The Ryukyu Golden Kings have the league’s stingiest defense this season, allowing 68.0 points a game.
Coach Tsutomu Isa’s squad’s success on the road is also quite impressive, with the Golden Kings winning 15 of 20 away games to date.
Their latest road game, Sunday’s series finale in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, ended this way: Golden Kings 73, Bambitious Nara 60.
Western Conference-leading Ryukyu (36-6) improved to 4-0 against ex-coach Koto Toyama’s Nara squad, a first-year franchise.
Anthony McHenry paced the Kings with 21 points, while stuffing the stat sheet with six rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block. Narito Namizato added 12 points off the bench and fellow reserve Morihisa Yamauchi had 10 points. Another backup, guard Draelon Burns, scored nine points and dished out five assists.
Naoto Kosuge had eight points and five steals for Ryukyu, which led 31-25 at halftime. Big man Kibwe Trim chipped in with six points and 12 rebounds (eight offensive).
Led by Trim’s energetic effort on the boards, the Golden Kings out-rebounded Nara 48-39, including 26-17 on the offensive glass.
Joe Chapman paced the Bambitious (13-29) with 24 points. Tatsuya Suzuki had 13 points, including three 3-pointers. Jumpei Honda finished with nine points.
89ers 97, Five Arrows 80
In Takamatsu, Wendell White scored a game-high 21 points and Travele Jones and Fumiya Sato had 18 apiece as Sendai earned a series split.
Despite shooting 20-for-36 at the free-throw line, the 89ers improved to 21-21. Yasuhiko Wada and Dzaflo Larkai both scored 12 points for Sendai, which scored 31 fourth-quarter points.
Jones led all players with 11 rebounds, and Sendai had a 50-36 advantage in rebounds.
For Takamatsu (18-24), Dexter Lyons scored 15 points, Hiroyuki Kikuchi and Paul Williams both had 14, Masaaki Suzuki netted 13 and Sean Smith had 11.
The Five Arrows also struggled at the charity stripe, making 12 of 20.
Evessa 62, Phoenix 52
In Osaka, 37-year-old guard Naoto Nakamura, one of the league’s oldest players, had a 14-point afternoon, scoring in double figures for the fifth straight game, and the Evessa completed a two-game sweep over Hamamatsu Higashimikawa.
Darko Cohadarevic added 12 points and Zach Andrews provided three dunks in an 11-point effort for Oaska (20-24). Takanori Goya chipped in with eight points and Kevin Galloway had eight points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists and two steals.
Jermaine Dixon scored 14 points for the Phoenix (25-17), who were 5-for-29 from 3-point range. Ray Nixon added 12 points in the loss.
Hannaryz 88, Lakestars 72
In Miyazu, Kyoto Prefecture, David Palmer and Edwin Ubiles scored 26 and 21 points, respectively, to lead the Hannaryz to their seventh win in their last 10 games.
Palmer made 9 of 18 shots from the field, grabbed 11 rebounds and made four steals. Yu Okada contributed 17 points and Chris Holm had a double-double (11 points, 16 rebounds) as Kyoto, the West’s second-place team, improved to 29-17 overall, 17-7 at home.
Five Hannaryz players dished out two or more assists, with Ubiles and Shun Watanuki leading the way with four apiece.
For Shiga (22-22), Brandon Fields and Marshall Brown both scored 18 points and Dionisio Gomez had 12.
Brave Warriors 108, Cinq Reves 67
In Hino, Tokyo Prefecture, Shinshu sank twice as many baskets as the hosts in a runaway victory.
The Brave Warriors (27-15) shot 40-for-75 from the field, including 34-for-57 from inside the arc. Shinshu held Tokyo to 20-for-61 shooting to bounce back from a Saturday loss.
Xavier Gibson paced the visitors with 24 points, making 9 of 13 shots. Jeff Parmer had 18 points and five steals and Dwight Burke and Patrick Sanders both scored 17 points. Shota Konno and Masamune Tate had seven points apiece.
The Cinq Reves (11-31) were held to 24 points over the middle two quarters and yielded 51 in those 20 minutes.
Tokyo, which had 24 turnovers, trailed 53-33 at the intermission.
Cinq Reves star Ricky Woods scored a game-high 32 points and teammates Edward Morris and Takuro Ito had eight apiece.
Crane Thunders 69, Wat’s 66
In Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, Kenya Tomori scored 17 points and Carlos Dixon added 15 with five assists as the hosts picked up a series split.
James Hughes finished with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Masashi Obuchi poured in eight points for Gunma (12-30). Jermaine Green and Shingo Okada each had six points, the latter also handing out five assists.
For Aomori (21-21), Gordon Klaiber was the top scorer with 17 points and Abdullahi Kuso had 16; both men raked in nine rebounds. Anthony Kent finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and four blocks and Yuki Kitamuki scored eight points. Makoto Sawaguchi led the Wat’s with five assists and two steals.
Aomori missed 19 of 22 3-point shots.
Grouses 86, Albirex BB 77
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, Tatsunori Fujie’s 18-point outing and Masashi Joho’s 13 points and 11 assists helped Toyama beat the hosts for the second time in as many days.
Ira Brown added 16 points, Josh Gross pumped in 15 and Takeshi Mito and Sam Willard both had 11. Willard also pulled down 11 rebounds for the Grouses (34-10).
The Grouses, who are a game behind Akita in the East standings, are now 20-4 in away contests.
For Niigata (26-18), Thomas Kennedy rebounded from a two-point, 0-for-14 shooting game in the series opener and led his team with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Kimitake Sato scored 17 points, Nile Murry had 14 and Shuhei Komatsu poured in 12.
Happinets 110, Broncos 85
In Odate, Akita Prefecture, Richard Roby scored 26 points, Yuto Otsuka buried six 3s in 22-point performance and Ruben Boykin had a triple-double as the Northern Happinets routed Saitama.
The Broncos (4-38) suffered their 11th straight loss. They have dropped 35 of their last 37 games.
For Akita (35-9), Boykin finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, while knocking down 5 of 7 3s. Yuki Togashi added 15 points and 12 assists, Shigehiro Taguchi scored 14 points and Deshawn Stephens had 12.
The Happinets canned 18 of 35 3-pointers.
John “Helicopter” Humphrey had 28 points on 12-for-27 shooting and Mark Dawson added 20 points and 13 assists. Shusei Ishii contributed 12 assists.
Big Bulls 82, B-Corsairs 73
In Kitakami, Iwate Prefecture, Josh Peppers energized the Big Bulls off the bench, scoring 29 points and picking up six steals, and the hosts topped Yokohama for the second day in a row.
Lawrence Blackledge gave Iwate (30-12) 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block and Scootie Randall had 12 points. Gyno Pomare chipped in with nine points and 10 rebounds.
For the B-Corsairs (18-24), Wayne Marshall had a team-high 17 points, Omar Reed scored 14 points with 10 rebounds and Marcus Simmons had nine points. Masayuki Kabaya added eight points.
Ref talk: One veteran player is miffed about the league’s approach to officiating, citing no transparency or publicly released data about the game officials’ performance.
“This is probably the worst year of officiating I have ever seen in my years in the bj-league,” the player, who requested anonymity, told The Japan Times on Sunday night.
“Refs in this league need to be accountable for their bad judgements. They need some type of committee that sits down and grades these refs or there will be more brawls like the one with Akita (and Niigata on March 8). Possibly, (it) could be an official that may be approached. Nobody wants that to happen, but it very well can, if this situation isn’t taken more seriously.”