The Bambitious Nara, a first-year bj-league franchise, have won back-to-back games for the first time in franchise history.
For Nara coach Koto Toyama’s squad, Thursday’s 87-74 triumph over the visiting Saitama Broncos featured several key contributors.
Rookie guard Tatsuya Suzuki had 20 points, drained 4 of 5 3-pointers, dished out seven assists and collected three steals. Forward Anthony Brown, an Oklahoma State product, matched Suzuki’s scoring total and went 8-for-8 at the free-throw line while handing out seven assisst as well.
Marquette University product Joe Chapman canned 5 of 10 3s in a 19-point effort for the Bambitious (8-20), who led 45-35 at halftime.
Big man Adrian Moss, who had a 20-point, 21-rebound effort in the series opener (a 70-60 Nara triumph), added seven points and 19 rebounds. Teammate Taishi Kasahara poured in nine points.
John “Helicopter” Humphrey led the Broncos with 20 points. He added nine rebounds and five steals in 36-plus minutes after missing the past two games with an injury.
Masahide Haraguchi scored 16 points, draining four 3-pointers. Mark Dawson scored 11 points and raked in nine rebounds and Michael Joiner scored 10 for Saitama (3-25).
Phoenix 77, Cinq Reves 74
In Tokyo, University of Iowa alum Cyrus Tate had a game-high 28 points on 11-for-17 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds as Hamamatsu Higashimikawa edged the Cinq Reves in the series opener.
Deshawn Stephens chipped in with 14 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals for the Phoenix (16-11) and Jermaine Dixon added 13 points, three assists and three steals at Yoyogi National Gymnasium No.2 before an announced crowd of 1,353.
Veteran guard Masahiro Oguchi, a fan favorite throughout Japan, scored 11 points with two assists and two steals for Hamamatsu, which occupies third place in the 10-team Western Conference.
For Tokyo (6-19), Ricky Woods finished with 19 points on 5-for-15 shooting, adding seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. Edward Morris had a 13-point game and Akihito Inoue scored 12. Yuji Ide and Kenji Kanai both scored nine points and Takuro Ito had eight.
Tokyo shot 25-for-45 from inside the 3-point arc, but struggled at the free-throw line (15-for-24) and from 3-point range (3-for-13).