Shimane Susanoo Magic coach Zeljko Pavlicevic’s club reached the 30-win plateau for the first time in franchise history on Saturday, beating the visiting Toyama Grouses 90-78.
MVP candidate Michael Parker scored 22 points on 11-for-16 shooting, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots, and Brandon Freeman led the team with 23 points, canning all three of its 3-pointers.
Shimane big man Jeral Davis poured in 14 points, including a pair of dunks, and swatted four shots.
With Parker and Davis teaming up to contest shot after shot for the entire contest, Toyama shot poorly from inside the arc (18-for-49).
The Susanoo Magic (30-13) increased their scoring output in each of the four quarters — from 14 to 20 to 25 to 31. They led 59-58 entering the final stanza in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture.
Koki Yabuuchi added 10 points and four steals for Shimane, B.J. Puckett chipped in with nine points and Shohei Nakama had eight points and four assists. The Magic shot 63.6 percent (35-for-55) from 2-point range.
Pavlicevic, a former Japan national team head coach, has guided Shimane since the club’s inception in 2010. The Magic went 24-26 in their inaugural season and 28-24 in 2011-12.
The Croatian bench boss, who has a pair of Euroleague titles on his impressive resume, has spoken many times about building his team step by step to contend for a championship, and the team has taken big steps this season, as evidenced by its place in the standings (second in the 10-team Western Conference) and head-to-head record against the reigning champion Ryukyu Golden Kings (4-0).
For Toyama (26-15), Ira Brown led the way with 26 points on 8-for-22 shooting, Masashi Joho had 15 points, Takeshi Mito scored 11 and Angel Garcia 10.
Albirex BB 94, Five Arrows 77
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, coming off a bye week, the well-rested hosts delivered a strong all-around effort, trouncing Takamatsu.
Yuichi Ikeda scored a team-high 20 points, Rodney Webb and Hirotaka Kondo both had 15 and Chris Holm scored 13 and gathered 16 rebounds as Niigata improved to 29-12 under second-year coach Matt Garrison. Kondo was 7-for-10 from the field, and as a team the Albirex made 29 of 53 shots from inside the arc.
Nile Murry poured in 12 points and Kimitake Sato had nine for the Albirex, who outmuscled the visitors on the boards (49-27 edge in rebounds).
Niigata sits a half-game behind the Eastern Conference-leading Yokohama B-Corsairs (see below) in the standings. Yokohama has played one more game to date.
For Takamatsu (16-27), Dexter Lyons was the top scorer with 16 points, Brandon Penn had 14, Paul Williams scored 13 and Daisuke Tamura 12.
Golden Kings 89, Broncos 72
In Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture, Terrance Woodbury had 23 points, Anthony McHenry scored 22 and Ryukyu crushed Saitama in the series opener.
Playing without star big man Jeff Newton for an undisclosed reason, Ryukyu launched 39 3s (seven were good) and used its quality depth to outlast Saitama (11-30).
Dzaflo Larkai had 12 points for the Golden Kings (32-9) and Shigeyuki Kinjo, Naoto Kosuge, Morihisa Yamauchi and Narito Namizato all had six. Namizato also had 12 rebounds, nine assists and two steals. McHenry added 15 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals.
Okinawa native Takuma Yamashiro was Saitama’s top scorer with 27 points on 11-for-27 shooting. Nyika Williams grabbed 17 rebounds and scored nine points.
Ryukyu held John “Helcopter” Humphrey, the league’s leading scorer at 25.9 points per game, to 10 points on 4-for-16 shooting.
Evessa 56, 89ers 52
In Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, Osaka picked up its sixth straight victory, edging the hosts in a defensive struggle.
The teams shot a combined 42-for-138 from the field. Osaka missed 40 of 60 field-goal attempts.
Shota Konno led the Evessa with 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting. Konno nailed his only 3-point shot; the rest of the team was 1-for-10 from beyond the arc. Nathan Walkup, an All-Star forward, had 10 points for Osaka (16-25). Taizo Kawabe and Mike Bell each scored nine points. Bell also contributed 12 rebounds, four blocks, three steals and two assists.
Sendai (16-25) grabbed 61 rebounds, 16 more than Osaka on the afternoon. The 89ers hauled in 28 offensive boards to the Evessa’s 11.
T.J. Cummings had a team-high 17 points for Sendai, Takuya Komoda scored 11 points and Sam Willard pulled down 15 rebounds. Captain Takehiko Shimura passed out seven assists and collected three steals.
Since longtime NBA big man and former Chicago Bulls head coach Bill Cartwright took over as bench boss a day after the Jan. 20 All-Star Game, the Evessa have won 11 of 17 games. The team was 5-19 before he became the new coach.
Hannaryz 78, Brave Warriors 65
In Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture, veteran guard Masaharu Kataoka scored a game-best 25 points and three teammates also reached double figures as Kyoto defeated Shinshu.
Kataoka, a key acquisition for the Hannaryz (22-19) in the offseason, drained 3 of 4 3s and was 8 of 8 at the foul line en route to a season-high scoring performance. Ex-NBA center Marcus Cousin notched a double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Jermaine Boyette and Gyno Pomare each scored 10 points.
Michael Fey and Edward Morris both had 16 points for the Brave Warriors (16-27), while Jermaine Green scored 13. Takato Saito had six assists and Yosuke Saito dished out five in defeat. Morris was Shinshu’s top rebounder with 11 boards.
Lakestars 80, Phoenix 72
In Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, the Lakestars had twice as many assists (24) as turnovers (12), and that proved to be a winning formula against Hamamatsu Higashimikawa in the series opener.
Dionisio Gomez had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Shiga (26-15) and Shelton Colwell and Wayne Arnold scored 16 points apiece. Shiga scored 27 second-quarter points and took a 42-26 lead into the third quarter.
Takamichi Fujiwara added 14 points, four assists and four steals for the Lakestars. Jumpei Nakama dished out a team-high five assists.
Jeffrey Parmer led the Phoenix (24-19) with 18 points and Kevin Galloway had a triple-double (15 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists). Masahiro Oguchi scored 16 points.
Northern Happinets 84, Shining Suns 77
In Akita, rookie guard Yuki Togashi sank five of the hosts’ 14 3-pointers in a 21-point, eight-assist outing as the Happinets defeated Miyazaki.
Togashi added two steals and a block for good measure, helping Akita improve to 22-19. Dion Harris had 19 points, Shigehiro Taguchi scored 15 and Anthony Kent 14. Mike Anderson contributed nine points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals.
Thomas Fairley had 21 points and 13 rebounds for Miyazaki (8-35) and Abdullahi Kuso scored 16 with 11 boards. Hiroki Oshiro dished out 10 assists.
B-Corsairs 92, Cinq Reves 75
In Tokyo, All-Star Draelon Burns scored 29 points and Thomas Kennedy and Masayuki Kabaya, the other two members of Yokohama’s Big Three, combined for 41 points as the B-Corsairs routed the hosts and picked up their fourth victory in five days.
Yokohama (30-12) swept the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix in a midweek series.
Now, the B-Corsairs are one win away from matching their victory total from last season, when they went 31-21 as an expansion team. Yokohama reached the Final Four in the 2011-12 campaign.
Burns, a DePaul University alum, was 9-for-19 from the field with four 3s along with seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals off the bench. Kennedy scored 26 points, including 9-for-13 from inside the arc. Kabaya added 15 points, 3-for-3 from long range, with three steals. Faye Pape Mour had nine points and 10 rebounds. Kenji Yamada dished out six assists for Yokohama, which had 20 assists on the afternoon and seven turnovers.
The B-Corsairs outscored the Cinq Reves 33-15 in the fourth quarter.
Tokyo standouts Jonathan Jones and Cohey Aoki were held to a combined 18-for-52 from the field in the series, the former was 9-for-27 in the two games. Limiting their effectiveness was a key aspect of Yokohoma’s defensive game plan.
“Most definitely, we had some success earlier in the season against them and wanted to employ the same type of strategy,” Yokohama coach Reggie Geary told The Japan Times. “Obviously, with the introduction of (Ricky) Woods to their team, (it) required some additional tweaking to our plans, but we felt fairly good with the plan.
“(I’m) really proud of the guys for battling all week with four games in five days. Our 16th quarter of the week was our best and that tells you a lot about our team.
“Everyone is performing their roles well right now, and the scary thing is we can still play better.”
Woods led Tokyo (15-27) with 21 points, Aoki scored 16 and Jones had 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Jets 86, Rizing 83
In Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, Marquise Gray scored 26 points on 10-for-13 shooting and Joe Werner had 22 points, 16 rebounds and five assists as struggling Chiba picked up a win.
The Jets (21-20) had lost seven of their previous 10 games. Marquin Chandler scored 10 points, D’Andre Bell chippd in with nine and Shota Isshiki and Hiroki Sato each had eight for Chiba.
Fukuoka shot 13-for-23 at the charity stripe. Reggie Warren, who had 18 points and 12 boards, missed eight of his 10 free throws. Julius Ashby paced the Rizing (28-15) with 21 points. Akitomo Takeno had 15 points and 10 assists and Josh Peppers and Masahiro Kano scored 11 apiece.
HeatDevils 90, Big Bulls 63
In Ninohe, Iwate Prefecture, Oita overwhelmed the hosts, improving to 15-28.
The HeatDevils led 27-12 after the opening quarter and 47-25 at intermission.
Iwate fell to 26-15.
Game statistics were unavailable at press time.
B-Corsairs win opener
The B-Corsairs held the host Cinq Reves to less than 20 points in each of the first three quarters en route to an 82-69 victory on Friday in Sumida Ward, Tokyo.
Burns scored a game-high 23 points, including 5-for-7 on 3s, and dished out five assists for Yokohama. University of New Orleans product Shawn Malloy added 20 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks and Kennedy had 12 points and eight boards. Yamada drained three 3-pointers in a nine-point performance.
Yokohama finished with eight blocks on the night, including two from Mour. Minoru Kimura, Kabaya and Yamada each had one block.
Woods paced Tokyo with 19 points, Jones scored 16 points with 12 rebounds and Aoki had 14 points.
“Good road win tonight in Tokyo,” Geary said later. “Solid performances from Shawn Malloy, Draelon Burns and Kenji Yamada — three huge 3-point shots to break open the game in the third.”
Geary added: “Defensively we were pretty solid all night and showed a lot of fight for a team playing its third game in four nights.”