Kyoto’s depth playing instrumental role in five-game winning streak


Staff Writer

Kyoto Hannaryz coach Honoo Hamaguchi is utilizing a deep bench to wear down opponents and keep his players fresh.

For example, he used 13 players in Saturday’s 75-61 road victory over the Shinshu Brave Warriors in Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture.

Only forward David Palmer (35 minutes, 48 seconds) and guard Shun Watanuki (31:20) played more than big man Chris Holm’s 26 minutes. (Thirteen Hannaryz also stepped onto the court in a 105-62 blowout win over the Tokyo Cinq Reves last Sunday; the same number appeared in the series opener against Tokyo.)

Kyoto has won five straight games and 11 of its past 15.

Guard Yu Okada only logged 13:38, but collected a game-best four steals. Palmer notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds for Kyoto (16-7), which has solidified its position near the top of the Western Conference behind the idle Ryukyu Golden Kings (17-3), a perennial power. The Oita HeatDevils (12-11) are currently in third place.

Former Washington Wizard Edwin Ubiles led the Hannaryz with 16 points, scoring them in a hurry (22:31), but going 5-for-15 from the field. Ubiles, however, was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

Hannaryz post player Joe Werner, a standout for the Chiba Jets last season, had 13 points and eight rebounds and center Chris Holm provided nine points and 16 boards for the victors. Watanuki finished with seven points and shared the team lead in assists (three) with Palmer. Ten Kyoto players handed out at least one assist.

The Hannaryz led 34-30 at halftime, then outscored the hosts 19-7 in the third quarter to extend the margin to 53-37.

Kyoto’s superior depth also produced big results in the rebounding department. The Hannaryz out-rebounded the Brave Warriors 56-35, including 23-10 on the offensive glass.

Xavier Gibson and Patrick Sanders both had 16 points for Shinshu (14-7), while Gibson also committed six turnovers. Jeff Parmer added 11 points and Shota Konno scored eight.

B-Corsairs 85, Rizing 77 (OT)

In Fukuoka, Marquise Gray had 27 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and three blocks to lead Yokohama past the Rizing in overtime.

A day after what many view as an All-Star snub, Gray, a Michigan State product, reminded folks around the bj-league that he’s one of the premier forwards in Japan. He is the league’s third-leading scorer (20.2 points per game) and fourth-leading rebounder (11.8).

Masayuki Kabaya and Omar Reed each scored 14 points for the defending champion B-Corsairs (12-11). Center Wayne Marshall came off the bench and contributed 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocks for first-year coach Michael Katsuhisa’s club.

Marcus Simmons supplied eight points and two steals for Yokohama, and Reed had 10 rebounds and four steals.

The B-Corsairs were 31-for-56 from inside the arc, while Fukuoka was held to 18-for-53 from 2-point range.

Reggie Warren and Cohey Aoki paced the Rizing (8-13) with 17 points apiece and Julius Ashby had 12 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. Akitomo Takeno finished with nine points.

Northern Happinets 90, HeatDevils 70

In Akita, Chas McFarland’s 23-point, 11-rebound, five-assist, two-steal, two-block performance and Richard Roby’s 20 points guided the Eastern Conference leaders past Oita.

McFarland was 9-for-11 from the field and Akita made 29 of 47 shots from inside the arc.

Leading 33-31 at halftime, the Happinets (21-4) turned the game into a rout by putting 31 points on the board in the third quarter and holding the HeatDevils to 15.

On Friday, point guard Yuki Togashi was named an All-Star starter along with backcourt mate Shigehiro Taguchi and Akita forwards Roby and Ruben Boykin. But McFarland, who wasn’t selected, made the biggest impact in this game.

Togashi and Taguchi both scored nine points, while Yuto Otsuka poured in 13.

For the HeatDevils, Devonne Giles had 23 points and 12 rebounds and Bryon Allen added 15 points and 13 rebounds. Taishiro Shimizu scored 12 points.

Evessa 76, Phoenix 61

In Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, Kevin Galloway led the Evessa with 15 points and 12 rebounds and his teammates stepped up with balanced scoring to defeat Hamamatsu Higashimikawa.

Dillion Sneed chipped in with 14 points, 10 boards and two blocks and Naoto Takushi scored 10 points for Osaka (9-14), with four more Evessa players providing seven or more points, including Yosuke Sugawara with eight.

Jermaine Dixon had a team-high 12 points and eight assists for the Phoenix (12-11). Masahiro Oguchi scored 11 points before fouling out, and Deshawn Stephens and Cyrus Tate both had nine-point efforts.

Crane Thunders 85, Lakestars 84

In Tomioka, Gunma Prefecture, Hiroki Fujita earned his first victory as a bj-league head coach, guiding the hosts past Shiga.

Fujita replaced Ryan Blackwell on Dec. 15 and lost his first game in charge in the series finale that day against Shinshu.

Following a bye week, the Crane Thunders (4-17) played a solid game in the opener against the Lakestars. They made 16 of 20 free throws, converted 52.2 percent of their 2-point shots and finished with 17 assists and six turnovers.

Gunma’s Carlos Dixon had a fine all-around game, contributing 20 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks. Darko Cohadarevic added 15 points, Shingo Okada and Sylvester Morgan each scored 14 and Masashi Obuchi had nine points and seven assists.

For Shiga (10-13), Dionisio Gomez had 24 points and 18 rebounds and Brandon Fields scored 20 points. Marshall Brown had 16 points, Daiki Terashita scored 16 and Yutaka Yokoe had eight. Jumpei Nakama added five points and six assists.

The Lakestars were 12-for-24 at the charity stripe.

Grouses 79, Bambitious 76

In Toyama, Masashi Joho sank four 3-pointers en route to 20 points and the Grouses swatted seven shots in a hard-earned triumph over Nara.

Sam Willard contributed 16 points and 16 rebounds and Takeshi Mito had a 15-point outing. Ira Brown, who scored 13 points and pulled down 12 boards, was one of three Grouses with two blocks, joining Josh Gross and Josh Benson.

Toyama improved to 18-5 under second-year coach Bob Nash, a former NBA big man.

The Bambitious, a first-year expansion squad, got 30 points from Marquette University product Joe Chapman, who drained 8 of 19 3s. Anthony Brown finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds for Nara (5-16). Guard Tatsuya Suzuki chalked up seven assists and collected five steals.