The Takamatsu Five Arrows’ devastating decline not been particularly surprising based on the team’s well-publicized financial problems.
The Shikoku-based club, a perennial playoff contender in its first three seasons, doesn’t have enough overall talent or depth to compete with most of the league’s teams.
On Sunday, the Five Arrows lost for the 65th time in 86 games dating to the start of last season. The latest loss, an 81-74 setback to the Shimane Susanoo Magic in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, gives Takamatsu an 8-26 record, the worst in the bj-league.
Led by Reggie Golson’s 19-point performance, Shimane (15-19) completed a series sweep against its Western Conference foe. Takumi Ishizaki added 15 points, Jeral Davis scored 14 and blocked four shots, Forrest Ray Fisher III had nine points and Terry Evans and Tatsuhiro Yokoo chipped in with eight apiece.
Kirby Lemons paced the Five Arrows with 15 points, while Hiroyuki Kikuchi and Rasheed Sparks each scored 12.
89ers 67, Grouses 62
In Sendai, Mike Bell and Chris Holm notched double-doubles to guide the hosts to a narrow victory over Toyama.
Bell, an All-Star forward, had 16 points and 13 rebounds and Chris Holm scored 15 and grabbed 18 boards for the 89ers (21-11). Kenichi Takahashi and South Korean Lee Hye Cheon each scored 10 points and Mac Hopson handed out seven assists.
Brian Harper finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Grouses (10-22).
Golden Kings 81, Lakestars 72
In Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, Naoto Kosuge scored a season-best 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting and Anthony McHenry poured in 19 as Ryukyu completed a weekend sweep over the hosts.
Jeff Newton added 13 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks and steady floor leader Tsubasa Yonamine had 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Golden Kings (21-13 overall, 11-7 on the road).
Sixth man Yu Okada led the Lakestars (19-15) with 21 points. Lamar Rice contributed 14 points and 10 boards, Josh Peppers scored 11 and Ray Schafer had 11, but Shiga dropped its fifth straight game. Power forward Gary Hamilton, meanwhile, hauled in 12 rebounds, but was held to four points on 1-for-7 shooting.
Hannaryz 85, Albirex BB 65
In Kyoto, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf put 23 points on the board, Wendell White supplied the hosts with a 20-point, 16-rebound, six-assist, four-steal effort and the Hannaryz bounced back from a series-opening loss.
For Abdul-Rauf, it was his 11th straight double-digit scoring effort and 14th in his last 15 games. The league’s top free-throw shooter (88.9 percent) was 8-for-9 on Sunday. The former NBA standout turns 42 on March 4.
Michael Fey and Kyosuke Setoyama added nine points apiece, while the latter also contributed five rebounds and five assists for Kyoto (17-17).
For Niigata, Nick DeWitz and Zach Andrews scored 13 points apiece and Julius Ashby had 10. All-Star point guard Naoto Takushi, who had six assists on Saturday, was held to one in the series finale.
Kyoto had a 60-40 advantage in rebounds.
Phoenix 96, Happinets 83
In Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture, Jeffrey Parmer, one of the league’s elite all-around players, had 25 points, 15 rebounds and five assists to spark Hamamatsu Higashimikawa to a win over the hosts.
Wayne Arnold scored 21 points, Ray Nixon had 13 and Atsuya Ota added 10 as the Phoenix improved to a league-best 30-4, including a jaw-dropping 16-2 on the road.
Newcomer Will Graves scored 23 points in his second game for Akita (10-24), while Sek Henry had a 20-point, seven-rebound, six-assist afternoon. Kazuhiro Shoji finished with 13 points and Dokun Akingbade raked in 13 rebounds, but the expansion Northern Happinets lost their fourth game in six days.
Shining Suns 101, Broncos 91
In Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture, Elijah Palmer scored 25 points and Brandon Cole had 24 as Miyazaki salvaged a series split.
Palmer pulled down 14 rebounds and Jackie Manuel, a former North Carolina defensive stalwart, chipped in with 22 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and six blocks for the Shining Suns (12-22). Shinnosuke Oishi, meanwhile, had a perfect shooting day: 3-for-3 from the field (two 3s) and 3-for-3 at the foul line en route to an 11-point outing.
For Saitama (14-20), Kenny Satterfield was the top performer (33 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists) and Yuki Kitamuki continued his solid play of late with 22 points, his sixth straight game with 10 or more points.
The teams played the series opener in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture.