They started the season with six straight wins, followed by eight consecutive defeats. And they lost four of their last six contests entering Saturday’s series opener against the Western Conference’s cellar-dwelling Shimane Susanoo Magic.
So what happened for the Osaka Evessa?
Seven Evessa players scored eight or more points in an 87-61 victory in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture.
Osaka, the West’s sixth-place team, improved to 23-28 on a night when it converted 27 of 42 shots from inside the arc.
D’Andre Bell paced the Evessa with 18 points and added eight rebounds, four steals, two assists and two blocks in a high-energy performance. Texas Tech alum Darko Cohadarevic scored 14 points.
Osaka floor leader Kevin Galloway had 12 points, 10 boards and five assists and Takuya Soma drained three 3-pointers in an 11-point outing.
The Evessa, who led 37-27 at halftime, outscored Shimane 26-14 in the fourth quarter.
Adrian Thomas, who sank 5 of 8 3s, had a team-high 16 points for the Susanoo Magic (11-40) and Tatsuhiro Yokoo and Shawn Malloy each had 12. Koki Yabuuchi added 10 points.
Brave Warriors 95, Crane Thunders 79
In Nagano, Patrick Sanders continued his torrid 3-point shooting, knocking down 5 of 10 and leading Shinshu to a series-opening win over Gunma.
Sanders, a Cal-Irvine product, had a game-high 26 points. In his last three games, he’s swished 19 of 31 3s.
Xavier Gibson had 22 points and 12 rebounds, with two steals and two blocks for the Brave Warriors (32-19). Teammate Shota Konno scored 15 points and Jeff Parmer had a nine-point, 12-rebound, five-assist, three-steal, one-block game.
For Gunma (13-38), Dillion Sneed scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Carlos Dixon had 20 points and Jermaine Green scored 14. Shingo Okada chipped in with nine points, five assists and four steals.
Albirex BB 78, Broncos 76
In Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, Nile Murry had 25 points and nine rebounds and Patrick Sullivan and Thomas Kennedy each scored 17 points as Niigata edged the hosts.
Yuichi Ikeda added 10 points for the Albirex (30-21) and Kennedy matched Murry’s rebounding total to share the team lead.
John “Helicopter” Humphrey paced Saitama (5-46) with 18 points and Michael Joiner scored 13.
The Broncos led 48-33 at halftime, but were held to 28 points after the break as the Albirex stormed back.
Grouses 103, Cinq Reves 66
In Toyama, coach Bob Nash’s club took a 30-point advantage into the locker room at halftime and held Tokyo to 37 points in the first 30 minutes.
Six Grouses scored in double figures: Djibril Thiam (16 points, nine boards), Ira Brown (15 points, 10 rebounds), Masashi Joho (14 points, team-high four assists), Josh Gross (13 points, 10 rebounds), Tatsunori Fujie (13 points) and Sam Willard (12 points, 10 boards).
Toyama (41-10) out-rebounded Tokyo 58-42.
The Grouses canned 10 of 21 3s and shot 53 percent from 2-point range.
Ricky Woods scored 31 points for the Cinq Reves (13-38), Yuji Ide had 12 and Anthony Stover pulled down 14 rebounds.
Big Bulls 82, 89ers 73
In Sendai, Scootie Randall’s 21-point-performance sparked Iwate, which extended its winning streak to 11 games by beating the 89ers.
Josh Peppers finished with 17 points off the bench and Masato Tsukino scored 13 points. Gyno Pomare had eight points and 14 rebounds for the Big Bulls (39-12) and Tsusaba Yonamine dished out six assists.
Travele Jones paced Sendai (24-27) with 16 points, Wendell White had 15 points and Dzaflo Larkai and DeAngelo Hamilton both had 12, while Takehiko Shimura handed out seven assists.
Golden Kings 72, Phoenix 67 (OT)
In Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, Draelon Burns scored a game-high 25 points and Anthony McHenry had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Ryukyu in an overtime triumph over Hamamatsu Higashimikawa.
Kibwe Trim added 10 points and nine rebounds and Jeff Newton raked in nine boards and blocked two shots for the Golden Kings (42-9).
Hamamatsu shot 23-for-79 from the field, including 14-for-47 from inside the arc.
Masahiro Oguchi, who sank 5 of 7 3s, led the Phoenix (27-24) with 17 points. Cyrus Tate added 15 points and Jermaine Dixon scored 11.
Dixon missed 12 of his 14 3-point attempts. He and Ray Nixon both handed out five assists. Nixon also grabbed 12 rebounds.
Northern Happinets 89, B-Corsairs 87
In Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Yuki Togashi had 25 points, nine assists and zero turnovers and Ruben Boykin supplied 21 points and 13 rebounds for Akita.
Yokohama, the defending champion, fell to 24-27, ending the possibility the team could finish the season at .500.
Shigehiro Taguchi and Richard Roby scored 12 points apiece for the Northern Happinets (39-12). Roby also swatted five shots; as a team, Akita rejected 11 shots.
Masayuki Kabaya finished with 18 points and six assists for the B-Corsairs and Omar Reed had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Kenji Yamada and Marcus Simmons both scored 13 points. Wayne Marshall had nine points, six boards and four blocks.
Both teams made 12 3s.
Lakestars 81, Rizing 68
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Shelton Colwell scored 19 points and Brandon Fields poured in 16 with five assists as the Lakestars’ balanced scoring attack overwhelmed Fukuoka.
Five Shiga players reached double figures in scoring.
The Lakestars improved to 26-25; the Rizing fell to 26-25.
Reggie Warren had 21 points and 15 rebounds for Fukuoka. David Palmer, a bj-league newcomer this season, added 13 points.
Hannaryz 86, Wat’s 71
In Aomori, sharpshooter Yu Okada scored 20 points, including 5-for-7 from long range, and Joe Werner provided 18 points and 15 rebounds in Kyoto’s victory over the hosts.
David Palmer, the longtime league star, had 14 points and Sunao Murakami poured in 11 for the Hannaryz (34-17).
Anthony Kent led Aomori (26-25) with 20 points on 10-for-14 shooting with 12 rebounds and Gordon Klaiber scored 18 points and Yuki Kitamuki and Abdullahi Kuso had 13 apiece.
Five Arrows 80, HeatDevils 76 (OT)
In Beppu, Oita Prefecture, Takamatsu outlasted the hosts in the bonus period.
The Five Arrows improved to 22-29, while the HeatDevils slipped to 20-31. Dexter Lyons led Takamatsu with 33 points. Verdell Jones III had 17 points to lead Oita.