Former Ryukyu Golden Kings coach Koto Toyama faced his old team on Saturday for the first time since he was fired in May after leading the Okinawan powerhouse to a league-record 42-win season that didn’t include a trip to the Final Four.
Toyama’s new squad, the Bambitious Nara, came up short in overtime, falling 78-69 before an announced crowd of 3,431 in Okinawa City.
The Golden Kings (13-2) secured the win by outscoring the visitors 9-0 in the bonus period.
Nara, a first-year franchise, fell to 4-13.
Ryukyu’s Kibwe Trim scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed 17 rebounds (seven offensive, two more than Nara had the entire game). Anthony McHenry added 11 points, 14 boards, four assists, two steals and an assist. Reserve guard Draelon Burns had 17 points and the Kings won their fifth straight game since he joined the club while extending their winning streak to nine. Shigeyuki Kinjo scored 10 points on a night when he was 4-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 at the free-throw line.
For the Bambitious, Anthony Brown had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Tatsuya Suzuki chipped in with 13 points, six assists and three steals. Joe Chapman scored 11 points for Nara with seven assists.
The Bambitious were 12-for-41 from inside the 3-point arc.
Hannaryz 78, Lakestars 72
In Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, Yu Okada energized Kyoto in a win over its Kansai rival.
Okada, who hails from Shiga Prefecture, had 21 points, seven steals, six rebounds and five assists. He knocked down 4 of 8 3s in the series opener.
Joe Werner added 20 points and eight rebounds for the Hannaryz (11-6) and Shun Watanuki scored 17 points. David Palmer had a 12-point outing.
Brandon Fields paced Shiga (8-9) with 16 points, Marshall Brown scored 14 and Dionisio Gomez had 12 points and 13 boards. Shelton Colwell and Yutaka Yokoe each scored 10.
Northern Happinets 87, Grouses 77
In Uozu, Toyama Prefecture, Richard Roby scored a game-high 23 points and Akita shot 53.1 percent from 2-point range to beat the hosts.
Chas McFarland had 16 points, Ruben Boykin scored 14 with 15 rebounds and Yuki Togashi and Shigehiro Taguchi both had 11 points for the Eastern Conference-leading Happinets (17-2).
Toyama (13-4) had four double-digit scorers: Masashi Joho (17 points), Tatsunori Fujie (16), Josh Gross (11) and Ira Brown (10).
Big Bulls 80, Broncos 53
In Saitama, Tokorozawa Prefecture, with leading scorer John “Helicopter” Humphrey sidelined, the Broncos offense struggled mightily in a blowout loss.
Saitama (2-15) trailed 21-8 after the opening quarter.
Gyno Pomare’s 17-point, 10-rebound, five-steal effort sparked Iwate (9-6) and Lawrence Blackledge and Josh Peppers both scored 16, while Scootie Randall had 10. Kenichi Takahashi added eight points and five assists.
Mark Dawson led the Broncos with 16 points and Michael Joiner had 11.
Susanoo Magic 80, HeatDevils 79
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, Jeral Davis scored 17 points and Adrian Thomas netted 16 and raked in 11 rebounds as the hosts edged Oita.
Edward Yamamoto scored 14 points and dished out five assists for Shimane (4-13), while Shawn Malloy scored 13 points and Koki Yabuuchi had 11 points, five assists and four steals.
Devonne Giles paced the HeatDevils (10-7) with 22 points and 13 rebounds and Verdell Jones III had 20 points and seven assists. Taishiro Shimizu finished with 19 points.
Oita shot 7-for-14 at the line.
Phoenix 99, Evessa 88
In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, Cyrus Tate had a game-high 26 points on 9-for-10 shooting and Hamamatsu Higashimikawa cruised past Osaka.
The Phoenix improved to 10-7; the Evessa fell to 7-10.
Ray Nixon pumped in 15 points and Masahiro Oguchi scored 14 points for Hamamatsu, with Jermaine Dixon and Shinnosuke Oishi both supplying 12 before a crowd of 4,480.
Nixon grabbed 11 rebounds and Dixon dished out 13 assists with one turnover in a banner performance.
Free-throw shooting woes (24-for-45, including Dillion Sneed’s 1-for-10) dealt a serious blow to Osaka’s chances of winning the game.
Hamamatsu took a 41-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Sneed and Yosuke Sugawara both scored 21 points for the Evessa. Sugawara, however, was 10-for-10 at the line.
Naoto Nakamura had 15 points for Osaka and Kevin Galloway added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Five Arrows 83, B-Corsairs 75
In Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Sean Smith scored 24 points on 8-for-9 shooting and Dexter Lyons poured in 16 to lead Takamatsu past the defending champions.
Andrais Thornton had 13 points, Tsubasa Yonezawa scored nine (3-for-3 from long range) and Paul Williams contributed eight points and 11 boards. The Five Arrows (6-9) were 12-for-26 on 3-point shots.
Kenji Yamada had 19 points for Yokohama (7-10), matching teammate Omar Reed’s scoring total. Marquise Grey added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Wayne Marshall scored nine points and Masayuki Kabaya and Satoshi Hisayama had eight apiece.
Cinq Reves 71, Crane Thunders 66
In Fujioka, Gunma Prefecture, Tokyo emerged victorious despite its 3-for-22 3-point shooting in a showdown of second-year franchises.
The Cinq Reves did grab 21 offensive rebounds, though, and went to the line for 30 free-throw attempts (20 makes). Edward Morris paced Tokyo (6-11) with 21 points and Yuji Ide had 20. Ricky Woods made his mark with 17 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and three steals for the visitors.
Darko Cohadarevic scored 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for Gunma (2-15). Kenya Tomori had a 15-point performance, while Carlos Dixon added 11 points and five steals.
89ers 78, Wat’s 72
In Sendai, Wendell White and Travele Jones combined for 41 points and 20 rebounds to spark the hosts to a triumph over Aomori.
White scored 21 points and filled the stat sheet with nine rebounds, five assists and two steals on the night. James Hughes poured in eight points for Sendai (8-9). Jones collected a team-best 11 boards. Captain Takehiko Shimura had five points, five assists and three steals for the 89ers, who have won five straight games.
Abdullahi Kuso had 19 points and 15 rebounds for Aomori (8-9) and Gordon Klaiber scored 16.
The Wat’s missed 17 of 20 3-pointers.
Brave Warriors 81, Albirex BB 77
In Ina, Nagano Prefecture, balanced scoring led Shinshu to its sixth victory in seven games as coach Ryuji Kawai’s club completed a series sweep.
Patrick Sanders buried 4 of 8 3-point shots in a 19-point afternoon and Xavier Gibson poured in 16 points for the Brave Warriors (11-5). Emanuel Willis scored 14 points, Shota Konno and Dai Suzuki had 11 apiece and Yosuke Saito added 10 points. Konno handed out a team-high five assists and collected three steals.
This game closely resembled what has been a key for Shinshu’s success this season. Seven players are averaging 6.6 or more points per game.
For Niigata (13-7), Nile Murry was the top scorer with 19 points and Patrick Sullivan had 14 with eight rebounds. Suleiman Braimoh added 11 points and Rodney Webb scored nine. Yuichi Ikeda finished with seven points on 2-for-9 shooting.
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Team name revealed: The new Tohoku expansion team, which will enter the league next season, announced on Saturday it will be known as the Fukushima Firebonds.
League president Hidemitsu Nakano and the expansion team’s president, Eiji Miyata, attended a news conference on Friday at the Fukushima Prefectural office, where, the Fukushima Minyu Shimbun reported that the Koriyama-based team’s colors will include purple because of the prefecture’s famous rhododendron flowers.
More than 1,200 submissions for the team nickname were received, it was revealed.
The Firebonds name was chosen because it symbolizes a “bond” and “unity,” said Miyata, according to the newspaper.