When the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix captured their first of back-to-back bj-league championships in May 2010, Masahiro Oguchi played a pivotal role in making that happen.
Oguchi’s 35-points, including 10-for-14 on 3-point shots, in the Eastern Conference final, the next-to-last game of that championship journey, was a legendary feat in league history.
On Sunday, the 37-year-old guard proved that he remains a capable scoring option for Hamamatsu, scoring a team-best 23 points in a bounce-back, 93-75 home victory over the Shinshu Brave Warriors.
Oguchi sank 6 of 10 3s, dished out three assists and collected three steals as the Phoenix improved to 12-10 under coach Tomoya Higashino. Cyrus Tate poured in 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting and Jermaine Dixon had 14 points and eight assists. Ray Nixon scored 11 points at Hamamatsu Arena before an announced crowd of 2,710.
For Shinshu (14-6), led by former Hamamatsu bench boss Ryuji Kawai, Xavier Gibson had 25 points and nine rebounds. Shota Konno scored 13 points with six assists and two blocks and Patrick Sullivan finished with 10 points. Masamune Tate had eight points for the third consecutive game.
The Brave Warriors’ six-game winning streak ended on a day when they shot 5-for-19 from beyond the arc. The Phoenix were 12-for-25 on 3s.
Golden Kings 61, Wat’s 57
In Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, reigning regular-season MVP Anthony McHenry’s all-around contributions provided a major spark for Ryukyu.
McHenry, a key star on two title-winning Kings teams, filled the stat sheet with 19 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks as Ryukyu (17-3) salvaged a series split.
Draelon Burns added 13 points for the Golden Kings, who led 38-30 at halftime. Shigeyuki Kinjo and Morihisa Yamauchi each had eight points and Jeff Newton grabbed nine rebounds and blocked two shots.
For Aomori (10-12), Yuki Yamaguchi scored a season-best 11 points and Gordon Klaiber had 10 for the expansion team. Anthony Kent finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. The Wat’s were held to 29.4 percent shooting (15-for-51) from inside the arc.
In a well-played series, the two games were decided by a total of five points.
(See below for more details on Saturday’s game.)
Five Arrows 96, Broncos 60
In Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, Takamatsu overwhelmed the hosts from start to finish, handing the lifeless Broncos their 17th straight defeat.
Andrais Thornton scored 23 points for the Five Arrows (10-10) and Yusuke Kodera drained five 3s and added a season-high 17 points. Paul Williams finished with 16 points and 12 boards and Sean Smith scored 13. Hiroyuki Kikuchi buried all three of his 3-pointers in a nine-point effort. Dexter Lyons dished out five assists for the victors.
Michael Joiner led Saitama (2-20) with 19 points. John Humphrey, the league’s leading scorer (22.7 points per game), missed the contest due to a reaggravated ankle injury.
Is Saitama coach Takatoshi Ishibashi’s job in jeopardy?
“To be honest, I don’t think so,” a team source told The Japan Times on Sunday night. “Fans have expressed that they wanted (ex-coach) Tracy (Williams) back. But I don’t think a change will happen.”
Saitama fired Williams after the Broncos went 15-37 last season.
That said, the team source added, “I have never been a part of something like this. And the crazy thing is, we have a better overall team than last year.”
B-Corsairs 80, Susanoo Magic 59
In Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Marquise Gray’s 23 points, 15 rebounds, three steals and three blocks ignited defending champion Yokohama in a rout over Shimane.
Omar Reed contributed 17 points, 13 boards and nine assists for the B-Corsairs (11-11), while Wayne Marshall had 12 points and two blocks and Masayuki Kabaya scored 11 points with four assists.
The B-Corsairs’ active, opportunistic defense had eight blocks on the afternoon, including Marcus Simmons’ two and Kabaya’s one.
Shimane (5-17) was 1-for-16 on 3-point shots. T.J Cummings scored 18 points for the Magic, who have dropped their past three games by a combined 73 points. Shawn Malloy had a 12-point game and Jeral Davis and Tatsuhiro Yokoo each had 10 points in the blowout loss.
Grouses 95, Lakestars 80
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Toyama’s relentless rebounding paid off in a big way in the series finale.
The Grouses (17-5) hauled in 26 more rebounds (57-31) than the Lakestars in the rout.
Sam Willard led Toyama’s rebounding effort, finishing with 17. He also had 11 points for his 12th double-double of the season.
Grouses guard Masashi Joho made four 3s en route to a team-high 18 points, Ira Brown scored 17, Takeshi Mito had 15, Josh Gross provided 14 and Josh Benson 11.
Dionisio Gomez paced Shiga with 34 points and 10 rebounds and Brandon Fields and Marshall Brown both scored 13. Jumpei Nakama had 12 points and four steals for the Lakestars (10-12).
Hannaryz 105, Cinq Reves 62
In Yamashiro, Kyoto Prefecture, the hosts throttled undermanned Kyoto for the second time in as many days.
Joe Werner led Kyoto (15-7) with 23 points on 9-for-9 shooting and 11 rebounds and Chris Holm had 19 points and 14 boards. Edwin Ubiles added 18 points in 19:50 of court time. Seldom-used guard Hikaru Kusaka poured in 10 points in just under 14 minutes.
Thirteen Hannaryz players entered the game, none playing more than big man Holm’s 26:35.
Tokyo, which used only two imports for both games, fell to 6-16. Coach Motofumi Aoki’s club only made 11 field goals from inside the arc. Overall, the listless Cinq Reves shot 19-for-53.
Yuji Ide and Kenji Kanai each had 13 points apiece for the visitors and Edward Morris scored 12.
Northern Happinets 89, Evessa 78
In Osaka, Akita’s starting guards, Yuki Togashi and Shigehiro Taguchi, combined for 36 points and 10 3-pointers as coach Kazuo Nakamura’s club completed a series sweep.
Taguchi sank 6 of 11 3s in a game-high, 20-point performance. Togashi was 4-for-6 on long-range shots, finishing with 16 points and nine assists.
Richard Roby scored 17 points and Chas McFarland had 16 and four blocks for the Eastern Conference-leading Northern Happinets (20-4). Ruben Bokyin contributed 12 points and 12 rebounds in the win.
The Evessa fell to 8-14.
Naoto Nakamura scored 16 points for Osaka and Yosuke Sugawara had 15. Kevin Galloway supplied 13 points and nine assists. Dillion Sneed had 12 points and Zach Andrews 10.
89ers 103, Bambitious 80
In Yamatokoriyama, Nara Prefecture, Wendell White’s 39-point performance guided Sendai to a victory over the hosts.
After a series-opening defeat, the 89ers (11-11) found the winning formula a day later and it included Yasuhiko Wada’s career-high 27 points. Wada converted 10 of 15 shots on the afternoon and led all players with four steals.
White, who is the league’s second-leading scorer at 21.0 points per game, was 9-for-14 from inside the arc and 6-for-10 on 3s. He also contributed seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks. (In the series opener, the UNLV alum had 37 points and 14 rebounds.)
Sendai point guard Takehiko Shimura was held to two points, but dished out nine assists and made three steals.
Jamar Abrams scored 19 points for the Bambitious (5-15) and Anthony Brown had 15. Ryo Inagaki had 14 points and Joe Chapman scored 12. Tatsuya Suzuki chipped in with seven points and seven assists.
Big Bulls 78, Rizing 68
In Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, big man Gyno Pomare’s 23-point, 14-rebound afternoon set the tone for the hosts in a victory over struggling Fukuoka.
Tsubasa Yonamine added 13 points, Kenichi Takahashi had 11 and six assists and Josh Peppers scored 10.
The Big Bulls (13-7) secured the win at the free-throw line, making 17 of 19 shots. Conversely, the Rizing (8-12) were 2-for-9 at the charity stripe, including Reggie Warren’s 1-for-7.
Jun Nakanishi scored 21 points for Fukuoka and Cohey Aoki, his former Tokyo Apache teammate, had 10. Warren added nine points and nine boards.
Albirex BB 70, HeatDevils 57
In Seiro, Niigata Prefecture, 3-point shots carried coach Fujitaka “Bomber” Hiraoka’s team past Oita in a series featuring two of the league’s original six teams.
Shuhei Komatsu connected on 3 of 6 3s and Niigata (17-7) shot 10-for-21 while holding the HeatDevils to 4-for-20.
Forward Suleiman Braimoh was Niigata’s high scorer with 13 points and also the top rebounder (11), while Nile Murry and Komatsu had 11 points apiece. The Albirex offense was in rhythm throughout the game, with six players handing out two or more assists.
Oita (12-10) missed 50 of its 70 shots from the field and lost for the second straight day.
Gabe McCulley had 15 points and 14 rebounds for the HeatDevils and Taishiro Shimizu scored nine points.
Saturday’s late result
Wat’s 72, Golden Kings 70
In Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, Stanley Ocitti had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Gordon Klaiber scored 15 points to lead the hosts past Ryukyu.
The Golden Kings’ 12-game winning streak ended.
Yuki Kitamuki scored nine points for the Wat’s, draining 3 of 7 3s, while Abdullahi Kuso had nine points, eight rebounds and four steals.
Draelon Burns paced Ryukyu with 16 points off the bench. Anthony McHenry finished with 15 points.
The Golden Kings were 19-for-29 at the free-throw line.