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Akita hammers Shinshu, raises record to 7-0

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Akita Northern Happinets extended their perfect start to the 2013-14 bj-league season on Saturday, trouncing the visiting Shinshu Brave Warriors 113-82.

Richard Roby led all scorers with 34 points on 11-for-16 shooting and earned repeated trips to the free-throw line, where he calmly sank 9 of 11 shots for Akita (7-0).

Rising star Yuki Togashi added 28 points and 11 assists in the rout. The 20-year-old point guard has dished out 32 assists in the past three games. Teammate Chas McFarland had 20 points and 16 rebounds for the Happinets, who led 31-15 after one quarter.

Ruben Boykin added 18 points and 12 rebounds. He leads the league in rebounding (14.2 per game). Shigehiro Taguchi scored eight points.
Akita shot 52.9 percent (27-for-51) from 2-point range and 43.3 percent (13-for-30) from beyond the arc.

For the Brave Warriors (3-2), Patrick Sanders led the way with 22 points, knocking down five 3s. Xavier Gibson scored a season-high 18 points and Shota Konno poured in 14. Jeffrey Parmer and Shoji Nakanishi each had eight points for coach Ryuji Kawai’s club.

Hannaryz 83, Phoenix 76

In Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, Edwin Ubiles scored 29 points, knocking down 4 of 6 3-pointers and providing a major spark off the bench, as coach Honoo Hamaguchi’s club defeated Hamamatsu Higashimikawa and improved to 5-0.

Last season, Kyoto went 0-8 to open the season, then started to collect wins at a rapid pace.

Yu Okada had a 12-point performance for the Hannaryz and Chris Holm added nine points and 12 rebounds. Hayato Kantake contributed eight points, Shun Watanuki had seven and David Palmer six.

For Hamamatsu (3-4), Jermaine Dixon scored a team-best 21 points, but missed 10 of 14 3-point shots. He had five assists in the loss. Deshawn Stephens scored 14 points and Aki Chambers and Cyrus Tate had 10 apiece for the Phoenix.

In a narrow loss, Hamamatsu’s 13-for-21 shooting at the foul line proved critical.

B-Corsairs 86, 89ers 78

In Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, Marquise Gray had 28 points and 13 rebounds to lead Yokohama to its second victory in as many days over struggling Sendai.

For the second straight game, the B-Corsairs had a sizable advantage in rebounds, grabbing 52 on Saturday and holding the short-handed 89ers to 38.

Yokohama (4-2) had two players grab 10 or more boards, including Omar Reed, who finished with 18 points, 17 rebounds and five assists. Captain Masayuki Kabaya added 11 points and six assists and Wayne Marshall scored 10 points for the reigning champions. Point guard Kenji Yamada chipped in with eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and seven assists.

“Sendai was very aggressive, offensively attacking the basket, and got hot from 3-point range as well,” Yokohama coach Michael Katsuhisa told The Japan Times. “It took all five guys on the floor working together to stop them, and our defense must continue to improve.

“Our backcourt of Masayuki Kabaya and Kenji Yamada were steady and solid and made good decisions for us. Marquise Gray had a great night and we really played through him for a stretch. Gray and Omar Reed continue to be huge for us on the boards. Satoshi Hisayama gave us great energy off the bench and played great defense, as he has been the last four games.”

The 89ers fell to 2-6 under first-year head coach Shuto Kawachi, the 28-year-old son of bj-league commissioner Toshimitsu Kawachi.

Former MVP Wendell White sat out the series finale after sustaining a concussion on Friday. The Sendai star had a 23-point, 15-rebound game on Friday. Fellow 89ers big man Dzaflo Larkai (knee injury) has missed the past three games.

Sendai led 41-37 at halftime.

Travele Jones, a Texas Southern alum, paced the 89ers with 29 points and finished with 11 rebounds, eight assists and six steals. Shooting guard Yasuhiko Wada, a 23-year-old rookie, added 18 points, Takehiko Shimura had 13 points and six assists and James Hughes had an eight-point afternoon.

Evessa 80, Broncos 68

In Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, balanced scoring carried the hosts to a convincing win over Saitama.

Eight Evessa players scored five or more points, including four in double figures: Marcus Capers (15), Dillion Sneed (13), Yosuke Sugawara (12) and Naoto Nakamura (11). Kevin Galloway contributed nine points and seven assists and Samuel Green Jr. had eight points. Guard Haruyuki Ishibashi, who turns 40 in December, collected a team-best three steals.

Osaka made 23 of 39 shots from inside the arc. Conversely, Saitama made 19 of 44.

Michael Joiner scored 21 points for the Broncos (2-5) and John Humphrey had 19.
The Evessa jumped out to a 26-9 advantage at the end of the first stanza.

Osaka is winning with team-first basketball by getting a number of players to step up. Sugawara, for instance, has thrived under new Osaka coach Shunsuke Todo. In the past four games, he’s made 15 of 21 shots from inside the arc.

Grouses 68, Big Bulls 53

In Takizawa, Iwate Prefecture, Toyama used a strong second quarter to gain momentum and roll to victory over the hosts.

The Grouses trailed 20-16 after the opening quarter, then outscored the Big Bulls 19-6 in the next 10 minutes to take a 35-26 advantage into intermission.

Toyama improved to 5-0. Iwate fell to 3-2.

Ira Brown paced the Grouses with 20 points along with 10 rebounds and seven steals. Josh Gross scored 12 points, Takeshi Mito added 11 and Masashi Joho 10. Sam Willard contributed eight points and 12 rebounds.

For Iwate, Gyno Pomare was the high scorer with 11 points, followed by Lawrence Blackledge with nine and Kenichi Takahashi with eight.

The Big Bulls had 19 turnovers and shot 22-for-65 from the field.

Wat’s 74, Cinq Reves 54

In Tokyo, Aomori pounded the boards for 64 total rebounds and held the hosts to 34 in a one-sided win.

Abdullahi Kuso raked in 19 rebounds and had a 15-point effort for the Wat’s (3-4) and Anthony Kent added 11 points and 18 rebounds. Yuki Kitamuki, a former Saitama standout, finished with 20 points.
Tokyo had a poor night on offense, making 18 of 46 shots. Edward Morris was the hosts’ high scorer with 23 points and Yuji Ide netted 10. Ricky Woods missed the game due to a knee injury.

Albirex BB 81, Crane Thunders 70

In Niigata, Nile Murry energized the hosts with 23 points and Yuichi Ikeda drained four 3s en route to 21 points in a victory over Gunma.

Patrick Sullivan added 14 points and 14 rebounds for Niigata (4-3) and Rodney Webb had a productive evening, posting these numbers: 12 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Kimitake Sato scored seven points and collected four steals.

Niigata seized control of the game in the fourth quarter, outscoring Gunma 33-20.

For the Crane Thunders (1-4), Shingo Okada and Marvell Waithe each scored 17 points and Trey Britton and Darko Cohadarevic both had eight, the latter also pulling down 13 boards.

“Same story, different game for us,” Gunma coach Ryan Blackwell told The Japan Times. “Up 14 at the half and came out flat in the third quarter. We had 19 turnovers and gave up 21 offensive rebounds and were outhustled overall in the second half. We have to be consistent for a full game.”

Five Arrows 73, Susanoo Magic 67

In Bizen, Okayama Prefecture, Shimane, a playoff team in each of its first three seasons, fell to 0-7 under first-year coach Vlasios Vlaikidis.

Takamatsu’s Dexter Lyons scored a game-high 30 points and teammates Paul Williams and Andrais Thornton added 14 and 10, respectively, for the fourth-year franchise.

Williams hauled in 10 boards to complete the double-double. He was the only player on either team with 10 or more rebounds. Yusuke Kodera pumped in six points for the Five Arrows (2-3).

Thomas Kennedy led Shimane with 29 points and Jeral Davis contributed 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

Golden Kings 68, Rizing 61

In Okinawa City, Anthony McHenry, Scootie Randall and Kibwe Trim all notched double-doubles to guide Ryukyu to a victory over Western Conference rival Fukuoka.

Randall scored 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Trim finished with 12 and 12 for the Golden Kings (5-2), who triumphed despite scoring only 22 second-half points.

Anthony McHenry and Naoto Kosuge both scored 11 points for Ryukyu. McHenry, the 2012-13 regular-season MVP, raked in 11 rebounds and handed out four assists.

Cohey Aoki led the Rizing (3-4) with 14 points and Akitomo Takeno and Reggie Warren both scored 11. Warren pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds.

The Rizing shot 24-for-67 overall. They also struggled at the free-throw line (8-for-17).

Game postponed: For the second straight day, the Oita HeatDevils-Bambitious Nara game in Oita was called off due to Typhoon Francisco. Details on possible makeup dates were unavailable at press time.