Experience is the best teacher.
A reminder of that came on Sunday, when the Toyama Grouses clinically dispatched the visiting Bambitious Nara, 78-66, to complete a series sweep.
The Grouses feature several smart veteran players, and that experience paid off, which was especially evident on defense. Five Toyama players had at least one blocked shot and the team rejected eight in all. (Coach Bob Nash’s club blocked 15 shots in the series.)
Far from being the bj-league’s most intimidating defender, fleet-footed guard Takeshi Mito, a 185-cm performer, had a season-high three blocks for the Grouses, doubling his season total in the process. He added 13 points, five assists and a steal on the afternoon.
Masashi Joho paced Toyama (19-5) with 17 points, Josh Gross scored 15, and Ira Brown added 14 points and nine rebounds. Sam Willard had 12 points and eight boards.
Nara (5-17) trailed 29-14 after the opening quarter. Anthony Brown led the Bambitious with 20 points, Adrian Moss contributed 16 points and 14 rebounds and Takuma Yamashiro and Jamar Abrams both had seven points.
Northern Happinets 103, HeatDevils 78
In Akita, Richard Roby scored 26 points and Shigehiro Taguchi poured in 18 as the Northern Happinets rolled to their 13th victory in 14 home contests to complete the series sweep over Oita.
Akita (22-4) sank 15 3-pointers in the rout, including Taguchi’s 4-for-8. Roby canned three 3s.
Forward Ruben Boykin added 15 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the hosts, while center Chas McFarland had 10 points with five assists. Yuki Togashi dished out nine assists and Sylvester Seay had nine points and a season-best 12 rebounds.
Devonne Giles scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the HeatDevils (12-12), who played the series without star guard Verdell Jones III. Gabe McCulley had a 15-point afternoon and Taishiro Shimizu finished with 13 points and seven assists.
The HeatDevils were held to four 3s.
Brave Warriors 90, Hannaryz 88 (OT)
In Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture, Patrick Sanders had a 28-point performance and Jeff Parmer’s 18 points helped guide Shinshu to a bounce-back victory over Kyoto.
The Hannaryz’s five-game winning streak ended.
Sanders converted 5 of 7 3-point attempts as the Brave Warriors improved to 15-7. Xavier Gibson filled the stat sheet with 17 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks. Shota Konno added 16 points and assists. Parmer grabbed 10 boards to complete the double-double.
David Palmer was Kyoto’s high scorer with 34 points, which included 11-for-20 shooting from the field. Shun Watanuki had 16 points for the Hannaryz (16-8) and Chris Holm chipped in with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Yu Okada scored 12 points and Edwin Ubiles struggled with his shot (3-for-16 from the field) in a seven-point effort.
B-Corsairs 93, Rizing 74
In Fukuoka, Omar Reed’s 31-point, 10-rebound game and Marquise Gray’s 21 and 10 sparked defending champion Yokohama in its second victory in as many days over the hosts.
The B-Corsairs (13-11) have won four straight and six of their last seven.
Yokohama’s Masayuki Kabaya scored 10 points, teammate Kenji Yamada had nine and Marcus Simmons and Wayne Marshall added eight apiece.
The B-Corsairs were awarded 34 free throws (25 makes); the Rizing took 15 (eight were good).
Reggie Warren had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Fukuoka (8-14), Julius Ashby scored 18, Jun Nakanishi had eight and Akitomo Takeno seven.
Phoenix 81, Evessa 71
In Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, Masahiro Oguchi drained seven 3-pointers for all of his 21 points and Hamamatsu Higashimikawa salvaged a series split against the Evessa.
Cyrus Tate scored 14 points and handed out five assists for the Phoenix (13-11), Deshawn Stephens scored 13, Jermaine Dixon had 11 and Shinnosuke Oishi nine.
Osaka (9-15) shot 16-for-29 at the free-throw line, the latest of several games the team has had a woeful performance at the line.
Marcus Capers led the Evessa with 18 points and Kevin Galloway scored 16 with 11 rebounds and six assists. Yosuke Sugawara had 10 points and Zach Andrews and Naoto Nakamura both netted eight.
Lakestars 84, Crane Thunders 70
In Tomioka, Gunma Prefecture, after being held to 34 points in the opening half, Shiga erupted for 30 fourth-quarter points to prevail against the hosts.
The victory gave the Lakestars (11-13) a series split.
Shiga’s Dionisio Gomez had 27 points and 13 rebounds and teammate Brandon Fields scored 21, with recently named All-Star forward Marshall Brown contributing 15 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Yutaka Yokoe scored 10 points.
Carlos Dixon led Gunma (4-18) with 28 points and Kenya Tomori had 21.