The Iwate Big Bulls extended their winning streak to 12 games by defeating the host Shimane Susanoo Magic 71-63 on Sunday afternoon.
Wayne Arnold knocked down four 3-pointers and scored a team-high 20 points for Eastern Conference-leading Iwate (13-1). Scootie Randall added 13 points and 10 rebounds and Lawrence Blackledge contributed 10 points, 14 boards, three assists and three blocks. Jun Nakanishi and Masato Tsukino added nine and eight points, respectively for the Big Bulls.
Randall, the league’s leading scorer (23.1 points per game), scored all but four of his points at the free-throw line, where he was 9-for-11 in the series finale in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture.
Iwate sank 19 of 25 free throws; Shimane made 11 of 22.
In coach Tomohiro Moriyama’s second game in charge, the Magic (1-13) led 39-32 at halftime and 51-45 entering the fourth quarter.
The Big Bulls outscored the hosts 26-12 in the final stanza.
“We struggled in today’s game against Shimane,” Nakanishi, a veteran guard who has played in the bj-league since its inception in 2005, told The Japan Times. “We didn’t come out with the focus and energy that we talked about in the pregame meeting. It’s good that we bounced back with our defense in the second half with a different mentality.
“I think our execution level on both ends of the floor was much better in the second half. See, one thing we have to keep in our mind is that anybody can beat anybody in this league. Whoever we play against, we have to approach the game like we are playing in the championship game.”
He added: “That’s the mind-set we must have in order to win the championship this year.”
What does Nakanishi think about his team’s 12-game win streak?
“It’s good to have streaks going, but we just take one game at a time and come out and play as hard as we can,” he said. “We got players who don’t care about the individual stats, and are willing to sacrifice for the team to win.
“We are really trying to get better each day and win the games. At the end of the day, we all get credit.”
Randall agreed that Shimane put up a formidable challenge.
“It was a tough contest,” the Temple University alum said. “Both teams played hard. The winning streak doesn’t really matter to us as a ball club. We are just trying to help each other be the best we can for the team. We are still trying to build our chemistry in many ways and it’s still early (in the season).”
Joe Chapman led the Magic with 24 points, Edward Yamamoto scored 11 and Isiah Brown and Tatsuhiro Yokoo both poured in 10. Brown hauled in a team-high 13 rebounds and Bingo Morriex had 12 boards.
Hannaryz 76, Phoenix 73
In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, 13 was the lucky number for Kyoto in the series finale.
Reggie Warren, David Palmer and Ryan Forehan-Kelly all scored 13 points as the Hannaryz (12-2) bounced back from a Saturday loss. Shun Watanuki scored nine points.
Warren pulled down nine rebounds and Kevin Kotzur had nine points with nine boards.
Kyoto out-rebounded Hamamatsu 37-31.
The Hannaryz were 21-for-28 at the charity stripe; the Phoenix converted 9 of 11 free throws.
Mo Charlo paced Hamamatsu (9-3) with 19 points and raked in 10 rebounds. Jermaine Green scored 11 points and Masahiro Oguchi and Shingo Okada added nine apiece. Nile Murry doled out a team-high six assists.
Northern Happinets 98, Bambitious 87
In Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture, Richard Roby, longtime NBA forward Kenyon Martin’s half-brother, dominated the action with 26 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and four blocks as the hosts completed a series sweep over Nara.
Akitomo Takeno added 19 points, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range, for Akita (12-2), while Deshawn Stephens had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Ruben Boykin came off the bench to provide 12 points and nine boards. Ryosuke Mizumachi had a nine-point effort and Tyran Walker scored eight points.
The Happinets finished with eight blocks, with five players swatting at least one Nara shot.
Chehales Tapscott paced Nara (2-8) with 22 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Tatsuya Suzuki had 19 points, Andre Murray scored 17 and Taishi Kasahara scored 10. Michael St. John contributed eight points and 12 rebounds. Ryo Yamazaki also scored eight points.
Five Arrows 82, Brave Warriors 73
In Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture, B.J. Puckett scored 18 points on 9-for-13 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds and Dexter Lyons put 16 points on the board as Takamatsu beat Shinshu for the second time in as many days.
Justin Watts added 15 points and Tsubasa Yonezawa had 11 for the Five Arrows (7-7), who have won four straight contests and five of their last seven. Takamatsu also got seven points apiece from Hiroyuki Kikuchi and Andrais Thornton, and Koki Yabuuchi chipped in with five points, eight assists and six steals.
For the Brave Warriors (4-6), Mohamed Abukar led the way with 20 points and Patrick Sanders scored 19. Carl Hall had 16 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks, playing all but 51 seconds of the game. Takato Saito dished out eight assists.
After the game, Lyons told The Japan Times, “The game was very strategic for the Brave Warriors as they only had three Americans. Because our team is coming together defensively, we were able to stop them from (reaching) the average points per game.”
He added: “They could not match our frontcourt physicality, they were in foul trouble and we were able to run away with the sweep for the weekend.
“Everyone played well for us Five Arrows, Japanese and Americans. Coach Kenzo (Maeda’s) game plan for this weekend paid off. We are 4-0 going home vs. Shiga. I feel good about going forward with (us) getting better as a unit and finding our identity.”
Firebonds 87, Cinq Reves 56
In Inagi, guard Masaya Karimata buried 8 of 14 3s en route to a game-best 34 points as Fukushima handed Tokyo its second loss of the weekend.
Karimata added five assists for the Firebonds (4-10), a first-year franchise. Verdell Jones III added 13 points, five assists and four steals and Edward Morris and James Hughes both had 12 points.
Terrance Shannon and Morris shared the team lead in rebounds (nine), and Fukushima held a 51-48 overall edge.
The Firebonds turned the ball over seven times; the Cinq Reves coughed it up 20 times.
Yuji Ide and Will Foster led Tokyo (3-11) with 12 points apiece. Kenji Kanai scored 10 points and Chris Brown nine. Foster added 11 boards to complete the double-double and blocked four shots.
Lakestars 75, Albirex BB 69
In Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, Terrance Woodbury had a game-high 27 points and Yu Okada dropped 17 on Niigata as the hosts won their third straight game.
For the Lakestars, Jeff Parmer scored 10 points, Yutake Yokoe netted eight and Chris Holm had six along with 14 rebounds.
Shiga (8-2) controlled the boards, outrebounding the Albirex 51-37.
Thomas Kennedy led Niigata (8-6) with 26 points. Patrick Sullivan scored 15 and Stephan Van Treese had eight.
89ers 95, Grouses 80
In Sendai, Kejuan Johnson scored 36 points, former bj-league MVP Wendell White added 29, including 10-for-11 from inside the arc, and the 89ers routed Toyama for the second straight day.
Adrian Moss finished with 19 points and nine boards for Sendai (9-5), which trailed 20-13 after one quarter, but took control in the second stanza, outscoring the visitors 32-16.
Joe Werner had 21 points and 10 boards for the Grouses (10-4). Jamelle Horne scored 15 points and Masashi Joho and Tatsunori Fujie had 13 apiece. Sam Willard pulled down 12 boards.
Wat’s 82, Evessa 65
In Fujisaki, Aomori Prefecture, Gyno Pomare energized the Wat’s with 21 points on 9-for-12 shooting, 10 rebounds and four steals and Paul Williams had a 20-point effort as they bounced back versus Osaka, ending the Evessa’s eight-game winning streak.
Kenichi Takahashi scored 12 points and Makoto Sawaguchi had eight for Aomori (8-6).
Shota Konno had 14 points for Osaka (9-5) and Seth Tarver and Shunki Hatakeyama both scored 10. Josh Dollard and Jon Kreft both added nine points and Gary Hamilton contributed six points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and four steals.
Osaka shot 4-for-19 from 3-point range.
Rizing 100, B-Corsairs 86
In Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Josh Peppers’ 30-point effort spearheaded high-scoring Fukuoka in a comprehensive victory over Yokohama.
Greg Logins (19 points), Cooper Land (14), Cohey Aoki and Yoshimasa Ohara (13 apiece) and Kirk Van Slyke (11) all reached double digits in scoring, while Rintaro Tokunaga dished out a season-high nine assists with no turnovers.
The Rizing (3-11) snapped their seven-game losing streak.
Warren Niles scored 38 points for Yokohama (4-10) and Dzaflo Larkai had 22. Kenji Yamada added seven points, seven assists and five steals and Masayuki Kabaya scored seven points with five assists.
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