TOKOROZAWA, Saitama Pref. — The Saitama Broncos excelled at the basics on Sunday.
Embracing the challenge of coach Bob Nash, who urged them to play better defense in the series finale against the Akita Northern Happinets, they collected a victory the old-fashioned way: they earned it.
The Broncos forced 18 turnovers, blocked 11 shots — led by George Leach’s five and Bruce Brown’s four — ran an unselfish, efficient offense and knocked down 11 of 22 3-pointers in a convincing 98-82 win at Tokorozawa Municipal Gymnasium.
“I thought the Broncos came out and did a good job today,” Nash said, adding that the team’s defense was much better than it was in a 96-90 loss to Akita on Saturday.
With better defense, the Broncos forced Akita into taking tougher shots and that created long rebounds, which “got our fast break going,” Nash added.
Before boarding a bus to head back to Akita, Happinets guard Sek Henry said that turnovers and blocked shots were the deciding factor in the game.
Bobby Nash, the coach’s son, paced the victors with 21 points and former NBA point guard Kenny Satterfield had a spotlight-grabbing all-around effort (18 points, 4-for-6 from 3-point range, nine rebounds, five assists and five steals in 27:03). Leach chipped in with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists and anchored the middle with authority, but sat out the fourth quarter as the Broncos (4-10) took a 66-47 lead into the final stanza.
“I thought our transition game with Kenny pushing the ball and our forwards running was the highlight of our game tonight,” Nash said.
“I’m pleased with the defensive effort. Like I said, we know we can score enough points, we’ve just got to be able to stop people, and tonight we did a pretty decent job of that.”
Saitama turned a close game into a rout in the third quarter, when it outplayed and outsmarted the out-of-towners. The Broncos, who led 36-33 at halftime, used a 17-8 spurt to open the third quarter, and outscored Akita 30-14 in the period, including 10 points from Satterfield, as they made 12 of 19 shots from the field. The Broncos were 4-for-4 from beyond the 3-point arc in the third, capitalizing on Akita’s ineffective and, on several occasions, slowly rotating defenders.
After Antonio Burks nailed a 3 late in the third to pull Akita within 56-44, the Broncos used another super spurt (22-3) to pull ahead 78-47 after a Satterfield 3 with 6:40 to play in the fourth.
Henry put 22 points on the board in the fourth, including a pair of authoritative dunks and three 3s. The Happinets scored points in bunches in the fourth quarter, making the final score appear closer than the way the game was played.
Henry led Akita (5-9) with 29 points, while Dokun Akingbade and Makoto Sawaguchi each scored 12.
“Our interior game, on offense and defense, was bad today,” Akita coach Bob Pierce said, noting Paul Butorac’s four-point effort and Anthony Coleman’s two-point game, but also indicated he wasn’t pleased with numerous decisions by the team’s guards, either.
Pierce noted that the team’s energy level was not as strong as it was in the series opener.
Susanoo Magic 97, Lakestars 77
In Izumo, Shimane Pref., Will Caudle scored 22 points and Edward Yamamoto had a season-best 18 points and five assists as the hosts earned a series split by routing Shiga.
Reggie Golson scored 16 points and grabbed nine boards for Shimane (6-8).
Lamar Rice led the Lakestars (10-4) with 20 points and 11 rebounds and Yu Okada scored 15.
Rizing 107, Shining Suns 70
In Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Pref., Michael Parker’s 36-point, 13-rebound, eight-assist outing guided Fukuoka to a victory over the hosts.
Jun Nakanishi and Nile Murry scored 16 points apiece for the Rizing (9-5). Murry handed out 10 assists.
Elijah Palmer led Miyazaki (5-9) with 21 points and 20 boards.
Phoenix 83, 89ers 78
In Toyokawa, Aichi Pref., Kazuo Nakamura’s club improved to a league-best 13-1 with a narrow victory over Sendai.
Wayne Arnold paced Hamamatsu Higashimikawa with 24 points, Jeffrey Parmer scored 22 and three teammates had 10 points apiece.
Mike Bell had a 22-point outing for Sendai (7-7).
Hannaryz 94, Five Arrows 72
In Kyoto, interior superiority carried Kyoto to a triumph and a series sweep over Takamatsu.
Reggie Warren (25 points, 15 rebounds), Wendell White (24 points, 14 boards) and Michael Fey (15 points, 13 boards) controlled the glass for the Hannaryz (6-8).
For the Five Arrows (4-8), Satoshi Takada was the top scorer, finishing with 18 points.
Evessa 91, HeatDevils 90
In Beppu, Oita Pref., the hosts made a spirited fourth-quarter comeback, but Lynn Washington drained two free throws with 2 seconds left to lift Osaka, which earned a series sweep.
Washington led the Evessa (10-4) with 32 points, while Billy Knight scored 19. Lawrence Blackledge added 10 points and 10 boards and Masashi Obuchi had six assists to go along with nine points for Osaka.
Former Stanford University players Matt Lottich (33 points) and Taj Finger (25 points) were the high scorers for Oita (5-9).
Golden Kings 80, Albirex BB 79 (OT)
In Niigata, Carlos Dixon made a buzzer-beating shot in the extra period to carry Ryukyu to a win and a two-game sweep over the hosts.
Anthony McHenry scored 21 points for the Golden Kings (9-5), followed by Dixon’s 13 and David Palmer’s 12. Tsubasa Yonamine, who had eight assists and zero turnovers, continued his stellar play at the point.
For Niigata (5-7), Julius Ashby had a double-double (20 points, 14 boards).
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