The shots weren’t falling and their overall game was not a thing of beauty, not a well-choreographed artistic production.
Didn’t matter. The Ryukyu Golden Kings found a way to win.
They edged the host Osaka Evessa 79-77 in overtime on Saturday, running their winning streak to 11 games.
Overall they shot 28-for-83 from the field, but converted 14 of 19 at the free-throw line and outscored the Evessa 20-10 in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime knotted at 71-71.
Anthony McHenry, the regular-season MVP last season, led Ryukyu with 18 points and Draelon Burns came off the bench and scored 17, Naoto Kosuge added 14 and Kibwe Trim had nine points and grabbed 15 boards.
The Golden Kings (15-2) are 7-0 since Burns joined the team.
Kevin Galloway scored 23 points and hauled in 15 rebounds for Osaka (8-11), Yosuke Sugawara had 16 points, but was 0-for-8 on 3-point shots and Dillion Sneed scored 12 and went 2-for-9 at the charity stripe. As a team, Osaka shot 12-for-24 at the line, and it’s a continuing problem for coach Shunsuke Todo’s club.
To their credit, the Evessa played a high-energy game and collected 61 rebounds to the Kings’ 56.
In a fierce rivalry that dates to the start of the 2008-09 season, the teams have won five of the league’s eight titles to date, with Osaka capturing the first three and Ryukyu emerging as a powerhouse team after star big man Jeff Newton left the Evessa in 2008 to join the Golden Kings.
Newton had a quiet game against his former team, with three rebounds and two blocks in 10:52 of court time.
Susanoo Magic 77, Wat’s 76
In Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, University of Miami product Adrian Thomas sank 7 of 8 3-pointers in a 23-point outburst as the Susanoo Magic edged Aomori.
Shawn Malloy notched a double-double (17 points, 12 rebounds) for Shimane, which improved to 5-14. Jeral Davis had 12 points and Edward Yamamoto scored 10 points with seven assists.
For the Wat’s (8-11), newcomer Stanley Ocitti scored 29 points on 12-for-15 shooting in his first game in an Aomori uniform. Makoto Sawaguchi added 12 points and Yuki Kitamuki had nine points and four assists. Abdullahi Kuso scored eight points and collected nine rebounds.
Grouses 93, Cinq Reves 77
In Tokyo, Sam Willard scored a team-high 21 points on 10-for-13 shooting, grabbed 13 rebounds and handed out five assists for Toyama in a victory over the hosts.
Josh Gross added 13 points, Masashi Joho and Ira Brown scored 12 apiece and Josh Benson and Tatsunori Fujie both had 11 for the Grouses (15-4).
Brown contributed 15 rebounds, six assists and three blocks in the win. Toyama finished with 27 assists on the night.
Tokyo fell to 6-13. Yuji Ide scored 22 points on 8-for-24 shooting and big man Anthony Stover, a UCLA alum, had 21 points, 15 rebounds, six blocks and four steals in the loss.
HeatDevils 86, Phoenix 75
In Bungo-ono, Oita Prefecture, Gabe McCulley had 24 points and 14 rebounds as the HeatDevils bounced back from a Friday defeat against Hamamatsu Higashimikawa.
Oita (12-8) finished with 20 assists on 29 field goals, led by Taishiro Shimizu’s six and Verdell Jones III’s four.
Hiroki Oshiro knocked down 4 of 6 3s and added 16 points, Shimizu scored 13 and Jones had 10 along with three steals. Devonne Giles and Shuichi Takada both had eight points.
Jermaine Dixon had 16 points and 11 assists for Hamamatsu, while Masahiro Oguchi sank four 3s in a 14-point afternoon and Deshawn Stephens added 13 points. Atsuya Ota had nine points and eight rebounds and Aki Chambers scored eight points.
The Phoenix were 12-for-30 on 3-point shots.
B-Corsairs 71, Northern Happinets 68
In Akita, defending champion Yokohama won the battle on the boards (60-40) and picked up its biggest victory of the season by edging the hosts.
The B-Corsairs improved to 9-10; the Happinets fell to 17-4.
Omar Reed scored a team-high 19 points and matched teammate Marquise Grey’s 12 rebounds. Grey had 17 points and three steals. Masayuki Kabaya added 15 points and Wayne Marshall scored 10. Kenji Yamada dished out six assists.
Guard/forward Marcus Simmons, who played for the B-Corsairs during the team’s inaugural 2011-12 season, returned to the team this week and made his season debut on Saturday. He entered the game as a reserve and played just under 20 minutes, contributing six points, four rebounds and a steal before fouling out.
Richard Roby was Akita’s high scorer with 17 points and Yuki Togashi had 15. Shigehiro Taguchi, held to 1-for-8 3-point shooting, added 11 points and Ruben Boykin finished with 11 points and 11 boards.
The B-Corsairs outscored the hosts 19-8 in the second quarter to take a 43-27 advantage into halftime.
89ers 82, Big Bulls 77
In Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture, Wendell White’s 21-point, 11-rebound effort and Travel Jones’ 16-point, 16-rebound outing carried Sendai past the Big Bulls.
The 89ers (10-9) extended their winning streak to seven games.
Sendai point guard Takehiko Shimura had seven points and dished out nine assists without a turnover. Fumiya Sato scored 14 points, knocking down 4 of 6 3s, marking the sixth time this season he has made at least four 3s. Dzaflo Larkai also had 14 points.
Iwate (10-7) missed 13 of 14 3-point attempts.
Gyno Pomare paced the Big Bulls with 25 points, Scootie Randall scored 19 and Lawrence Blackledge had 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Brave Warriors 93, Crane Thunders 78
In Midori, Gunma Prefecture, Xavier Gibson scored 21 points and four teammates reached double figures in points as Shinshu’s depth wore down the hosts.
Shota Konno had 18 points, Patrick Sanders poured in 17, Emanuel Willis had 14 and Yosuke Saito 10 for the Brave Warriors (12-5). Gibson led the third-year franchise in rebounds (15) and assists (six), while Willis pulled down 14 rebounds.
For Gunma (3-16), Darko Cohadarevic was the top scorer with 24 points along with 15 rebounds. Masashi Obuchi had 10 points and Kenya Tomori scored nine.
Albirex BB 98, Broncos 65
In Niigata, the Albirex drained 16 of 24 3-point shots in a runaway victory over the Broncos, who lost their 14th straight game.
Leading Niigata’s brilliant effort from the beyond the arc were Kimitake Sato (4-for-4 on 3s, 14 points), Shuhei Komatsu (4-for-6, 14 points), Nile Murry (2-for-3, 17 points, five assists) and Yuichi Ikeda (3-for-4, 17 points).
The Albirex (14-7) finished with just six turnovers; the Broncos (2-17) had 17.
Michael Joiner paced Saitama with 21 points, John “Helicopter” Humphrey scored 17 and Mark Dawson 13.
Hannaryz 73, Rizing 61
In Kyoto, coach Honoo Hamaguchi’s club disrupted Fukuoka’s offensive flow, forcing 20 turnovers and holding the Rizing to 4-for-18 shooting from beyond the arc.
Compounding Fukuoka’s woes, the Rizing shot 13-for-29 at the free-throw line, failing to capitalize on those abundant scoring opportunities. Kyoto was equally awful at the line, making 10 of 23.
Joe Warner led Kyoto (12-7) with 18 points and Shun Watanuki scored 12, while Edwin Ubiles and Chris Holm had 11 apiece, the latter raking in 13 rebounds.
The Hannaryz collected 13 steals and won for the eighth time in 11 home games.
Reggie Warren and Julius Ashby each scored 13 points for Fukuoka (8-9) and Akitomo Takeno had eight.
Five Arrows 78, Lakestars 69
In Kanonji, Kagawa Prefecture, Sean Smith scored 23 points and Dexter Lyons had 19 for the victorious Five Arrows (7-10).
Takamatsu’s Paul Williams had 17 rebounds, including eight offensive boards against Shiga. Hiroyuki Kikuchi added eight points for the Five Arrows.
Brandon Fields scored 23 points for the Lakestars (9-10) and Dionisio Gomez and Jumpei Nakama each had 10. Shiga turned the ball over 21 times.