Call it a successful start.
Longtime NBA big man and former Chicago Bulls head coach Bill Cartwright guided the Osaka Evessa to a victory in his first game in charge on Saturday.
The Evessa, who beat the visiting Miyazaki Shining Suns 83-73, had five double-digit scorers and won the battle on boards (57-52 edge in rebounds) in a physical game that featured 46 personal fouls and 56 free throws.
Guard Dwayne Lathan, an Indiana State product, paced Osaka (6-19) with 19 points, though he struggled mightily with his shot (5-for-15 from the field). But by staying aggressive and looking for his shot, Lathan was rewarded as he went to the foul line for 12 shots (eight were good). Veteran post player Rick Rickert added 16 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and three blocks for Osaka in the team’s first game in the second half of the bj-league season.
Masashi Obuchi and Mike Bell each scored 12 points for the hosts. Bell also grabbed 11 rebounds and made three steals, as did Satoshi Takeda. Shota Konno also poured in 12 points.
Osaka had a rough day at the charity stripe in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, converting only 15 of 30 shots.
Evessa All-Star forward Nathan Walkup was thrilled with the outcome.
“(We started) off the second half of the season with a win,” he wrote on Facebook. “Congrats, coach. Great seeing all the fans.”
Miyazaki (4-23) trailed 20-16 after one quarter, 45-32 at the break and 57-49 entering the fourth quarter.
Abdullahi Kuso scored a team-high 24 points and raked in 10 rebounds for the Shining Suns, Ricky Woods and Yuto Otsuka scored 14 points apiece and Thomas Fairley had eight.
Miyazaki was held to 5-for-23 shooting from 3-point range and turned the ball over 17 times before an announced crowd of 1,298.
Cartwright, the No. 3 pick in the 1979 NBA Draft, led the Bulls for parts of three starting, starting in 2001, when he took over for Tim Floyd. He was a starting center on three Bulls championship teams (1991-93) and served as an assistant under Phil Jackson on two more title-winning squads in 1996-97 and 1997-98. He is the second ex-NBA head coach to lead a bj-league team after ex-Toky Apache bench boss Bob Hill ran the now-defunct squad from 2010-11.
HeatDevils 88, Five Arrows 79
In Kitsuki, Oita Prefecture, the HeatDevils defeated Takamatsu, ending a 13-game losing streak.
Both teams are now 10-17.
P.J. Alawoya had 22 points and 12 rebounds, Taishiro Shimizu scored 20 points with five assists and newcomer Verdell Jones III added 15 points and seven assists.
Oita outscored the Five Arrows 30-11 in the second quarter.
Masaaki Suzuki was Takamatsu’s high scorer with 23 points. Teammate Dexter Lyons had 15 points, but committed eight turnovers.
Phoenix 93, Susanoo Magic 89
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, in a marquee showdown between two strong Western Conference teams, triumphant Hamamatsu Higashimikawa took care of the basketball (six turnovers) and forced the hosts into coughing it up 20 times. That was the biggest difference.
For the Phoenix (20-9), Wendell White scored 24 points and Kevin Galloway had 23 points, 12 rebounds and three steals. Shoji Nakanishi added 15 points, draining three 3s. Jeffrey Parmer provided 12 points, six boards and four assists
Michael Parker led Shimane (17-10) with 26 points and 13 rebounds. Jeral Davis contributed 14 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks and Brandon Freeman had 20 points and nine boards for the Magic.
Big Bulls 73, Northern Happinets 53
In Yokote, Akita Prefecture, Eastern Conference-leading Iwate held the hosts to 3-for-27 shooting from beyond the arc in a blowout win.
Macho forward Reggie Okosa paced the Big Bulls (20-7) with 16 points and 12 boards and Lawrence Blackledge and Carlos Dixon each had 14 points. Three teammates score nine points apiece, and Iwate flushed 10 of 21 3s.
Marshall Brown and Anthony Kent had 13 points each for Akita (14-11), which shot 21-for-70 from the field.
Rizing 95, Hannaryz 71
In Yamaguchi, Fukuoka buried 54.5 percent of its 3-point shots (12-for-22) in a blowout victory over Kyoto.
Five Rizing players — Jun Nakanishi, Akitomo Takeno, Masahiro Kano, Josh Peppers and Satoshi Ishitani — all made two 3s. Nakanishi and Peppers both scored 17 points, followed by guard Ishitani’s 16 and power forward Reggie Warren’s 15. Kano had 11 points and Takeno scored 10.
Peppers and Warren each grabbed 10 rebounds for Fukuoka (16-10), and Justin Johnson had a team-best five assists.
Masaharu Kataoka led Kyoto (14-12) with 21 points and former Utah Jazz pivotman Marcus Cousin had 19 points and 10 rebounds. All-Star forward David Palmer is not with the team this weekend, returning to the United States due to a family emergency, according to a news release issued by Kyoto.
The Hannaryz shot 2-for-12 from beyond the arc, including Yu Okada’s 1-for-7. He won the 3-Point Shootout at last Sunday’s All-Star Game at Ariake Colosseum, displaying much better form there.
Jets 91, Brave Warriors 75
In Nagano, Joe Werner scored 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting and Marquin Chandler poured in 23 points, knocking down all three of 3-point shots, to lead Chiba past Shinshu.
The Jets improved to 13-12 under first-year coach Shinji Tomiyama. They had a terrific game on offense, making 57.1 percent of their shots from 3-point land (8-for-14), 55.8 percent inside the arc (24-for-43) and 86.4 percent from the foul line (19-for-22). They had 21 assists on 32 baskets, a sign of unselfish play. Steady floor leader Kensuke Tananka, who scored eight points, dished out a game-high nine assists with zero turnovers. Takaki Ishida knocked down two 3s and contributed 12 points in the win.
Jermaine Green was the top scorer for the Brave Warriors (13-14) with 21 points. Former UCLA center Michael Fey added 16 points and 11 boards, one steal and one blocked shot in 31 minutes in his Shinshu debut. Edward Morris and Takato Saito each had 11 points for the hosts, who have lost seven straight games.
Cinq Reves 96, 89ers 78
In Sendai, All-Star guard Cohey Aoki had 20 points and Rasheem Barrett and Hirohisa Takada scored 18 apiece as Tokyo routed the 89ers.
The expansion Cinq Reves improved to 11-16. Sendai fell to 9-16.
T.J. Cummings scored a game-high 32 points on 13-for-29 shooting and pulled down 14 rebounds for the 89ers. Sam Coleman had 17 points, Takehiko Shimura added 10 points and 12 assists and Sam Willard hauled in 17 boards.
“Tonight we had too many empty possessions on offense, and gave Tokyo too many second chances when we were on defense,” 89ers coach Bob Pierce told The Japan Times.
Grouses 78, Crane Thunders 72
In Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture, Ira Brown scored 23 points and Jeremy Jacob had 20 to steer Toyama to victory over the hosts.
Takeshi Mito added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Masashi Joho chipped in with six points, eight boards, five assists and four steals for the Grouses (17-10).
Dominique Keller led Gunma (5-22) with 25 points and 14 rebounds.
Lakestars 80, Golden Kings 69
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Dioniso Gomez’s 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting made a big difference as the Lakestars handed the defending champions a rare defeat.
Wayne Arnold scored 15 points, Shinya Ogawa scored 14 and Takamichi Fujiwara had 10. Shiga (16-11) sank 9 of 18 3-pointers; Ryukyu missed 22 of 28 3s.
Anthony McHenry was the Golden Kings’ top scorer, ending the night with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Jeff Newton had 13 points and Dzaflo Larkai and Narito Namizato each scored 11 points.
For the Golden Kings (20-5), Naoto Kosuge had a tough game, going 1-for-8 from beyond the arc, and finished with nine points, while Morihisa Yamauchi scored five points and shot 1-for-7 from long range.
Albirex BB 100, Broncos 83
In Saitama, Chris Holm scored 19 points and grabbed 18 rebounds and Niigata’s all-around scoring balance propelled the team to a victory over the Broncos.
Niigata canned 10 of 18 3s, and Yuichi Ikeda scored 14 points, as did Nile Murry. Rodney Webb and Kimitake Sato, the team leader in 3s with three on the night, both had 12 points. The Albirex picked up their league-best 21st win in 29 games.
Saitama, meanwhile, fell to a league-worst 3-22. John Humphrey returned to the Saitama lineup after a seven-week absence due to a back injury and scored 18 points on 5-for-21 shooting in 35 minutes. Yuki Kitamuki had 16 points.