Standing at the free-throw line, Chiba Jets big man Joe Werner appeared relaxed and confident during Sunday’s game against the host Tokyo Cinq Reves. After all, it’s a familiar place for him to be.
Werner has attempted 209 free throws in the season’s first 36 games, including a season-high 16 on Sunday. He sank 13 of them as part of a 29-point, 19-rebound performance, and the Jets prevailed 89-80 over the Cinq Reves in their bj-league series finale at Ota Ward Municipal Gymnasium.
In addition to his strong effort at the line, Werner made 8 of 16 shots from the field and added two steals and two assists for Chiba (19-17). Frontcourt mate Marquin Chandler scored 23 points and hauled in eight rebounds. Three other Jets scored in double figures: Hiroki Sato (13 points) and Kensuke Tanaka and D’Andre Bell (11 apiece). Tanaka also collected four steals.
Werner, averaging 20.4 points per game (fifth-highest output in the league), has scored in double digts in 35 of 36 contests.
The Jets took a 21-14 lead into the second quarter and were ahead 42-35 at halftime.
Tokyo pulled to within 68-61 after three quarters, but Chiba rang up 34 points in the final stanza to secure the win.
Jonathan Jones had 27 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks and Ricky Woods flirted with a triple-double (19 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists) before fouling out. Hirohisa Takada added 12 points for Tokyo (13-23) and Cohey Aoki scored eight.
Golden Kings 75, B-Corsairs 58
In Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, for the reigning champions, it was business as usual at home on Sunday: another victory.
Ryukyu improved to 17-3 in home games by beating fellow 2011-12 Final Four participant Yokohama.
Terrance Woodbury paced the Golden Kings (league-best 28-8 overall) with 25 points, knocking down 4 of 6 3-pointers. Floor leader Anthony McHenry had 11 points, 12 rebounds and six assists — a typical McHenry game, but his impact goes far beyond the stat sheet — and Naoto Kosuge and Jeff Newton each scored 10 points. Two-time All-Star guard Narito Namizato chipped in with nine points and eight rebounds.
The B-Corsairs (25-11) played for the third straight game without All-Star Draelon Burns, the team’s best all-around player who also happens to be the league’s premier sixth man. Burns is nursing an upper leg contusion sustained on Feb. 23 against the Iwate Big Bulls.
Thomas Kennedy and Shawn Malloy both scored 20 points for Yokohama, which shot 3-for-21 on 3s and 22-for-70 overall.
It was Yokohama’s first series against a Western Conference team this season.
Rizing 81, Crane Thunders 75
In Ota, Gunma Prefecture, Reggie Warren notched a double-double for the sixth time in the past seven games and Fukuoka wrapped up a two-game sweep over the hosts.
Warren had 23 points, 16 rebounds and four assists for the Rizing (26-12) and Julius Ashby and Josh Peppers both scored 15 points. Jun Nakanishi had an 11-point game and Masahiro Kano scored nine. Ashby contributed 12 rebounds and four blocks.
The Rizing missed 12 of 14 3-point attempts and shot 19-for-29 at the foul line, factors that affected the final margin.
For Gunma (9-29), Dominique Keller and Yuto Okumoto each scored 19 points, the latter draining 4 of 5 3-pointers. Lewis Witcher had 15 points and Jermaine Dixon, former NBA guard Juan’s younger brother, scored nine.
Lakestars 106, Brave Warriors 101 (OT)
In Okaya, Nagano Prefecture, Dionisio Gomez did a little bit of everything — 28 points, five rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block — and Ray Nixon sank 7 of 15 3s in an electrifying 27-point performance to lead Shiga past Shinshu in overtime.
Shelton Colwell scored 20 points for the Lakestars (24-14), who won for the second time in as many days. Yutaka Yokoe had a 14-point, five-assist, two-steal afternoon and Jumpei Nakama finished with nine points and four assists.
Shiga iced the victory at the charity stripe, making 20 of 23 free throws. The Lakestars, meanwhile, are 7-3 in their past 10 games, the exact number that Colwell has played in.
Jermaine Green paced the Brave Warriors (16-22) with 21 points and Yosuke Saito scored a season-high 20, while Takanori Goya had 15 and Takato Saito pumped in 12. Frontcourt newcomer Eric Walton had 15 points and six rebounds and Edward Morris provided six points, 21 rebounds (12 offensive boards) and seven assists.
Northern Happinets 76, Susanoo Magic 66
In Noshiro, Akita Prefecture, the hosts bounced back from a series-opening loss and held off Shimane.
The Susanoo Magic’s seven-game win streak ended on a day when they failed to score 20 or more points in three of four quarters.
Newcomer Mike Anderson led Akita (20-16) with 21 points on 10-for-18 shooting. Marshall Brown added 19 points and Anthony Kent had 15. Yuki Kikuchi scored six points and rookie Yuki Togashi had six points, seven rebounds, five assists and a steal.
The Northern Happinets shot exactly 50 percent from inside the arc (29-for-58). They were 3 of 12 at the foul line.
Jeral Davis was Shimane’s leading scorer with 14 points. Edward Yamamoto had 12, Brandon Freeman scored 11 and Michael Parker had 10 points and 17 rebounds. Tatsuhiro Yokoo supplied nine points for Shimane (26-12).
Albirex BB 79, HeatDevils 67
In Beppu, Oita Prefecture, Rodney Webb and Kimitake Sato scored 15 points apiece and Niigata triumphed over the HeatDevils.
Nile Murry and Yuichi Ikeda both had 13-point outings and Chris Holm finished with 10 points and 13 boards for the Eastern Conference-leading Albirex (27-11), who lost the series opener. Hirotaka Kondo dished out seven assists and had zero turnovers on the afternoon.
Oita (12-26) trailed 37-17 at halftime. Despite 50 second-half points, its comeback bid fell short.
P.J. Alawoya paced the HeatDevils with 20 points and 13 boards and Taishiro Shimizu scored 17 points.
Evessa 103, Broncos 96 (OT)
In Osaka, former Chicago Bulls bench boss Bill Cartwright guided the Evessa to a bounce-back win OT over Saitama, and the Broncos’ four-game winning streak was halted.
Mike Bell’s 22-point performance was one of five in double digits for Osaka (11-25 overall, 6-6 since Cartwright took over). The others: Shota Konno (20 points), Rick Rickert (19), Shun Watanuki (17) and Taizo Kawabe (12).
Bell was 10-for-17 from the field. The power forward, a product of Florida Atlantic University, had 13 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals. Rickert raked in 10 rebounds.
Osaka won the battle on the boards (57-52 rebounding edge). What’s more, the Evessa were aggressive throughout the game, as evidenced by the team’s 38 free throws to Saitama’s 18.
Yuki Kitamuki topped the scoring charts for Saitama, finishing with 23 points. Takuma Yamashiro and Dameion Baker had 15 points apiece and Nyika Williams contributed 14 points and 16 rebounds. After scoring 38 in the series opener, John “Helicopter” Humphrey was held to 14 points on 4-for-23 shooting, including 1-for-9 on 3s, on Sunday.
Humphrey had eight assists and four steals. Yuki Nobuhira added 10 points for Saitama (8-28), which outscored Osaka 28-11 in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
After the game, Cartwright said he felt the team’s effort was a key to victory.
“We played harder and smarter than yesterday,” Cartwright said. “Saitama fought back, but we played hard throughout the game so we could get a win tonight.
“Also, we got momentum back when we went into overtime, and Shun played hard, so those are big reasons.
“We still have to work on our defense because we gave up more than 90 points in these two games,” added Cartwright, whose team travels to face the playoff-bound Rizing Fukuoka next weekend.
Saitama coach Tracy Williams said, “It thought it was a good game for our boosters. We had a 17-point deficit, but were able to come back and I am really proud of our guys”
Williams also commended his opponent’s effort: “This is a good win for Osaka.”
Grouses 75, Shining Suns 59
In Nobeoka, Miyazaki Prefecture, Ira Brown’s efficient 24-point effort on 10-for-15 shooting led Toyama to a runaway victory over the lowly Shining Suns.
Masashi Joho poured in 14 points and Tatsunori Fujie had nine — all on 3-pointers — as the Grouses improved to 25-13. Brandon Cole chipped in with eight points and six boards off the bench and Angel Garcia added six points and 12 rebounds.
Toyama collected 10 steals and completed the series sweep.
Miyazaki (5-33) shot a woeful 23-for-65. Abdullahi Kuso finished with a team-high 25 points and Thomas Fairley had 17.
Five Arrows 81, Big Bulls 65
In Takamatsu, Masaaki Suzuki had 21 points and six assists and Paul Williams added 18 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks for the victorious Five Arrows.
Takamatsu (15-23) earned a series split. Iwate slipped to 25-13.
Dexter Lyons had 14 points and Brandon Penn scored 10 for the hosts.
Reggie Okosa led Iwate with 25 points and 12 boards and Carlos Dixon was held to 11 on 4-for-18 shooting after his 40-point outburst on Saturday.
Iwate shot 3-for-19 from beyond the arc, and also had major problems at the free-throw line. Dillion Sneed was 2-for-8 a day after going 4-for-17 at the line.
In the paint: Taking stock of the league’s current players, one hoop insider thinks a natural talent to analyze the game currently wears a Sendai 89ers uniform. The outgoing league leader in assists per game, Takehiko Shimura of the Sendai 89ers comes to mind.
“Take should be doing color commentary on live TV broadcasts,” the source insisted. …
Former Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix and Osaka Evessa standout Billy Knight is the JBL2′s ninth-leading scorer at 16.1 points per game. Knight, a UCLA product, is in his second season with the Hyogo Storks, who are 25-5 through Saturday. Knight is also No. 7 in the league in rebounds (7.7 per game) and fifth in free-throw percentage (81.9). …
Phoenix star Wendell White’s injury is a fractured foot, a well-embedded league mole confirrmed on Sunday. The former league MVP isn’t expected to return for the rest of the season.
View from press row: Sneed’s free-throw shooting is clearly a liability for the Big Bulls, especially in close games. To reach the Final Four and contend for a championship, Iwate may feel forced to put the big man on the bench during critical stages of games due to his poor foul shooting (39.3 percent). Rick Barry’s underhanded free-throw shooting technique may be just what the doctor ordered for Sneed.
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