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Nara’s Suzuki delivers 14 assists, timely defense in victory over Fukuoka

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Bambitious Nara reached double figures in victories on Saturday, a small milestone for the first-year franchise. But in doing so, the bj-league team provided a glimpse of how coach Koto Toyama wants the squad to play.

Nara’s 84-73 home triumph over the Rizing Fukuoka was the result of balanced scoring and a banner performance from 22-year-old point guard Tatsuya Suzuki, who had 14 assists and five steals, two points and deceptive defense while logging 40 minutes.

Marquette University product Joe Chapman paced the Bambitious (10-21) with 23 points, knocking down four 3-pointers. Jamar Abrams poured in 18 points, Jumpei Honda had 13 and Anthony Brown and Taishi Kasahara both scored 12.

Reggie Warren paced the Rizing (14-19) with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists and Seth Tarver scored 15 points. Akitomo Takeno scored 11 points but had seven turnovers.

Five Arrows 75, Phoenix 54
In Takamatsu, the Five Arrows ended an eight-game skid and halted Hamamatsu’s nine-game winning streak at the game time.

Takamatsu big man Paul Williams finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Andrais Thornton poured in 13 points. Dexter Lyons and Sean Smith each had 12 points for the Five Arrows (14-19). Lyons dished out seven assists and collected three steals.

Takamatsu outscored Hamamatsu 19-7 in the fourth quarter.

For the Phoenix (21-12), Jermaine Dixon led the way with 20 points and made five steals, while Dior Lowhorn added 12 points. Feisty veteran guard Masahiro Oguchi contributed eight points and six steals.

Golden Kings 80, Hannaryz 73
In Kyoto, Ryukyu converted 90.5 percent of its free-throw attempts, which secured a victory over its Western Conference rival.

The Golden Kings (27-4) sank 19 of 21 shots at the line, including rising star Ryuichi Kishimoto’s 9-for-9 and Anthony McHenry’s 8-for-10.

Draelon Burns scored a game-high 21 points for Ryukyu and Kishimoto and McHenry had 19 apiece. Naoto Kosuge added eight points and Kibwe Trim scored seven. Kishimoto had a team-high five assists and Morihisa Yamauchi provided four.

Edwin Ubiles finished with 19 points for Kyoto (21-14), which out-rebounded the visitors 49-30. David Palmer had 13 points against his former club, Joe Werner scored 12 and Yu Okada 11.

HeatDevils 94, B-Corsairs 75
In Usa, Oita Prefecture, Taishiro Shimizu’s 32-point performance and Devonne Giles’ 28-point, 10-rebound night guided the hosts to a convincing victory over defending champion Yokohama.

The HeatDevils improved to 15-18; the B-Corsairs fell to 14-17.

Shimizu was 14-for-20 from the field, including 4 of 6 from long range, and had six assists and four steals. Giles finished 10-for-14 from the field.

As a team, Oita shot 62.5 percent from inside the arc and 57.1 percent from beyond.

Gabe McCulley had 17 points and nine rebounds for the HeatDevils.

Masayuki Kabaya scored 19 points for Yokohama, Marquise Gray had 18 and Marcus Simmons 12.

Wat’s 86, 89ers 72
In Towada, Aomori Prefecture, the Wat’s jumped out to a 25-12 lead after one quarter en route to a win over Sendai.

The 89ers trailed 45-29 at halftime.

Gordon Klaiber was the top scorer for Aomori (15-16), finishing with 19 points and Makoto Sawaguchi scored 14 and handed out five assists. Abdullahi Kuso had 13 points, Stanley Ocitti 12 and Yuki Kitamuki 10.

Kitamuki led all players with eight assists.

Wendell White paced the 89ers (14-17) with 28 points. DeAngelo Hamilton, a Washington State product, had 12 points and eight rebounds in 31-plus minutes in his Sendai debut. Yasuhiko Wada chipped in with 10 points.

The 89ers shot 24-for-71 from the field.

Grouses 101, Northern Happinets 88
In Yokote, Akita Prefecture, Toyama’s Masashi Joho, an electriyfing backcourt player since the league’s inception, energized his club with 24 points, eight assists, two steals and, for good measure, a block in a series-opening triumph over the Happinets.

The Grouses, who improved to 25-8 and 13-4 on the road, also received big production from Sam Willard (21 points, 13 rebounds), Tatsunori Fujie (18 points, 4-for-6 on 3s), Ira Brown (15 points, seven boards) and Takeshi Mito (11 points, seven assists, two steals).

For Akita (29-6), Richard Roby had a team-high 22 points and Yuki Togashi scored 16 points with 11 assists. Ruben Boykin added 14 points and nine boards and Deshawn Stephens had 13 points.

Cinq Reves 86, Crane Thunders 83
In Inagi, Tokyo, Edward Morris shot 8-for-12 from the field and scored a team-high 24 points and Ricky Woods finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds as the hosts swept Gunma.

Akihito Inoue and Yuji Ide both scored 13 points for Tokyo (9-23) and Anthony Stover provided seven points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.

For the Crane Thunders (7-27), Dillion Sneed had 24 points and 16 rebounds. Carlos Dixon added 16 points, Shingo Okada scored 14 and Kenya Tomori 10.

Lakestars 101, Evessa 100 (OT)
In Osaka, Dionisio Gomez scored 23 points, Shelton Colwell had a double-double and Shiga prevailed in overtime by the narrowest of margins.

Colwell sparked the Lakestars (17-16) with 20 points and 11 rebounds and Shuto Mizoguchi scored a season-high 14 points. Yutaka Yokoe and Brandon Fields both scored 13 points, the latter also chalking up seven assists in Shiga’s fifth straight win,

For the Evessa (13-20), Zach Andrews, the Slam Dunk Contest champion on All-Star Sunday on Jan. 26, had six dunks in a 10-for-11 shooting effort that produced a team-high 20 points. D’Andre Bell and Naoto Nakamura scored 13 points apiece and four more teammates scored in double figures, including Kevin Galloway, who had a triple-double (11 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists).

Big Bulls 83, Broncos 73
In Takizawa, Iwate Prefecture, the hosts trailed by 14 points after one quarter, but outplayed Saitama over the final three periods for a win in the series opener.

Josh Peppers led the Big Bulls (22-9) with 24 points and Scootie Randall scored 21. Gyno Pomare had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Masato Tsukino finished with 10.

John Humphrey buried 7 of 14 3s in a 29-point effort for the Broncos (4-29).

Brave Warriors at Albirex BB — ppd.
The teams will square off in a rare basketball doubleheader on Sunday. The first game is set to tip off at 11 a.m., followed by a rematch at 6 p.m.

Due to heavy snow in Honshu, the series opener was postponed. The league issued a press release citing the difficulty for referees to arrive at the game venue on Saturday in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture.

The Brave Warriors are 21-9 and the Albirex are 21-11, jockeying for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference.