuichi Ikeda had an 18-point afternoon. Chris Holm scored 14 points and hauled in 13 rebounds before fouling out. Kimitake Sato added 12 points and Rodney Webb and Shuhei Komatsu both scored 11.
Hannaryz 87, Shining Suns 67
In Fukuchiyama, Kyoto Prefecture, the Hannaryz extended their winning streak to eight games by hammering Miyazaki in the series finale.
David Palmer scored 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting, adding seven rebounds and two steals for good measure for Kyoto (8-8), Jermaine Boyette supplied 15 points and Marcus Cousin and Gyno Pomare each had 12. Four Kyoto players dished out five assists: Kyosuke Setoyama, Boyette, Sunao Murakami and Pomare.
Pomare grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
Kyoto led 62-37 entering the fourth quarter.
Yuto Otsuka had 19 points for Miyazaki (2-14).
Rizing 75, Evessa 65
In Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, Reggie Warren scored 23 points and Julius Ashby contributed 20 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks as Fukuoka beat Osaka for the second time in as many days.
Steady guard Akitomo Takeno had 14 points and six assists for the Rizing (10-6).
For the Evessa (1-11), Nathan Walkup (14 points) and Shota Konno (11) were the only double-digit scorers. Rick Rickert and Mike Bell, the team’s recent acquisitions, had a combined nine points on 4-for-18 shooting from the field. Rickert had 13 rebounds and six assists.
Phoenix 91, Five Arrows 72
In Toyokawa, Aichi Prefecture, Kevin Galloway and Jeffrey Parmer each had 20 points as Hamamatsu Higashimikawa cruised past Takamatsu.
Adrian Thomas and Shinnosuke Oishi added 14 points apiece and Elbert Fuqua had 10 for the Phoenix (11-7). Parmer had 10 rebounds and six assists in the triumph. Fuqua raked in 11 boards.
For the Five Arrows (4-10) Dexter Lyons scored a team-best 27 points. Paul Williams and Brandon Penn both had 13. Williams shot 3-for-14 at the foul line, and Takamatsu was 14-for-30.
Jets 85, 89ers 76
In Yachiyo, Chiba Prefecture, Marquin Chandler scored 27 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the hosts to a series sweep over Sendai.
D’Andre Bell added 18 points and four steals off the bench and Joe Werner had 13 points and 14 rebounds for Chiba (7-7).
Shota Isshiki scored 10 points and point guard Kensuke Tanaka, who leads the league with 6.4 assists per game, dished out 11 assists.
Yasuaki Arai hit four 3s and finished with 16 points for Sendai (5-9) and teammate Kevin Coble had 15 points and 14 rebounds. Takehiko Shimura and Karron Clarke each scored 12 points. Sam Coleman and Clarke both had 11 rebounds.
89ers big man Sam Willard missed the series due to an illness.
“I feel bad that the fans, and especially the boosters from Sendai, didn’t get to see the matchup between Sam Willard and Joe Werner. It could have been a classic weekend,” Sendai coach Bob Pierce said after the game.
“Not a great game for us,” he added. “In the third quarter, we were down by 18 points (51-33) at the 7:30 mark before the lights went on and we went on a 16-0 run to cut the lead to 51-49 with 3 minutes left in the period. We couldn’t sustain that momentum, but at least we battled the rest of the way.”
Cinq Reves 97, Broncos 88
In Tokyo, Jonathan Jones had a 27-point, 14-rebound, seven-assist afternoon and Cohey Aoki poured in 23 points as the hosts swept Saitama.
Dennis Carr added 19 points and 11 rebounds for Tokyo (7-9) and Rasheem Barrett scored 10 points. Hirohisa Takada added 10 points before a crowd of 551 at BumB.
Yuki Kitamuki paced the Broncos (2-10) with 23 points, Masahide Haraguchi scored 17 points and was 6-for-6 from the field and Dameion Baker had 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Grouses 91, B-Corsairs 70
In Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Takeshi Mito scored a season-high 26 points and Jeremy Jacobs added 20 on 9-for-12 shooting as Toyama bounced back from a Saturday loss.
Ira Brown pumped in 16 points with eight rebounds and floor leader Masashi Joho had 14 points, six assists and three steals. Angel Garcia, back after serving a one-game suspension for a flagrant foul, had 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Grouses (11-7).
Draelon Burns scored 23 points for Yokohama (8-6) and Thomas Kennedy and Masayuki Kabaya had 16 apiece. The rest of the team had 15 points. The B-Corsairs made 21 turnovers.
The series featured ex-NBA players Reggie Geary (Yokohama) and Bob Nash (Toyama), now well-respected coaches, guiding their respective teams.
Susanoo Magic 73, Lakestars 70
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Michael Parker had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Jeral Davis added 16 points and five blocks for triumphant Shimane.
The Susanoo Magic (10-6) also got 13 points from Tatsuhiro Yokoo.
Yutaka Yokoe led Shiga (8-8) with 13 points and Ray Nixon had 12. Dionisio Gomez pulled down 14 rebounds in defeat.
The Lakestars were 22-for-72 from the field.