This much is certain: Jermaine Dixon is the most important player on the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix roster.
He leads the team in points, assists and steals. Furthermore, his athleticism and hunger to win, supported by a healthy swagger and basketball genes (his brother, Juan Dixon, played in the NBA), have made him one of the elite guards in the bj-league.
This was evident once again on Sunday, when Dixon scored a game-high 30 points to lead the Phoenix to a 72-71 victory over the host Takamatsu Five Arrows.
Hamamatsu’s nine-game winning streak ended on Saturday. A day later, Dixon made sure his team, which occupies the second spot in the 10-team Western Conference, got back on track.
After the game, Dixon, a University of Pittsburgh alum, posted a succinct message on Facebook: “Good team victory today, (makes) the trip back home better!”
Indeed, it wasn’t a one-man show. Ray Nixon contributed 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Phoenix (22-12 overall, 11-7 in away games). Cyrus Tate scored 10 points and Atsuya Ota had eight points and eight rebounds.
Dexter Lyons provided 21 points, nine rebounds, six assists and five steals for Takamastu (14-20). Paul Williams finished with 11 points and Tsubasa Yonezawa and Sean Smith had 10 apiece.
Grouses 90, Northern Happinets 85
In Yokote, Akita Prefecture, Ira Brown’s 19-point, 10-assist effort and 18-point performances by Masashi Joho and Tatsunori Fujie guided Toyama to a series sweep over the Eastern Conference-leading Happinets.
Toyama (26-8) improved to 3-1 against Akita this season.
The Grouses out-rebounded the hosts 45-34.
Happinets guard Yuki Togashi scored a career-high 32 points, knocking down 5 of 10 3-pointers, and dished out nine assists. Chas McFarland had 18 points and eight assists and Ruben Boykin added 13 points and 12 rebounds for Akita (29-7).
Big Bulls 87, Broncos 80
In Takizawa, Iwate Prefecture, Lawrence “Trend” Blackledge scored 25 points and made four steals and Scootie Randall poured in 22 points to carry the Big Bulls past Saitama for the second time in as many days.
Josh Peppers and Kenichi Takahashi both scored 11 points for Iwate (23-9).
Michael Joiner paced the Broncos (4-30) with 21 points and John Humphrey had 14.
Hannaryz 76, Golden Kings 58
In Kyoto, Hikaru Kusaka scored a season-high 14 points, including four 3-pointers, and Chris Holm pulled down 19 rebounds as the Hannaryz earned a weekend split against Ryukyu.
Joe Werner and David Palmer each scored 12 points for Kyoto (22-14) and Shun Watanuki had 11. The Hannaryz are 1-3 against the Golden Kings this season.
Anthony McHenry was Ryukyu’s top scorer with 15 points and Ryuichi Kishimoto had 14. Draelon Burns and Jeff Newton scored nine and eight points, respectively.
Albirex BB 73, Brave Warriors 68 (1st game)
Albirex BB 71, Brave Warriors 62 (2nd game)
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, coach Fujitaka Hiraoka’s team defeated Shinshu twice on Sunday, winning a game tipping off at 11 a.m. and another that started seven hours later in rare day-night basketball doubleheader.
Saturday’s contest was postponed because game officials were unable to arrive in Niigata in time for the scheduled 6 p.m. tipoff as heavy snow blanketed Honshu.
In Game 1, Thomas Kennedy had 18 points, 11 rebounds and three steals for Niigata and Yuichi Ikeda scored 12 points, followed by Nile Murry with 11. The Albirex sealed the win at the free-throw line (18-for-22).
Shinshu’s Xavier Gibson had 15 points and six blocks and Patrick Sanders added 12 points and 11 boards.
In Game 2, Kennedy scored 20 points and Ikeda had 13, with Rodney Webb adding 10. The Albirex (23-11) drained 10 3s, five more than the Warriors (21-11), which proved vital to the outcome.
Shoji Nakanishi scored 12 points for Shinshu, Jeff Parmer finished with 11 and Gibson contributed 10 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.
Evessa 92, Lakestars 67
In Osaka, the Evessa hustled and played tenacious defense, recording 15 steals and forcing Shiga into 25 turnovers to salvage a series split.
For Osaka (14-20), Darko Cohadarevic scored 16 points and D’Andre Bell had 14. A day after his second triple-double of the season, Kevin Galloway supplied the victors with 12 points, eight boards, seven assists and five steals. Six Evessa players reached double-digit totals in scoring.
Brandon Fields had 18 points and nine turnovers for Shiga (17-17). Marshall Brown scored 15 points and Dioniso Gomez added 10, but made eight turnovers.
B-Corsairs 78, HeatDevils 60
In Usa, Oita Prefecture, Yokohama’s strong second quarter fueled a bounce-back triumph over the hosts.
The B-Corsairs outscored Oita 22-5 in the second stanza to take a 15-point lead into intermission.
Marcus Simmons scored 22 points on 9-for-10 shooting for Yokohama (15-17), while Kenji Yamada netted 17, Marquise Gray provided 14 and Masayuki Kabaya had 13. Omar Reed contributed nine points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Hiroki Oshiro led Oita (15-19) with 13 points, Shuichi Takada pumped in 12 and Byron Allen 11. In the series opener, star guard Taishiro Shimizu scored 32 points. He was held to six in the rematch.
Rizing 78, Bambitious 58
In Nara, power forward Reggie Warren sparked Fukuoka’s win with a 20-point, 12-rebound, three-steal, two-block afternoon.
Cohey Aoki scored 16 points for the Rizing (15-19), who lost the series opener. Julius Ashby, Akitomo Takeno and Seth Tarver all had 10 points for the Rizing, who seized control of the game in the third quarter.
Anthony Brown had 22 points to lead Nara (10-22) and Adrian Moss added nine points and 11 rebounds.
Wat’s 79, 89ers 66
In Towada, Aomori Prefecture, the Wat’s raked in 20 offensive rebounds, creating ample second-chance scoring opportunities in a victory over Sendai.
Aomori, a first-year franchise, improved to 16-16. Abdullahi Kuso led the hosts with 14 rebounds along with 11 points. Gordon Klaiber had a team-best 15 points and Yuki Kitamuki scored 14.
Wendell White sank five 3s in a 26-point effort for the 89ers (14-18). Dzaflo Larkai scored 14 points and newcomer DeAngelo Hamilton had 12 points and 12 rebounds.