The defending champion Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix extended their winning streak to 12 games on Saturday, beating the host Saitama Broncos 73-71.
Wayne Arnold and Jeffrey Parmer scored 17 points apiece and Ray Nixon had 14 for the Phoenix (14-1), whose import players scored all but seven of the team’s points.
Kenny Satterfield paced the Broncos (4-11) with 22 points and six assists, while Gordon Klaiber scored 14 and Bobby Nash had 11. Kazuya Hatano had nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds in Kasukabe, Saitama, Prefecture.
Three weeks ago, Hamamatsu swept Saitama, winning the two games by a combined 43 points.
The Phoenix improved to 7-0 on the road this season, forcing 24 turnovers to pick up their latest win.
Happinets 86, Hannaryz 69
In Noshiro, Akita Prefecture, Sek Henry scored 18 points and threaded the needle on eight assists and Antonio Burks also scored 18 while sinking 5 of 8 3-point shots in the hosts’ win over Kyoto.
Paul Butorac scored 15 and Dokun Akingbade and Kazuhiro Shoji each had nine. Rookie forward Yuki Nobuhira, who prepped at Noshiro Kogyo High School, finished with eight points four rebounds and two steals for Akita (6-9).
“We got an exceptional game today out of rookie Yuki Nobuhira,” Northern Happinets coach Bob Pierce told The Japan Times after the game.
“He spent many of 22 minutes chasing Wendell White around the floor. He was the game MVP for his hustle.”
For Kyoto (6-9), Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, the 41-year-old former NBA guard, scored a team-high 18 points and Wendell White, last season’s regular-season league MVP had 17.
Veteran Makoto Hasegawa, who attended Noshiro Technical High School before beginning a long pro career, had an inspirational return to the court in the second court for 3:25, Pierce said. Hasegawa had missed the previous seven games.
“He has been working really hard to get back, so he could play in front of so many loyal fans in Noshiro City,” the coach said of the local hero.
Albirex BB 80, Grouses 69
In Uozu, Toyama Prefecture, Willie Veasley’s 18-point effort and Zach Arnold’s 16 points led Niigata to a road win in its series opener against the Grouses.
Veasley played a starring role for Butler University last season, including in the NCAA Tournament, when his school faced perennial power Duke in the title contest. Those schools were slated to face off on Saturday in a highly anticipated rematch.
Niigata and Toyama, meanwhile, will renew their Eastern Conference rivalry on Sunday half a world away. The Albirex are 2-1 against the Grouses this season.
Yuichi Ikeda had 12 points and Issa Konare scored 11 for the Albirex (6-7), who were 19-for-24 at the charity stripe.
John Davis paced Toyama (5-8) with 19 points, while Brian Harper added 15 points and seven boards.
The Grouses made 22 turnovers; the Albirex had just eight.
Lakestars 80, Five Arrows 73
In Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, the hosts’ Big Three had strong performances in a win over Takamatsu.
Mikey Marshall had 22 points, 10 rebounds and three steals, Masashi Joho scored 17 and dished out five assists and Gary Hamilton added 16 points and 15 rebounds to lead the first-place Lakestars to their 11th victory in 15 games this season.
Shiga’s Yu Okada scored eight points off the bench and veteran point guard Takamichi Fujiwara added seven points.
The Lakestars pounded the glass and won the battle on the boards (a 55-36 edge in rebounds).
Terrance Farley, Hiroyuki Kikuchi and Shuichi Takeda each scored 13 points for the undersized Five Arrows (4-9). Satoshi Takada added 10 points and Rasheed Sparks had nine points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes.
Susanoo Magic 82, 89ers 67
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, veteran guard Takumi Ishizaki, playing his first game for Shimane in four weeks, scored a game-high 25 points and Reggie Golson had a double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds) in a one-sided win over Sendai.
The expansion Susanoo Magic improved to 7-8 under first-year coach Zeljko Pavlicevic, the former Japan national team bench boos who is featured in the latest issue of Number sports magazine.
While Ishizaki was playing for the national team during November’s Asian Games, Shimane went 2-4 in his absence. Jeral Davis added 10 points for the Magic in the win.
For the 89ers (7-8), Mac Hopson was the leading scorer (20 points) and Mike Bell had 16 points and nine boards. Chris Holm, the league’s No. 2 rebounder last seasons, was held to a season-low six boards.
Golden Kings 87, Shining Suns 74
In Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, David Palmer scored 19 points and Carlos Dixon had 16 points, 10 boards and five assists in a win over Miyazaki.
Tsubasa Yonamine (11 points, six assists), Shigeyuki Kinjo (11 points) and Jeff Newton (eight points, nine rebounds, three blocks) also had solid performances as the Golden Kings improved to 9-6.
Jackie Manuel finished with a team-best 23 points for the Shining Suns (5-10) and Brandon Cole scored 21 and corralled 14 boards. Elijah Palmer scored 10 and Taishiro Shimizu had eight points and seven assists.