Sidelined for seven games with foot and ankle ailments, forward Ray Nixon returned to the Shiga Lakestars lineup on Saturday and helped the Western Conference club defeat the visiting Akita Northern Happinets 84-67 in their bj-league series opener.
The University of Wisconsin product nailed a pair of 3-point shots and finished with eight points, two rebounds and a blocked shot off the bench.
Shiga (31-18) got 19 points apiece from Wayne Arnold and Yutaka Yokoe. Arnold added 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals in a well-rounded effort, and Yokoe contributed six boards and five assists. Shelton Colwell had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Jumpei Nakama scored 11 points.
Akita (24-25) trailed 26-8 after the opening quarter in Yasu, Shiga Prefecture.
Dion Harris paced the Northern Happinets with 25 points on 9-for-21 shooting, including 5-for-14 from 3-point range. Marshall Brown scored 15 points and Yuki Togashi had 14 for Akita.
The Happinets launched 35 3-point shots and 30 from inside the arc.
Big Bulls 86, Shining Suns 59
In Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture, Dillion Sneed was 10-for-10 from the field, highlighted by a trio of dunks, in a game-best 23-point night for the hosts.
Miyazaki fell to a league-worst 9-42.
The Big Bulls (32-17), guided by Coach of the Year candidate Dai Oketani, held a 28-11 advantage after the opening period.
Carlos Dixon scored 14 points and Reggie Okosa and Kenichi Takahashi each had 13 for Iwate, and Naoto Takushi supplied nine.
For Miyazaki, Thomas Farley led the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds and Abdullahi Kuso scored 15 points.
Broncos 100, Susanoo Magic 98
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, John “Helicopter” Humphrey and Yuki Kitamuki combined for 69 points to lead Saitama to a narrow victory over the hosts.
Humphrey sank 6 of 11 3-pointers and scored a game-best 41 points with 14 rebounds, six steals and four assists. Kitamuki had 29 points and five assists and Masahide Haraguchi added 13 points and six rebounds.
Saitama jumped out to a 32-14 lead after the opening quarter and put 32 more points on the board in the second quarter.
Shimane (31-18) trailed 64-44 at the break, and stormed back by outscoring the Broncos (15-34) 35-17 in the third quarter.
For the Magic, Edward Yamamoto buried 7 of 12 3s in a team-high 29-point outing with six assists. Michael Parker supplied 24 points, 13 rebounds, five steals, four assists and three blocks and Jeral Davis scored 17 points. B.J. Puckett had 11 points and Tatsuhiro Yokoo had 10.
HeatDevils 91, Grouses 85
In Beppu, Oita Prefecture, Taishiro Shimizu scored 21 points and Thomas Granado scored 18 and pulled down 10 rebounds as the HeatDevils edged Toyama.
Verdell Jones III chipped in with 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Oita (21-30), and Andre Coimbra also had 16 points, while Kohei Mitomo poured in 11 with seven assists.
The Grouses (32-17) struggled on 3-point shots, missing 20 of 23, including Angel Garcia’s 0-for-7 effort. Ira Brown paced Toyama with 26 points. Jeremy Jacob had 19 points for the Grouses, Masashi Joho scored 13 and Takeshi Mito had 11
Jets 74, B-Corsairs 67
In Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Chiba dominated from the opening tipoff until the end of the first quarter against host Yokohama.
The result? The Jets led 28-8 after 10 minutes of play and held on for the win.
Chiba (25-24) drained 9 of 16 3s. Kensuke Tanaka was 4-for-4 from long range and had a team-best 14 points. Marquin Chandler scored 13 points, D’Andre Bell had 11 and Takaki Ishida and Shota Isshiki eight apiece. Marquise Gray finished with seven points and 11 boards.
For Yokohama (32-17), Draelon Burns was the top scorer with 24 points, Thomas Kennedy had 19 and Masayuki Kabaya 15. Faye Pape Mour added eight points, 10 boards, two steals and two blocks.
The B-Corsairs shot 12.5 percent (3-for-24) on 3s.
“We had a disappointing loss tonight that was all but decided in the first 10 minutes,” Yokohama coach Reggie Geary told The Japan Times. “We really were too casual to start on both ends. To Chiba’s credit, they knocked down shots and were the more aggressive squad early.
“Tonight was a great example of how you can win three out of four quarters and lose a game. I’m really proud of our guys for continuing to fight to the end, but being down 20 after one quarter was too much.”
Golden Kings 86, CinqReves 56
In Tokyo, five-time title winner Jeff Newton made his return to the Ryukyu lineup after missing the past month with a knee inury that required surgery, and the Golden Kings hammered the hosts.
Tokyo trailed 48-26 at halftime at Ota City Gym.
Anthony McHenry led the Golden Kings (39-10) with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Terrance Woodbury scored 19 points and Naoto Kosuge and Dzaflo Larkai both had 13 points. Narito Namizato added seven assists for the reigning champions.
Newton had three points, eight rebounds, one assist and one block in 19 minutes off the bench.
For Tokyo (16-33), Ricky Woods scored 24 points with 13 boards and Cohey Aoki had nine points.
Phoenix 97, Crane Thunders 87
In Shinto, Gunma Prefecture, Kevin Galloway’s 25-point, 14-rebound, six-assist performance sparked Hamamatsu Higashimikawa to a win over the hosts.
Jeffrey Parmer added 17 points, 10 boards and six assists for the Phoenix (27-22) and Shinnosuke Oishi had 12 points. Elbert Fuqua and Masahiro Oguchi each scored 11 points.
Dominique Keller finished with 38 points for Gunma (12-37) and Jermaine Dixon had 16.
89ers 81, Brave Warriors 79
In Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture, balance scoring guided Sendai to a narrow win over the hosts.
T.J. Cummings had 19 points to lead the 89ers (20-29), Takuya Komoda scored 17, Maurice Hargrow 16 and Sam Willard 12 with 23 rebounds. Takehiko Shimura and Hargrow each had five assists.
Takato Saito was the top Shinshu scorer, finishing with 20 points and nine assists and Edward Morris had 17 points for the Brave Warriors (16-33), who shot 13-for-26 at the foul line.
Albirex BB 85, Evessa 76
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, the Albirex were efficient from 3-point range, knocking down 11 of 24 shots in a win over Osaka.
Kimitake Sato canned 4 of 8 3s and scored 16 points, and was one of four Niigata players with two or more 3s. Nile Murry scored 20 points, Shuhei Komatsu had 12 and Rodney Webb, Yuichi Ikeda and Chris Holm all scored 11 apiece. Holm hauled in 17 regbounds. Hirotaka Kondo dished out seven assists and made four steals for the Albirex (33-16).
Niigata, which sits atop the Eastern Conference standings with one more win than Iwate, Yokohama and Toyama, scored 30 second-quarter points and led 46-33 at halftime.
Dwayne Lathan was Osaka’s top scorer with 16 points on 4-for-16 shooting. Rick Rickert added 12 points and Mike Bell had eight. Shun Watanuki scored nine points for the Evessa (22-27).
Five Arrows 90, Hannaryz 76
In Takamatsu, Dexter Lyons had 23 points and Brandon Penn scored 20 and the Five Arrows picked up 12 steals en route to victory over Kyoto.
Paul Williams added 13 points and 10 rebounds and Yusuke Kodera scored nine for Takamatsu (20-31), which went 2-50 last season. Lyons added nine boards, seven assists and three steals in the win.
Yu Okada had 23 points, but finished with seven turnovers for the Hannaryz (27-22). Jermaine Boyette scored 20 points, Marcus Cousin had 15 and Masaharu Kataoka had 11.