Takeshi Mito scored a game-high 24 points and Ira Brown’s double-double helped propel the Toyama Grouses to a 68-52 home win on Saturday over the Shimane Susanoo Magic, who dropped their first game under new coach Reggie Hanson.
Brown finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and two steals. Star guard Masashi Joho added 13 points and six assists for Toyama (22-7), while Mito, who calmly made 9 of 10 free throws, added three assists and three steals. Josh Gross scored nine points for the hosts, who were 3-for-20 on 3-point shots but out-rebounded Shimane 49-39, including Sam Willard’s 12 boards.
Grouses coach Bob Nash’s team held Shimane to 18-for-55 shooting on the night. The Susanoo Magic (5-22) also made 19 turnovers in their first game since Vlasios Vlaikidis was relieved of his coaching duties.
Hanson, a JBL standout in the 1990s, had a short stint with the Boston Celtics in the 1997-98 season. He has served an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky and University of South Florida.
Shimane guard Edward Yamamoto, a member of the club since its inception in 2010, did not play. He appeared in the previous 26 games this season.
T.J. Cummings paced the Magic with 11 points off the bench and Shawn Malloy had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Adrian Thomas and Jeral Davis both scored eight points. Koki Yabuuchi dished out eight assists.
Hannaryz 89, Crane Thunders 63
In Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture, Edwin Ubiles’ 24 points in 25-plus minutes ignited the Hannaryz in a one-sided win over Gunma.
The one-time Washington Wizard shot 11-for-18 from the field and grabbed a team-best 11 rebounds. Kyoto (19-10) dominated in the rebounding department, hauling in 53 while holding the visitors to 35.
The Hannaryz converted 27 of 51 shots from 2-point range and drained 7 of 15 3s on the afternoon.
The Kyoto defense was equally effective, holding Gunma (5-22) to 22-for-64 shooting, including 19-for-51 from inside the arc.
The Hannaryz, who led 22-17 after one quarter, surged ahead by intermission, outscoring the Crane Thunders 25-10 in the second 10-minute stanza to take a commanding lead.
Shun Watanuki scored 14 points for Kyoto and David Palmer had 12. Both players sank two 3s. Takuya Komoda added seven points and Hayato Kantake and Joe Werner had six apiece. Chris Holm pulled down nine rebounds.
As has been customary in other lopsided wins this season, Kyoto coach Honoo Hamaguchi called on his reserves. Thirteen Hananryz players saw court time, with Ubiles’ 25:25 leading the team. Only Holm (21:48) also played more than 20 minutes for the hosts.
Shingo Okada was Gunma’s lone double-digit scorer (10 points). Kenya Tomori and Darko Cohadarevic both had nine points.
Golden Kings 77, B-Corsairs 67
In Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, a mediocre rebounding game didn’t keep Ryukyu from enjoying the sweet taste of success at home — again.
The Golden Kings, the 2011-12 league champion, buried 12 of 24 3-pointers en route to a win over Yokohama, the defending champion.
For Ryukyu, Ryuichi Kishimoto canned 5 of 8 3s in a team-high 19-point performance and Draelon Burns, a former B-Corsairs star, drained 3 of 4 in his 12-point night, which included six assists and three steals.
Anthony McHenry added 13 points and Kibwe Trim had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Western Conference-leading Kings (22-3 overall, 14-1 at home). Naoto Kosuge poured in nine points and Morihisa Yamauchi added eight for the hosts, who led 41-30 at halftime.
Omar Reed had 22 points and 13 points for Yokohama (13-12) and Marquise Gray scored 14 points with 10 rebounds. Kenji Yamada added eight points, 10 boards and four assists.
Yokohama hauled in 56 rebounds and Ryukyu had 36.
Evessa 92, Albirex BB 71
In Osaka, six Evessa players scored in double figures and coach Shunsuke Todo’s team converted 30 of 47 shots from inside the arc in a resounding victory over Niigata.
Albirex big man Patrick Sullivan, who averaged 13.6 points and 10.0 rebounds in 26 contests before the series opener, was sidelined, missing his first game of the season. His inside presence was needed against Osaka (11-16).
Naoto Nakamura led the Evessa with 17 points, including 3-for-4 from long range. Yosuke Sugawara and Kevin Galloway each had 14 points and Marcus Capers scored 12. Dillon Sneed provided 11 points and 12 rebounds and Zach Andrews had a 10-point outing.
Naoto Takushi, Marcus Capers and Sugawara all had four assists, while Galloway contributed three.
Niigata (18-9) had a bad overall shooting night. The Albirex were 6-for-24 from 3-point range, 18-for-40 on 2s and 17-for-28 at the free-throw line.
Guard Nile Murry, who will represent the Albirex in the Jan. 26 All-Star Game in Akita, was 4-for-16 from the field, including 1-for-9 on 3s, in a 15-point performance. He had five assists.
Rodney Webb paced Niigata with 17 points and two blocks and Yuichi Ikeda scored 12 points.
Wat’s 75, Rizing 67
In Aomori, the hosts outscored Fukuoka, last season’s championship runnerup squad, 30-10 in the fourth quarter to complete a dramatic comeback.
The Rizing, a shell of last season’s squad, fell to 11-16. They sit in eighth place in the 10-team West.
After the game, Fukuoka star Reggie Warren wrote on Facebook, “Worst meltdown I (have) ever been a part of! Still can’t believe it! Up 17/18 (points) in the fourth.”
Stanley Ocitti led Aomori with 22 points with 11 rebounds and four assists on the night. Abdullahi Kuso contributed 16 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks and Gordon Klaiber scored 13 points, knocking down 3 of 6 3s. Makoto Sawaguchi and Yuki Kitamuki had eight points apiece for the first-year franchise, which at 11-14 is keeping itself in playoff contention. Aomori is in eighth place in the 11-team Eastern Conference, but only two games behind sixth-place Sendai. (The top six teams in each conference advance to postseason play.)
For Fukuoka, Warren had team-high totals in points (17) and rebounds (16). Seth Tarver scored 10 points and Cohey Aoki nine.
The Rizing ended the game with this shooting line: 23-for-65 from the field.
Big Bulls 61, HeatDevils 56
In Kitsuki, Oita Prefecture, Iwate’s shot-blocking prowess and composure on the road keyed a victory in the series opener.
Big Bulls coach Dai Oketani, who landed his first pro head coaching job for Oita in 2006, watched his team swat 10 shots. Lawrence Blackledge spearheaded the Iwate defense with eight blocks, also finishing with eight points, nine rebounds and five assists in a high-intensity performance. Guard Tsubasa Yonamine and Gyno Pomare also had one block apiece.
Pomare poured in a team-best 19 points and Scootie Randall and Kenichi Takahashi each scored 10 points for the Big Bulls (18-7 overall, 9-2 on the road), who have won eight straight games.
Taishiro Shimizu was Oita’s top scorer with 14 points and Verdell Jones III had 13 points and five assists. Gabe McCulley finished with 10 points and 10 boards for the HeatDevils (14-13) and Byron Allen also had 10 points.
Iwate sank 12 of 17 free throws; Oita made 2 of 5 in the down-to-the-wire contest.
Northern Happinets 91, 89ers 86 (OT)
In Sendai, big man Chas McFarland put 22 points on the board and raked in 18 rebounds, Richard Roby scored 19 points and second-year pro Yuki Togashi had 18 points and eight assists as East-leading Akita prevailed in overtime against the 89ers.
Forward Ruben Boykin chipped in with 12 points, 18 rebounds and five steals for the Happinets, while Shigehiro Taguchi also netted 12 points.
Akita improved to 25-4. Sendai fell to 12-13.
Dzaflo Larkai had 21 points for the 89ers and Travele Jones and Takehiko Shimura both scored 15, the latter also dished out 10 assists.
Brave Warriors 93, Five Arrows 88 (OT)
In Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, Shinshu held off Takamatsu in the series opener, winning in overtime.
Xavier Gibson had 16 points and 20 rebounds with six blocks for Shinshu and Patrick Sanders had 15 points. Five Brave Warriors players reached double figures in scoring.
The Brave Warriors improved to 17-8. The Five Arrows slipped to 13-14.
Dexter Lyons paced Takamatsu with 30 points and Paul Williams had 16 points and 17 rebounds.