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Sneed shines as Big Bulls run away from Broncos

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Center Dillion Sneed scored 20 of his game-high 24 points in the second half as the Iwate Big Bulls turned a close contest into a rout, beating the Saitama Broncos 111-94 on Saturday night at Tokorozawa Municipal Gymnasium.

Iwate (12-5) snapped a three-game slide. Saitama (2-11) lost its fourth straight, and leading scorer John Humphrey remained on the bench with a back injury.

Sneed’s inside presence opened things up for Iwate on the perimeter as his teammates exploited gaps in the defense. Saitama had a poor second half on defensive rotations and reacting to what the visitors ran against them.

The Broncos yielded 65 second-half points after trailing 46-43 at halftime.

Saitama coach Tracy Williams said his team needs to be stronger mentally for the full 40 minutes.

“That’s something we’re still working on,” Williams said.

Lawrence Blackledge had 18 points, 16 rebounds and two steals, Kenichi Takahashi poured in 17 points, Reggie Okosa scored 14, Carlos Dixon added 11 with five assists for Iwate.

Sneed was most impressive for Iwate, though, making 11 of 15 shots in 17-plus minutes.

“He was a Big Bull out there tonight,” Williams said of Sneed.

Yuki Kitamuki paced Saitama with 19 points and Nyika Williams had 16 points and 15 rebounds in his Broncos debut.

Iwate was 37 of 63 from inside the arc and wore the Broncos down as the second half progressed, including a pivotal surge in the third to stretch the lead to 72-53.

Elsewhere, the Ryukyu Golden Kings beat Rizing Fukuoka 97-79, the Chiba Jets edged the Gunma Crane Thunders 78-71, the Yokohama B-Corsairs downed the Akita Northern Happinets 87-74, the Shiga Lakestars ended the Kyoto Hannaryz’s eight-game win streak, 69-67, and the Toyama Grouses handed the Shinshu Brave Warriors an 85-80 setback.

Also Saturday, the Shimane Susanoo Magic beat the Osaka Evessa 86-78 and the Takamatsu Five Arrows won 81-65 over the Oita HeatDevils.