Matt Garrison worked countless hours to hone his shooting skills throughout his career as a professional basketball player, and he expects the same of his Niigata Albirex BB players.
Now in his second year at the helm, Garrison, a former Niigata standout, has pushed his charges to become dependable scorers and unselfish teammates, sharing the ball and creating scoring opportunities for the entire club.
Garrison’s approach is working for Niigata, which routed the Gunma Crane Thunders 93-56 on Saturday in their bj-league series opener.
The Albirex (14-6 overall, 9-4 at home) moved into first place in the 11-team Eastern Conference. Six Niigata players scored in double figures: Rodney Webb (18 points), Nile Murry (15), Yuichi Ikeda (14), Shuhei Komatsu (13) and Kimitake Sato and Chris Holm (11 apiece). Holm grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, and teammate Hirotaka Kondo dished out seven assists.
Niigata drained 8 of 16 3-pointers and shot 29-for-55 from inside the arc.
Lead guard Jermaine Dixon had 13 points for Gunma (4-17), which had won its previous three games. Dixon had a tough outing, shooting 4-for-15 from the field, with two assists and five turnovers. Lewis Witcher added 12 points for the Crane Thunders.
Gunma coach Ryan Blackwell was not happy with his team’s effort in the series opener.
“We got our asses kicked on both ends,” Blackwell told The Japan Times. “We had no energy. They played physical, which I knew they would, and we didn’t match that. Hopefully we show up tomorrow.”
B-Corsairs 76, Jets 67
In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, Draelon Burns scored a game-high 25 points to lead Yokohama to its fifth straight victory.
Burns sank 5 of 8 3-pointers and pulled down seven rebounds. Thomas Kennedy added 18 points for the B-Corsairs (13-6 overall, 8-3 on the road) and newcomer Shawn Malloy had 12 points in his Yokohama debut. Kenji Yamada chipped in with three assists and five steals, while Satoshi Hisayama scored eight points off the bench.
D’Andre Bell paced Chiba (8-11) with 18 points and Joe Werner scored 17. Marquise Gray and Shota Isshiki each scored 11. Hiroki Sato had five assists.
“Good win on the road tonight,” B-Corsairs coach Reggie Geary said after his team’s fifth straight victory. “(We) didn’t play pretty ball all the time and spent too much time and energy arguing with referees, but were able to keep it close and pull away in the fourth.
“The bench play of Draelon Burns (14 points in the fourth), Hisayama, and our newest addition, Shawn Malloy, was critical to our victory.
“Also great to see such a big traveling party cheering us on from Yokohama tonight,” the coach added.
Rizing 69, Shining Suns 67
In Miyazaki, Julius Ashby and Reggie Warren both had double-doubles to lead Fukuoka to a narrow win over the hosts.
Ashby scored 23 points and hauled in 12 rebounds and Warren supplied 10 points and 13 boards for the visitors.
Josh Peppers had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Rizing (14-7), who had a plus-22 advantage in rebounds (64-42).
Fukuoka shot 3-for-21 from beyond the arc.
“Ugly win … but like the saying goes a win is a win no matter how you put it,” Peppers wrote on Facebook.
For Miyazaki (3-18), Ricky Woods scored 21 points and Yuto Otsuka scored 13.
Lakestars 86, Five Arrows 58
In Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, the hosts outscored Takamatsu 55-23 in the second half en route to a runaway victory.
Shinya Ogawa, Alfred Aboya and Dionisio Gomez each had 15 points for the Lakestars (11-10) and Ray Nixon poured in 10.
Gomez led the team in rebounds (16) and Aboya had 13.
Dexter Lyons, Paul Williams and Robert Johnson shared the team lead in points (10) for the Five Arrows (7-12).
Takamatsu had a dreadful performance on offense, missing 42 of 62 shots from the field.
Hannaryz 78, Evessa 73
In Osaka, Gyno Pomare scored 18 points and Yu Okada had four 3s and a 16-point performance as Kyoto edged the hosts.
David Palmer scored 12 points with eight assists and three steals and Masaharu Kataoka contributed 11 points. Kyosuke Setoyama handed out seven assists for the Hannaryz (11-10).
Mike Bell had 19 points and 17 rebounds for the Evessa (2-15) and Rick Rickert scored 17 points and collected 12 rebounds. Shun Watanuki had 10 point in the loss.
Susanoo Magic 83, HeatDevils 51
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, Michael Parker scored 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as the hosts hammered Oita.
The HeatDevils suffered their eighth straight loss, falling to 9-12. During their losing streak, they’ve lost by an average margin of 33 points.
B.J. Puckett and Koki Yabuuchi each had 12 points for Shimane (14-7) and Brandon Freeman scored 11 points. Edward Yamamoto had six assists.
In the rout, Susanoo Magic coach Zeljko Pavliecevic went to his bench early and often, using 13 players in the game against the undermanned HeatDevils.
Kohei Mitomo paced Oita with 13 points. The HeatDevils shot 19-for-69 from the field.
Golden Kings 82, Phoenix 75
In Okinawa City, Terrance Woodbury and Narito Namizato had 15 points apiece and the reigning champions snapped a three-game losing streak.
Anthony McHenry, who sat out last weekend’s games against Shimane due to a sore knee, stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, nine rebounds, five steals, three assists and three blocks for Ryukyu (16-3). Teammates Naoto Kosuge and Morihisa Yamauchi had 11 points apiece.
The Golden Kings forced the Phoenix into turning the ball over 26 times.
Jeffrey Parmer led Hamamatsu (15-8) with 17 points and Kevin Galloway had 12 points, 11 boards and five assists. Former MVP Wendell White scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, but also finished with 10 turnovers.
Ryukyu took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring Hamamatsu 33-12.
The Phoenix had led 44-32 at halftime.
Northern Happinets 92, Broncos 66
In Akita, Marshall Brown scored 24 points in his Happinets debut to lead his new club to a rout over Saitama.
Shigehiro Taguchi added 15 points and Dion Harris, Dan Fitzgerald and Anthony Kent each had 12 as Akita improved to 12-7.
The Broncos trailed 55-34 entering the third quarter.
Dameion Baker had a team-high 19 points for Saitama (2-15).
Cinq Reves 91, Big Bulls 86
In Tokyo, Jonathan Jones sparked the hosts with a 32-point, 12-rebound performance and Cohey Aoki added 20 points, including 8-for-8 at the free-throw line, in a victory over Iwate.
Hirohisa Takada finished with 11 points and Dennis Carr scored 10 for the Cinq Reves (8-11).
Carlos Dixon led Iwate (13-6) with 22 points and Reggie Okosa scored 15.
In essence, the Big Bulls lost this game at the free-throw line (13-for-26).