Shinshu Brave Warriors forward Patrick Sanders was an offensive force in Sunday’s series finale against the Toyama Grouses.
Sanders scored a game-high 32 points and capitalized on his opportunities at the foul line, too. An 84.8 percent free-throw shooter, he made all nine of his attempts, and was 10-for-19 from the floor.
It all added up to a big boost for Shinshu in a 99-90 win over Toyama in Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture.
Sanders, a University of California-Irvine alum, is in his second season with the Brave Warriors. He is the team’s leading scorer (19.8 points per game, the fourth-highest average in the bj-league).
DeVaughn Washington added 29 points and 10 rebounds for the Brave Warriors (7-9), who earned a series sweep. Carl Hall and Shoji Nakanishi had 12 points apiece, while Takato Saito dished out six assists.
Joe Werner scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Grouses (14-6) and Takeshi Mito added 26 points and eight assists. Keyon Carter and Jamelle Horne supplied 11 and 10 points, respectively, and Tatsunori Fujie contributed six points and eight assists.
Big Bulls 85, Broncos 71
In Saitama, Iwate’s 30 fourth-quarter points secured a victory over the Broncos and coach Dai Oketani’s Big Bulls extended their league-record winning streak to 18 games.
Scootie Randall, who leads the league with 23.6 ppg, had 24 points and Wayne Arnold chipped in with 20 for the Big Bulls (19-1). Lawrence Blackledge added 16 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Abdullahi Kuso provided eight points and nine rebounds and Jun Nakanishi finished with five points, seven assists and two steals, while Tsubasa Yonamine handed out four assists.
Nakanishi’s tenacious defense did not go unnoticed to his teammates, according to Blackledge.
“Jun’s activity on defense doesn’t show on the stat sheet, but he always plays a huge role on defense for us with steals,deflections, and hustling,” Blackledge told The Japan Times.
For Saitama (0-16), Gary Johnson led the way with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Yuki Sasaki scored 17 points and Koji Nagata had 15 points and six assists.
“Playing harder than the opponent was the No. 1 key,” Blackledge said, reflecting on the game. “Saitama players played extremely hard and continued to hustle throughout the entire game. So we knew we would have to match their intensity in order to get the win today.
“The game was closer than the score displayed at the end of the game.”
Iwate out-rebounded the hosts 51-34.
Golden Kings 86, Firebonds 73
In Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, Anthony McHenry’s game-high 25 points and 12 rebounds energized the hosts to their second victory in as many days over Fukushima.
Draelon Burns scored 19 points for Ryukyu (16-2), which has won 10 straight games. Ryuichi Kishimoto had 14 points and Naoto Kosuge added 10. Kibwe Trim hauled in 11 rebounds, including six offensive boards.
The Golden Kings outscored the visitors 46-29 over the middle two quarters.
Masaya Karimata had four 3s and a team-best 18 points for the expansion Firebonds (3-17). Verdell Jones III scored 14 points, Edward Morris poured in 13 and Terrance Shannon produced a double-double (11 points, 15 boards).
Wat’s 82, Susanoo Magic 65
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, Damian Saunders sank five 3s in a 24-point performance and Gyno Pomare put 16 points on the board as Aomori completed a series sweep over the Susanoo Magic.
Yuki Kitamuki and Paul Williams both scored nine points for the Wat’s (11-9), while Kenichi Takahashi and Kyle Richardson had matching seven-point games.
Joe Chapman paced Shimane (3-17) with 18 points and Tatsuhiro Yokoo scored 13. Bingo Morriex (12 points, 11 boards) and Isiah Brown (12 points, three blocks) also had solid games.
Northern Happinets 80, Lakestars 64
In Yokote, Akita Prefecture, Richard Roby’s 20-point, nine-rebound, five-assist effort sparked the hosts in a convincing win over Shiga.
Shigehiro Taguchi rang up 15 points on the Lakestars (11-5), who dropped both weekend games. Ruben Boykin added 11 points off the bench and Akitomo Takeno had 10 points. Deshawn Stephens and Tyran Walker scored eight points apiece for the Northern Happinets (16-4).
Akita went 17-for-28 at the line; Shiga was 6-for-9.
Ray Nixon was the top scorer for the Lakestars with 17 points. Terrance Woodbury had 13 points and Chris Holm, who grabbed 19 rebounds, added 11. Shooting guard Yu Okada struggled with his shot, finishing 1-for-10 with two points.
89ers 76, Bambitious 75
In Sendai, the 89ers beat Nara by the slimmest of margins, improving to 9-3 at home this season.
Sendai (14-6), which sits in third place in the 12-team Eastern Conference, has won four straight games and seven of its last eight.
Kejuan Johnson paced the 89ers with 19 points and dished out five assists and newcomer Jeral Davis had 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Fumiya Sato scored 13 points and Wendell White added 10, while Takehiko Shimura contributed eight points and five assists.
Chehales Tapscott led the Bambitious (5-11) with 25 points and 17 rebounds and Andre Murray scored 18 points. Ryo Yamazaki had a nine-point afternoon.
Albirex BB 74, Five Arrows 64
In Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture, the Albirex held Takamatsu to 27 second-half points and completed a series sweep.
Patrick Sullivan was the high scorer for Niigata with 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting. Kimitake Sato and Takamichi Fujiwara had 10 points apiece for the Albirex (11-9), with Thomas Kennedy finishing with 10 points and four steals.
Justin Watts paced the Five Arrows (7-13) with 16 points, Hiroyuki Kikuchi scored 14 and Dexter Lyons 12. Koki Yabuuchi chipped in with nine points and eight assists. Tsubasa Yonezawa matched Yabuuchi’s scoring output.
Takamatsu has lost six straight games.
Crane Thunders 93, B-Corsairs 76
In Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, hot-shooting Gunma torched Yokohama’s defense and picked up consecutive victories for the first time this season under first-year bench boss Charlie Parker, a longtime NBA assistant coach.
The Crane Thunders (4-14) doled out 34 assists, including Yosuke Sugawara’s eight, Carlos Dixon’s seven and Kenya Tomori’s six.
Forward Masanobu Ito and Daniel Northern Jr. had 17 points apiece for Gunma. Ito drained 5 of 6 3-point attempts. Samuel Sawaji had 12 points, while Sugawara and ex-NBA big man Melvin Ely scored 10 points apiece.
Khyle Marshall, in his second game in a B-Corsairs uniform, had 16 points and seven rebounds. Warren Niles scored 14 points and Kenji Yamada added 12 for Yokohama (4-16). Masayuki Kabaya had 10 points and Seiji Kono finished with eight points and five assists.
Gunma dominated in the rebounding department (51-22), including a 37-14 edge in defensive boards.
“We understand that Yokohama was missing key pieces to their team, but at the end of the day, we needed these two wins to keep our playoff hopes alive,” Northern, a Tennessee Tech alum, told this newspaper. “This is the first time we won a complete weekend, but I think there are more to come. This weekend definitely gave us the positivity and belief we needed for next weekend. Now we are hoping for the same results next week.”
Phoenix 76, Rizing 74
In Iizuka, Fukuoka Prefecture, Mo Charlo scored 25 points and Olu Ashaolu had 15 as Hamamatsu Higashimikawa eked out a win over the Rizing.
Masahiro Oguchi, Jermaine Green and Shingo Okada all scored eight points for the Phoenix (15-3). Shinnosuke Oishi made an impact with seven points, five assists and four steals.
Josh Peppers led Fukuoka (4-16) with 25 points. Greg Logins scored 16 points and Kirk Van Slyke had 11 for the Rizing, who have dropped four straight games.
Hannaryz 78, HeatDevils 44
In Usa, Oita Prefecture, Kevin Kotzur’s 19-point, 13-rebound effort and David Palmer’s 16 points carried Kyoto past the HeatDevils.
Reggie Warren poured in 10 points for the Western Conference-leading Hannaryz (18-2) and Ryan Forehan-Kelly and swingman Shingo Utsumi both scored seven points before an announced crowd of 454.
Kellen Thornton was Oita’s lone double-digit scorer with 11 points.
The HeatDevils (6-12) were 1-for-16 from beyond the arc.