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Focused Brex move closer to locking up East title

by

Staff Writer

The chase is ongoing for the East Division regular-season title.

With a 78-68 victory over the visiting Levanga Hokkaido on Saturday, the East-leading Tochigi Brex moved a step closer to winning the division.

All-Star forward Ryan Rossiter scored 26 points and pulled down 24 rebounds and frontcourt mate Jeff Gibbs added 14 points as the Brex (42-10) rolled past Hokkaido.

Forward Takatoshi Furukawa netted 10 points for the hosts in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture.

The Brex used a 10-0 run that linked the third and fourth quarters to pull ahead 66-46.

Tochigi made 18 of 25 free throws; Hokkaido sank 5 of 8.

The Levanga trailed 40-35 at halftime.

Jahmar Thorpe had 14 points for Hokkaido (20-32). Jordan Bachynski added 12 points and nine rebounds and Daniel Miller also had a 12-point game. Asahi Tajima dished out five assists.

The teams both have eight regular-season games remaining.

Jets 87, Alvark 81 (OT)

In Tokyo, Chiba rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final 2:44 of the fourth quarter to force overtime, then held off the hosts to grab a series-opening victory in a marquee matchup of East rivals.

Center Hilton Armstrong initiated the comeback with an inside jumper and Tyler Stone canned a 3-point to pull the Jets to within 73-71.

Armstrong scored again with 7 seconds remaining to cap a spirited comeback to wrap up the fourth quarter.

The Alvark’s Diante Garrett missed a potential winning 3-pointer before the quarter ended.

Chiba wasn’t done, though. The visitors’ seized momentum with a 16-0 spurt that bridged the fourth quarter and OT to take a commanding 82-73 advantage.

Stone paced Chiba (36-16) with 19 points with 14 rebounds and four assists. He attempted 10 of the Jets’ 35 3s, and made two. Ryumo Ono and Kosuke Ishii added 17 points apiece, the latter knocking down 5 of 9 shots from beyond the arc. Armstrong contributed 12 points, a game-best 16 boards and two blocks, while Michael Parker added nine points, eight rebounds and three steals.

Jets point guard Yuki Togashi dished out six assists.

Tokyo led 40-35 at halftime.

For the Alvark (38-14), Garrett had 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Former NBA and Arizona State forward Jeff Ayres scored 23 points on 10-for-15 shooting and pulled down 10 boards. Daiki Tanaka, who was 1-for-8 from 3-point range, scored 15 points and Zack Baranski had nine.

Lakestars 74, Hannaryz 68

In Kyoto, Craig Brackins’ double-double (19 points, 10 rebounds) and effective team defense helped carry Shiga past its Kansai rival.

The Lakestars (14-38) held the Hannaryz to 35.8 percent shooting from the field.

Julian Mavunga and Tomonobu Hasegawa had 12 points apiece for Shiga and Narito Namizato scored 10. Yosuke Sugawara contributed 10 rebounds and three steals.

For Kyoto (23-29), Mo Charlo was the top scorer with 14 points and Shingo Utsumi added nine.

Sunrockers 80, Albirex BB 57

In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, balanced scoring propelled Shibuya past the hosts.

Six Sunrockers scored in double figures: Yuto Otsuka and Aki Chambers (13 points apiece), Leo Vendrame (12), R.T. Guinn (11) and Robert Sacre and Ira Brown (10 each). Otsuka sank all five of his shots from the floor, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range, as the visitors won their third straight game and for the fourth time in their last five.

Guinn led Shibuya (27-25) with eight rebounds and Sacre and Kenta Hirose both had seven. Taishiro Shimizu and Hirose each dished out five assists, while Sacre was the team leader in steals (four).

The Sunrockers outscored Niigata 30-13 in the third quarter to take a 65-48 lead into the final stanza.

Clint Chapman had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Albirex (23-29). Davante Gardner scored 14 points with 10 boards and Kimitake Sato added 11 points.

NeoPhoenix 77, B-Corsairs 64

In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, University of Memphis alum Robert Dozier’s 22-point night sparked San-en in a victory over Yokohama.

Shingo Okada poured in 13 points, Josh Childress scored 10 and Tatsuya Suzuki chipped in with eight points and four assists. Shuto Tawatari was credited with a game-best six assists and Atsuya Ota swatted two shots.

The NeoPhoenix (28-24) canned 50.8 percent of their shots in the series opener.

Takuya Kawamura scored 27 points for the B-Corsairs (15-37) and Jeff Parmer had 14. Jason Washburn added nine points and Faye Pape Mour contributed seven points and nine boards.

Evessa 92, Diamond Dolphins 73

In Komaki, Aichi Prefecture, Josh Harrellson’s 24-point, 19-rebound performance and lights-out 3-point shooting carried Osaka past Nagoya.

The Evessa (25-27) canned 10 of 15 3s. Takuya Soma was 3-for-3 for all of his points in the series opener. Hiroyuki Kinoshita made 2 of 2 long-range shots in an eight-point, six-assist outing.

Oaska big man Xavier Gibson finished with 18 points and seven rebounds. Shinnosuke Negoro added 14 points and Takuya Hashimoto had 11. Richard Roby came off the bench and contributed four assists.

The Evessa, who never trailed, took a 47-43 lead into the third quarter.

Jerome Tillman was the Diamond Dolphins’ high scorer with 20 points. Justin Burrell added 12 points and seven rebounds and Takaya Sasayama scored 11 points and dished out five assists.

Brave Thunders 78, Grouses 63

In Kawasaki, the hosts jumped out to a 40-21 halftime lead and bounced back from Friday night’s loss to Toyama.

Ryusei Shinoyama paced Kawasaki (44-9) with 22 points and handed out five assists. He was 9-for-12 from the field, including 4 of 5 on 3s.

Nick Fazekas had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Brave Thunders and Yuma Fujii chipped in with 13 points and seven assists, while Takumi Hasegawa had nine points. Mamadou Diouf grabbed 10 rebounds.

Kawasaki dominated on the boards (40-24 rebounding margin).

Takeshi Mito led the Grouses (15-38) with 22 points. Dexter Pittman added 15 points and Naoki Uto scored 10 points and handed out six assists.

The teams combined for 31 turnovers, including 16 by the hosts.

After the game, Toyama coach Bob Nash credited Kawasaki for its quality performance.

“I thought today (Kawasaki) came out and played extremely well from beginning to end,” Nash told reporters. “They had a big second quarter and took us out of our rhythm, didn’t allow us to get the easy touches that we got yesterday. So you have to give them credit for their defensive effort.”

The Brave Thunders led by as many as 28 points, but Nash said his players never gave up.

“I just like the fight that my team had this weekend under very difficult circumstances, not having (Masashi) Joho and not having (Drew) Viney,” said Nash, whose short-handed team trimmed the lead to 15. “And they still fought hard and made it an interesting game.”

Though the Grouses are out of the playoff race, Nash vowed that the team will remain competitive and work hard to close out the season.

“We are just going to keep working and get as many wins as we can against whoever we play,” Nash said.

SeaHorses 96, Golden Kings 82

In Okinawa City, Mikawa’s strong inside offensive attack was the catalyst for a triumph over the hosts.

Kosuke Kanamaru had 23 points to lead the SeaHorses (42-10) and J.R. Sakuragi added 20 points. Makoto Hiejima scored 15 points and Gavin Edwards had 12, while Shinsuke Kashiwagi poured in 11. Isaac Butts finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.

Hiejima dished out four assists.

The West Division regular-season champs outscored the Golden Kings 52-40 in the paint.

Ryuichi Kishimoto had 21 points for Ryukyu (25-27) and Anthony McHenry scored 17 on 8-for-10 points. Naoki Tashiro and Lamont Hamilton supplied nine and seven points, respectively.

Hamilton was the team leader in rebounds (10), assists (five) and blocks (two).

Northern Happinets 66, 89ers 48

In Sendai, Akita limited the hosts to 16-for-56 shooting (28.6 percent) in the series opener, picking up a runaway win.

Scott Morrison led the Northern Happinets (16-36) with 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Leo Lyons and Daichi Taniguchi put 11 and 10 points on the board, respectively. Seiya Ando and Shigehiro Taguchi finished with seven points apiece, Ando contributing seven assists and four steals.

For Sendai (13-39), Tshilidzi Nephawe notched a double-double (13 points, 14 rebounds) and Takayuki Kumagai provided eight points.

Second-division update: Here are the results of Saturday’s games: Earthfriends Tokyo Z 81, Tokyo Excellence 59; Kagawa Five Arrows 68, Kumamoto Volters 65; Fukushima Firebonds 89, Aomori Wat’s 88; Iwate Big Bulls 74, Yamagata Wyverns 62; Shinshu Brave Warriors 82, Fighting Eagles Nagoya 78; Nishinomiya Storks 92, Bambitious Nara 76; Gunma Crane Thunders 86, Ibaraki Robots 71; Ehime Orange Vikings 86, Hiroshima Dragonflies 74; and Shimane Susanoo Magic 98, Kagoshima Rebnise 68.