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Happinets keep unbeaten run going

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Nearly one-fourth of the 2013-14 bj-league season has now been played, and the Akita Northern Happinets are still unbeaten.

Coach Kazuo Nakamura’s team reigned supreme on Sunday before a packed house of 3,494 spectators in Akita, winning 105-82 and improving to 12-0.

Richard Roby led the Happinets with 22 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists and Shigehiro Taguchi shot a jaw-dropping 7-for-7 from 3-point range for all of his 21 points.

Akita had a 15-point lead after the opening quarter and took a 63-38 advantage into the intermission. The hosts buried 15 of 27 3-point shots and 29 of 49 from inside the arc. They also had a 52-32 edge in rebounds and seven Akita players finished with two or more assists (26 total).

Happinets big man Chas McFarland, a commanding presence in the low post, contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Elhadji Wade finished with 12 points and Ruben Boykin added 11 points and eight assists for Akita.

For Sendai (3-9), Wendell White scored 20 points and hauled in 11 rebounds. Travele Jones added 17 points, James Hughes had 12 and Taishiro Shimizu scored 11 points and distributed five assists.

Big Bulls 81, Evessa 75

In Ninohe, Iwate Prefecture, the hosts found their scoring rhythm early and jumped out to a 24-4 lead after one quarter en route to their second victory in as many days.

Gyno Pomare paced the Big Bulls (6-4) with 22 points, 11 rebounds and four steals. Lawrence Blackledge added 17 points, eight boards, four steals, three assists and one block and newcomer Scootie Randall, traded to Iwate from the Ryukyu Golden Kings earlier this week, had 12 points, as did Kenichi Takahashi. Masato Tsukino had an eight-point afternoon and Tsubasa Yonamine supplied seven points and four assists for Iwate.

The Big Bulls made 13 steals in the series finale.

For Osaka (6-4), Kevin Galloway was the top scorer, finishing with 18 points along with six rebounds, six assists and five turnovers. Zach Andrews had a 12-point, 12-rebound effort in the loss. Haruyuki Ishibashi, Dillion Sneed and Naoto Nakamura all scored nine points.

The Evessa have lost three straight games and free-throw shooting has been a major cause for their struggles. During the losing streak, Osaka is 30-for-63 at the line, including 8-for-19 on Sunday.

Grouses 82, Crane Thunders 63

In Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture, Ira Brown had 25 points and 11 rebounds and Masashi Joho poured in 18 points as Toyama rolled to its ninth victory in 10 games under second-year coach Bob Nash.

Gunma, conversely, fell to 1-9.

Takeshi Mito chipped in with 12 points and five assists for the Grouses, who secured an 18-7 advantage in offensive rebounds.

Darko Cohadarevic led the Crane Thunders with 19 points and Trey Britton scored 10, while Kenya Tomori and Yuto Okumoto each had seven.

Brave Warriors 69, Wat’s 64

In Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture, solid teamwork carried Shinshu to a narrow victory as it completed a series sweep over Aomori.

Emanuel Willis and Jeffrey Parmer scored 13 points apiece, Shoji Nakanishi netted 12 and Patrick Sanders and Xavier Gibson both had 11 for the Brave Warriors (6-4).

The expansion Wat’s, who entered the series riding a four-game win streak, were led by Gordon Klaiber’s 22 points. Teammate Yuki Kitamuki had 11 points and Abdullahi Kuso contributed eight points and 17 rebounds for Aomori (6-6).

Albirex BB 69, B-Corsairs 67

In Niigata, Nile Murry scored 17 points and Suleiman Braimoh poured in 15 to guide the hosts to a narrow victory over defending champion Yokohama.

Yuichi Ikeda and Patrick Sullivan had 11 points apiece and Kimitake Sato scored seven for the Albirex (8-4), who have won six of their last seven games.

Niigata is 3-1 in the four games since adding Rice University product Braimoh, a forward, to the lineup. He’s averaging 10.5 points per game.

Marquise Gray scored a team-best 26 points and raked in 16 rebounds for Yokohama (5-5). Masayuki Kabaya and Omar Reed scored 16 and 10 points, respectively, for the B-Corsairs, who were 14-for-24 at the charity stripe.

Hannaryz 77, Bambitious 64

In Kyoto, Yu Okada reached the 20-point plateau for the second time this season, Edwin Ubiles scored 19 points and the hosts finished strong to salvage a series split.

Okada made 8 of 14 shots from the field in his 20-point afternoon. David Palmer provided 15 points, Shun Watanuki had 10 and the Hannaryz (6-4) outscored Nara 22-9 in the pivotal fourth quarter.

Jamar Abrams paced the Bambitious (1-9) with 14 points, Jumpei Honda and Adrian Moss both scored 12, a season-high output for the former, and Joe Chapman had nine. Tatsuya Suzuki handed out four assists.

Phoenix 83, Susanoo Magic 73

In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, Cyrus Tate scored 20 points, Aki Chambers had 19 and Hamamatsu Higashimikawa completed a weekend sweep over the struggling Susanoo Magic.

The Phoenix raised their record to 8-4, second only to the idle Ryukyu Golden Kings’ .800 winning percentage (8-2 record) in the 10-team Western Conference.

Jermaine Dixon pumped in 12 points, Masahiro Oguchi and Deshawn Stephens each had 10 and Atsuya Ota scored nine for Hamamatsu.

Thomas Kennedy led Shimane (1-9) with 19 points and Jeral Davis scored 15. Shawn Malloy had 12.

HeatDevils 97, Lakestars 93 (OT)

In Oita, coach Yukinori Suzuki’s club outlasted Shiga in overtime to earn its second triumph of the weekend.

The HeatDevils improved to 5-5 behind Verdell Jones III’s 21-point, nine-assist, seven-rebound performance. Gabe McCulley had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Oita and Devonne Giles scored 17.

The Lakestars (6-4) had seven double-digit scorers, including Brandon Fields (14 points, six assists), Jumpei Nakama (14 points, seven assists) and Dionisio Gomez (13).