In a game featuring 14 lead changes, the Ryukyu Golden Kings maintained their poise and held off the hosts’ late comeback effort in the fourth quarter on Saturday.
The result? Ryukyu 86, Chiba Jets Funabashi 84.
The Golden Kings took an 86-78 lead on Josh Scott’s 19th and final point with 48 seconds remaining. It was the center’s only free-throw attempt of the B. League series opener.
Chiba chipped away at the lead down the stretch, with Fumio Nishimura’s 3-pointer with 1 second remaining accounting for the game’s final points at Funabashi Arena.
Scott, a former University of Colorado player, scored seven of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of dunks. He was 9 of 11 from the floor. Ryuichi Kishimoto added 16 points and Jeff Ayres had 15 for the Kings (11-3). Takatoshi Furukawa poured in 12 points, while floor general Narito Namizato handed out seven assists without a turnover.
Ryukyu led 45-39 at halftime.
For Chiba (10-4), Gavin Edwards had 18 points and 11 rebounds. Yuki Togashi and Josh Duncan added 16 and 14 points, respectively. Kosuke Ishii canned three 3s in an 11-point outing and Aki Chambers put 10 points on the board.
Brex 97, Rizing Zephyr 65
In Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, MVP candidate Ryan Rossiter’s 19-point, 18-rebound, nine-assist performance sparked the hosts in a runaway victory over Fukuoka.
Kosuke Takeuchi and Hironori Watanabe each scored 17 points for the Brex (12-2), who finished with 26 assists and seven turnovers.
For the visitors, Benjamin Lawson and Dexter Pittman scored 14 points apiece, with Shota Tsuyama adding 11 and Kazuya “J.” Hatano 10.
Fukuoka (2-12) turned the ball over 15 times.
Northern Happinets 79, Diamond Dolphins 63
In Nagoya, Akita avenged a pair of home losses to the Diamond Dolphins last weekend with a dominant finish in this week’s series opener.
The Happinets (4-10 outscored the hosts 32-16 in the decisive fourth quarter.
For Akita, Justin Keenan (24 points, 12 boards) and Kadeem Coleby (15 points, 14 rebounds) both notched double-doubles, while Takuya Nakayama had 16 points, seven assists and four steals.
The Happinets won the battle on the boards (47-31 rebounding edge).
For Nagoya (11-3), which had won its previous nine games, Takaya Sasayama finished with 13 points and Craig Brackins added 11.
Hannaryz 80, NeoPhoenix 76
In Kyoto, David Simon put his stamp on the game with 27 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks in the hosts’ narrow victory over San-en.
Shaquille Morris, a Wichita State alum, chipped in with 20 points and Tatsuya Ito had eight points and doled out seven assists for the Hannaryz (9-5).
Hayato Kawashima paced the NeoPhoenix (5-9) with 19 points and William McDonald had 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Grouses 91, Lakestars 84
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Toyama’s fourth-quarter scoring outburst propelled the club past the struggling Lakestars.
Joshua Smith ignited the Grouses (8-6) with 26 points on 8-for-9 shooting. He went to the line for 15 shots and sank 10 free throws.
Leo Lyons contributed 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists with a pair of steals, while Yuto Otsuka and Naoki Uto scored 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Toyama was 23 of 34 at the foul line; Shiga made 11 of 13.
Yusuke Karino led the Lakestars (3-11) with 31 points, including 6 of 7 from 3-point range. Koyo Takahashi had 16 points and veteran point guard Taishi Ito supplied seven points and 11 assists.
Albirex BB 78, Levanga 63
In Niigata, frontcourt mates Davante Gardner and Lamont Hamilton combined for 56 points as the hosts prevailed against Hokkaido.
Gardner scored a game-best 29 points and pulled down 17 rebounds. Hamilton finished with 27 points and 12 boards for the Albirex (10-4).
Marc Trasolini paced the Levanga (4-10) with 24 points. David Doblas had 12 points.
Sunrockers 76, SeaHorses 71
In Tokyo, Ryan Kelly’s 22 points and 15 boards helped carry Shibuya past Mikawa.
Leo Vendrame contributed 17 points and five assists for the hosts, with Yusei Sugiura matching his season-high output (12 points). Robert Sacre provided 11 points for the Sunrockers (4-10), who scored 51 second-half points.
J.R. Sakuragi paced the SeaHorses (7-7) with 18 points, Kosuke Kanamaru scored 17 and James Southerland had 15. Isaac Butts added 12 points and 14 boards.
Evessa 86, B-Corsairs 81
In Osaka, Evessa big men Josh Harrellson and Xavier Gibson both blocked four shots to lead a strong defensive effort against Yokohama.
Harrellson had a team-best 21 points along with 16 rebounds and Gibson scored 16 points. Shota Konno and Faye Pape Mour finished with nine points apiece for Osaka (5-9), while Hiroyuki Kinoshita dished out seven assists.
Javon McCrea led the B-Corsairs (3-11) with 24 points and 12 boards and Takuya Kawamura had 21 points.
Brave Thunders 79, Alvark 66
In Kawasaki, Nick Fazekas led the hosts with 24 points and 12 rebounds and Yuma Fujii handed out seven assists in a solid victory over Tokyo.
Naoto Tsuji, who sank a trio of 3s, and former NBA player Vernon Macklin each scored 15 points for Kawasaki (9-5). Macklin was 6 of 7 from the floor and snared seven rebounds.
The Brave Thunders took a 37-34 lead into the second half, and a 10-0 spurt put them ahead 59-44 with 1:51 to play in the third quarter.
Alex Kirk was the Alvark’s high scorer with 20 points and corralled nine rebounds. Daiki Tanaka had 13 points and Yudai Baba nine.
Tokyo (9-5) shot 38.7 percent from the field.
Here are Saturday’s second-division results:
Firebonds 100, Volters 86
Robots 80, Fighting Eagles 63
Susanoo Magic 84, Samuraiz 73
Brave Warriors 75, Five Arrows 71
89ers 86, Bambitious 60
Crane Thunders 81, Orange Vikings 67
Dragonflies 83, Earthfriends 79
Wyverns 99, Storks 78
Wat’s 75, Bee Trains 69