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Tochigi trounces Shiga in teams’ first game after All-Star break

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Tochigi Brex ushered in the second half of the B. League season with a resounding victory over the visiting Shiga Lakestars on Thursday night.

The Brex extending their winning streak to four, recording an 80-64 decision in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture.

Tochigi held Shiga to 11 third-quarter points and took a 59-45 lead into the final stanza.

Moments later, the defending champion Brex (14-15) used a 12-0 spurt to increase their cushion to 71-47.

Tochigi veteran forward Jeff Gibbs had a team-best 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting and made two steals. Ryan Rossiter finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block in 24-plus minutes, while Cedric Bozeman chipped in with 10 points. Yusuke Endo and Hironori Watanabe each had nine points for the hosts.

All-Star point guard Yuta Tabuse provided six points for the Brex, who dished out 22 assists and turned the ball over 11 times. Forward Kosuke Takeuchi, another All-Star, contributed five points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

Shiga (11-18) committed 17 turnovers and Tochigi capitalized on the Lakestars’ miscues, scoring 19 points from turnovers.

Newcomer Venky Jois, an Australian forward who played college ball at Eastern Washington University, paced Shiga with 23 points on 11-for-16 shooting. D’or Fischer had 15 points, 10 boards and six assists and Narito Namizato scored 11 points and handed out five assists.

The Brex shot 49.2 percent from the field; the Lakestars made 43.1 percent of their shots.

At the free-throw line, Tochigi was 14 of 18, while Shiga converted 7 of 15, including 1 of 7 by Jois.

Shiga lost its fourth consecutive game.