With three teams with double-digits wins setting the pace in the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference-leading Ryukyu Golden Kings enjoying a bye week, the 2013-14 bj-league season has entered its third month.
Surprising nobody, the Akita Northern Happinets improved to 10-0 at home over the weekend, competing with impressive precision in Oga, Akita Prefecture, where bench boss Kazuo Nakamura’s squad handed the Gunma Crane Thunders an 86-76 defeat.
Like a well-oiled machine, the Happinets (16-2) were in fine form in the series finale. Richard Roby scored 22 points and Chas McFarland poured in 20 with nine rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots.
Ruben Bokyin, no stranger to all-out effort in the lane, had 12 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, while Shigehiro Taguchi scored 15 points, as did Yuki Togashi, who dished out seven assists.
For Gunma (2-14), newcomer Carlos Dixon scored 19 points, Darko Cohadarevic had 18 and Shingo Okada 14.
Hannaryz 89, Grouses 81
In Fukuchiyama, Kyoto Prefecture, former Washington Wizard Edwin Ubiles rebounded from a season-low six points on Saturday by scoring 23 in just over 24 minutes playing time as the hosts salvaged a series split.
Kyoto (10-6) drained 9 of 16 3-pointers, including 4-for-5 from Yu Okada (14 points). Shun Watanuki added 10 points and David Palmer nine.
For Toyama (13-3), Ira Brown had a team-best 25 points with nine rebounds and six assists and Masashi Joho scored 21 points with seven assists. Sam Willard had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Takeshi Mito added 10 points.
It was a tough afternoon for Tatsunori Fujie, who shot 0-for-9 from the field and finished with zero points.
Albirex BB 93, Cinq Reves 77
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, floor leader Nile Murry set the tone for the Albirex, providing 19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as they beat Tokyo for the second time in as many days.
Niigata improved to 13-5; Tokyo fell to 5-11.
Patrick Sullivan was the Albirex’s top scorer with 21 points and Rodney Webb had 15, with both hauling in nine rebounds.
It was a hot-shooting performance for Niigata: 10-for-22 on 3s, 25-for-49 from inside the arc and 13-for-13 at the free-throw line, including Yuichi Ikeda’s 5-for-5.
Edward Morris led the Cinq Reves with 26 points and knocked down 5 of 7 3s. Ricky Woods scored 23 points and Yuji Ide had 10 points and five assists.
HeatDevils 75, Five Arrows 71 (OT)
In Zentsuji, Kagawa Prefecture, Verdell Jones III scored 28 points and Devonne Giles had 13 points and 18 rebounds to guide Oita past Takamatsu.
Gabe McCulley scored 16 points for the HeatDevils (10-6).
The Five Arrows (5-9) played without star Dexter Lyons, who sat out the game due to an injury.
Takamatsu’s Sean Smith, meanwhile, logged a season-high 43 minutes (his previous high was 27) and led the squad with 21 points and six steals. Masaaki Suzuki finished with 13 points and Paul Williams had 11 points, 12 boards and four steals in defeat.
Wat’s 74, B-Corsairs 65
In Aomori, Yuki Kitamuki had the hot outside shooting touch, connecting on 5 of 6 3-point attempts in a 21-point afternoon as the Wat’s swept defending champion Yokohama.
Aomori, an expansion club, improved to 8-8 (6-4 at home) on a day when forward Lamar Roberson poured in 19 points and sank 11 of 12 free throws. Gordon Klaiber had a 15-point effort and Yuta Kojima collected a season-best four steals.
Marquise Gray paced the B-Corsairs (7-9) with 24 points. Omar Reed contributed 19 points and 14 rebounds and Masayuki Kabaya had 13 points.
Yokohama struggled at the free-throw line (19-for-30), missed 14 of 18 3s and turned the ball over 16 times.
89ers 91, Broncos 72
In Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, Wendell White’s 24-point, 11-rebound performance and a dominating third quarter carried the hosts to a runaway victory over Saitama.
Outscoring the Broncos 28-11 in the 10-minute period after intermission, Sendai took a 67-41 advantage into the final stanza.
Travele Jones and Fumiya Sato each had 14 points for the 89ers (7-9), James Hughes chipped in with 11 points and 10 rebounds and Takehiko Shimura added eight assists.
Saitama fell to 2-14 under first-year coach Takatoshi “Big Bashi” Ishibashi.
John “Helicopter” Humphrey was the Broncos’ top scorer with 27 points and Mark Dawson had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Brave Warriors 73, Big Bulls 71
In Takizawa, Iwate Prefecture, Xavier Gibson’s 24-point, 17-rebound outing helped carry Shinshu to a narrow victory over the hosts.
The Brave Warriors (9-5) earned a split, with Patrick Sanders canning four 3s in a 17-point afternoon and Shota Konno netting 12 points. Jeffrey Parmer had nine points and eight rebounds.
For Iwate (8-6), Gyno Pomare led the team with 24 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks and Tsubasa Yonamine scored 13 points.
Bambitious 62, Phoenix 60
In Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, after a one-point setback in the series opener, Bambitious coach Koto Toyama’s club returned the favor in another down-to-the-wire contest.
Anthony Brown and Adrian Moss scored 19 and 14 points, respectively for Nara, a first-year franchise. Tatsuya Suzuki dished out seven assists for the Bambitious (4-12).
Ray Nixon was Hamamatsu Higashimikawa’s top scorer with 14 points and Deshawn Stephens had 11. The Phoenix fell to 9-7.
The teams shot a combined 7-for-37 from 3-point range.
Susanoo Magic 86, Evessa 68
In Osaka, Adrian Thomas recorded a double-double and Jeral Davis and Shawn Malloy scored 16 points apiece as Shimane walloped the Evessa.
Thomas finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds and Edward Yamamoto, a day before his 27th birthday, had 13 points for the Susanoo Magic (3-13). Veteran forward Kazuya “J.” Hatano had his best overall game of the season for Shimane, supplying 11 points and nine rebounds.
Zach Andrews scored 17 points, including four dunks, and pulled down 12 rebounds for Osaka (7-9), and teammates Kevin Galloway and Dillion Sneed both had 12 points.