The top-seeded Kawasaki Brave Thunders shot a sizzling 53 percent from the field in the first game of the B. League Championship quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts rode that dominant offensive performance to an 89-75 victory over the eighth-seeded Sunrockers Shibuya in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Game 2 of their series is on Sunday at the same locale.
Ryusei Shinoyama delivered a 21-point performance, including 5-for-5 from 3-point range for the Brave Thunders. Takumi Hasegawa knocked down 4 of 5 3s in a 14-point effort. Former Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks big man Nick Fazekas poured in 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out three assists.
Naoto Tsuji had 15 points and five assists for Kawasaki (50-11), which led 27-26 after one quarter and 45-36 entering the second half. Teammate Ryan Spangler chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds, five assists and two blocks, and Mamadou Diouf contributed three steals.
Though Fazekas was held more than nine points below his league-best scoring average (27.1 per game), Kawasaki’s deep, versatile bench proved to be a key factor for the Central Division champion.
Former NBA center Robert Sacre led the Sunrockers with 31 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Ira Brown finished with 12 points, 15 boards and six assists, Aki Chambers scored 11 points and Kenta Hirose and Takashi Ito both had eight. Hirose dished out five assists.
Shibuya (32-29), which shot 44.3 percent from the field, outrebounded Kawasaki 47-26, including 24-8 on the offensive glass.
The Sunrockers were 8-for-17 at the free-throw line.
SeaHorses 76, Golden Kings 72
In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, sharpshooter Kosuke Kanamaru delivered a vintage 31-point performance and Gavin Edwards notched a double-double as the third-seeded hosts edged Ryukyu.
Edwards, a former University of Connecticut post player, finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. Frontcourt mate Isaac Butts added 11 points and 14 rebounds (six offensive boards).
The West Division champion SeaHorses (47-14) held the Golden Kings to nine fourth-quarter points.
Mikawa captain Ryoma Hashimoto doled out seven assists without a turnover.
As a team, the SeaHorses had 20 assists with six turnovers.
The sixth-seeded Golden Kings (29-32) led 63-60 after three quarters.
For Ryukyu, Reyshawn Terry had 27 points and 12 rebounds and Ryuichi Kishimoto scored 11 points. Shigeyuki Kinjo and Shota Tsuyama added seven points apiece.
Both teams blocked eight shots and had 46 rebounds apiece.
Alvark 90, NeoPhoenix 75
In Tokyo, veteran big man Joji Takeuchi had 20 points, nine rebounds and two blocks and Diante Garrett and Daiki Tanaka also made significant contributions on offense as the fourth-seeded hosts cruised past San-en in their series opener.
Garrett scored 19 points, dished out four assists and hauled in eight rebounds for Tokyo, which built a 32-17 lead early in the second quarter and took a 64-55 advantage into the final stanza.
Tanaka poured in 18 points on 8-for-16 shooting and handed out three assists for the Alvark (45-16). Former Columbia University guard Keijuro “K.J.” Matsui scored nine points, canning 3 of 6 from long range on the afternoon, while Jeff Ayres added six points and nine rebounds.
For the fifth-seeded NeoPhoenix (33-28), ex-NBA forward Josh Childress was the leading scorer with 25 points and corralled a team-high 10 rebounds. Robert Dozier supplied 15 points and Tatsuya Suzuki added 14 points and three assists. Shingo Okada added eight points. Atsuya Ota, a fixture on the team during the bj-league era, had eight rebounds and Shuto Tawatari, who was 0-for-8 from 3-point range, dished out four assists.
Susanoo Magic 60, Dragonflies 55
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, former San Antonio Spur Josh Davis’ 12-point, 20-rebound, three-steal effort and Jun Abe’s 11 points, including three 3s, helped carry the hosts past Hiroshima in Game 1.
Shimane center Wayne Marshall chipped in with eight points, 10 rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks in just under 21 minutes.
Keisuke Takabatake and Hayato Kantake each scored seven points for the Susanoo Magic (52-9) and Edward Yamamoto dished out three assists.
For the Dragonflies (46-15), Shogo Asayama scored 14 points, making 3 of 6 3-point attempts and Hiromu Kitagawa had 11 points, attempting and making the identical number of 3s. Seiya Tanaka and Daniel Dillon both scored eight points and shared the team lead in rebounds (seven).
Shimane coach Michael Katsuhisa’s squad won the battle on the boards, outrebounding Hiroshima 50-40.
Both teams shot 32.3 percent from the field.
Game 2 is on Sunday.