Ryukyu clobbers Oita Ehime as West title race heats up


Staff Writer

The fight for the Western Conference regular-season crown is far from over.

The Ryukyu Golden Kings manhandled the host Oita Ehime HeatDevils on Saturday, winning 103-82 in Iyo, Ehime Prefecture.

Ryukyu (31-10) is tied with the rival Shimane Susanoo Magic and Kyoto Hannaryz for the fewest losses in the 12-team West.

The Golden Kings and Hannaryz both have 11 games remaining while the Susanoo Magic have eight.

In the series-opening triumph, Ryukyu big man Evan Ravenel scored a team-high 19 points on 9-for-12 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. Shigeyuki Kinjo and Ryuichi Kishimoto both poured in 18 points and Shuhei Kitagawa scored 16. Draelon Burns added 13 points and Anthony McHenry finished with six points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Morihisa Yamauchi handed out six assists.

Chehales Tapscott led the HeatDevils (11-30) with 19 points and hauled in 11 rebounds and Yoshihiko Toshino and Toshihiko Toshino each had 17 points.

Susanoo Magic 80, Hannaryz 51

In Yonago, Shimane Prefecture, the hosts pounced on Kyoto in the first half en route to a runaway victory.

The Hannaryz (31-10) trailed 21-7 after one quarter and 36-14 at the break.

Scootie Randall scored 25 points, including four 3-pointers, for West-leading Shimane (33-10) and Josh Davis delivered a 22-point, 22-rebound performance. Jun Abe netted 17 points for the hosts.

Kevin Kotzur paced Kyoto with 15 points and 14 boards. Tyren Johnson added 10 points.

The Hannaryz missed 18 of 21 3-point shots.

Evessa 106, Lightning 38

In Yamaguchi, Osaka made 25 steals, forced 37 turnovers and sent Hiroshima to its 34th straight loss.

The Evessa (30-14) led 21-5 after the opening quarter and 46-14 at halftime.

The teams both scored 20 points in the third quarter, then Osaka closed out the game by outscoring the Lightning (1-39) by a 40-4 margin in the final period.

DeAngelo Hamilton paced the Evessa with 30 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. Takuya Soma added 23 points. Shota Konno had a team-high seven steals and Lawrence Blackledge, who had 14 points, made six. Narito Namizato added 16 points in the rout.

For Hiroshima, Daichi Tomioka scored 10 points.

Northern Happinets 81, Big Bulls 66

In Akita, Richard Roby’s double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Ray Turner’s 20-point effort sparked the hosts in a victory over Iwate.

Shigehiro Taguchi added nine points and eight assists for the Northern Happinets (27-14).

Tatsunori Fujie put 19 points on the board for the Big Bulls (23-18) and Abdullahi Kuso scored 15.

Iwate was held to 25-for-68 shooting from the field.

Grouses 81, Albirex BB 71

In Toyama, balanced scoring guided the East-leading Grouses past Niigata.

Drew Viney paced Toyama (29-12) with 25 points. He was 8-for-8 at the charity stripe, and contributed five rebounds and five assists. Big man Sam Willard added 20 points and 18 rebounds. Masashi Joho scored 18 points, knocking down 4 of 8 3-point shots, and dished out four assists. Daichi Tanaka poured in 10 points.

The Grouses outscored the visitors 30-15 in the pivotal third quarter.

Wayne Arnold led the Albirex (28-15) with 29 points. Ryan Reid had 20 points and 15 rebounds and Kimitake Sato put 16 points on the board. The rest of the team scored six points.

Wat’s 72, Crane Thunders 70

In Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture, Nile Murry had a team-best 19 points and Makoto Sawaguchi and Jesse Perry both scored 18 as Aomori edged the hosts in the series opener.

Perry grabbed 14 rebounds to complete the double-double for the Wat’s (19-24), who are battling to earn a playoff spot.

Gunma (19-22) out-rebounded the visitors 55-40.

Thomas Kennedy was the Crane Thunders’ top scorer wit 21 points and Junki Kano had 16. Veteran forward Gary Hamilton finished with 10 points, 18 rebounds and six assists.

Both teams struggled to knock down shots from the perimeter. Gunma made 4 of 23 3s and Aomori sank 3 of 20.

Firebonds 89, Broncos 62

In Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, Masaya Karimata delivered a 22-point, five-assist, four-steal performance and Le’Bryan Nash added 20 points and 10 rebounds as Fukushima pounded the hapless Broncos.

Atsushi Nogami was 4-for-4 from 3-point range in a 16-point night for the Firebonds (25-8). Shinya Murakami dished out six assists and teammate Stephan Van Treese provided 12 points and nine boards.

Fukushima pounced on the hosts in the third quarter, outscoring them 31-8.

Seth Tarver had 22 points for Saitama (4-37).

Brave Warriors 93, Cinq Reves 91

In Hino, Xavier Gibson scored 29 points and four teammates also reached double figures in points as Shinshu held off Tokyo.

Gibson converted 13 of 17 free-throw attempts. He had nine rebounds and five steals for the Brave Warriors (20-23). Mike Bell finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds and Junki Kano and Yosuke Saito both scored 12 points.

Andre Murray had 37 points for the Cinq Reves (1-38), who have lost 32 straight games.

89ers 89, B-Corsairs 77

In Yokohama, Sendai dominated on the boards and got a combined 61 points from its three American players in a victory over the hosts.

Jamal Boykin scored 22 points, Terrance Shannon had 21 with 15 rebounds and Wendell White supplied 18 points and 11 boards. Masaharu Kataoka added nine points and 10 rebounds. Floor leader Takehiko Shimura doled out eight assists for the 89ers (30-13).

Cory Johnson and Carl Hall both had 18 points for Yokohama (18-25).

Lakestars 89, Bambitious 61

In Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, the Lakestars offense clicked in a rout of Nara.

Julian Mavunga (14 points, six assists) was one of four Shiga players with five or more assists. Yu Okada, who had a team-high 15 points, Yutaka Yokoe and Ryota Kobayashi all dished out five assists for the Lakestars (29-12).

Charles Hinkle and Jumpei Honda scored 14 and 13 points, respectively for the Bambitious (15-28).

Samuraiz 82, Five Arrows 65

In Okayama, Kanazawa closed out the game in impressive style with a 33-point fourth quarter.

The expansion Samuraiz improved to 24-19. Takamatsu fell to 11-30.