The Shiga Lakestars took a 25-point lead into the fourth quarter against the host Oita HeatDevils on Friday night.
Which was too much for the HeatDevils to overcome.
Shiga earned an 87-68 victory in the bj-league series opener, extending its winning streak to five games.
University of Georgia product Terrance Woodbury paced the Lakestars (31-16) with 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting. He grabbed nine rebounds and handed out five assists. Yu Okada added 18 points, including three 3-pointers. Jeff Parmer had 12 points and eight boards, while Ray Nixon scored 11 points and dished out five assists.
Shiga’s Masahiro Kano and Yutaka Yokoe finished with eight and six points, respectively.
The Lakestars sealed the win at the free-throw line, converting 18 of 20 shots. They out-rebounded the hosts 38-35 and committed just nine turnovers.
The HeatDevils trailed 46-35 at halftime, then were outscored 22-8 in the third stanza.
“Tonight’s game was a total team effort,” Parmer told The Japan Times. “We needed that team effort knowing that (injured center) Chris Holm wouldn’t be out there to help us on both ends of the court. Offensively and defensively, we played how we needed to play to come out with the victory for most of the game.
“The fourth quarter could have been much better but that’s something we will continue to work on starting with tomorrow’s game.”
Demetri McCamey was the top scorer for Oita (17-30) with 18 points and Kellen Thornton had 16 points and eight rebounds. Todd O’Brien added 11 points and nine boards.
Shiga sits in fourth place in the 10-team Western Conference; Oita is in seventh place.
Togashi talk: Yuki Togashi returned to Japan this week after suiting up for the NBA Development League’s Texas Legends this season.
He appeared in 25 of 50 Legends games. He averaged 8.3 minutes, 2.0 points and 1.0 assists per game. He missed the last several games due to an ankle injury sustained in a Feb. 20 game.
After landing at Narita airport on Monday, the 21-year-old former Akita Northern Happinets guard said in an interview with NBA Japan that he wants to return to the NBA Summer League this year.
Togashi’s solid showing in the 2014 NBA Summer League helped him land a spot with the Legends this season.
“I really think I was able to grow,” Togashi told Nikkan Sports about his experience this season playing for the Legends.
In a recent interview with Del Harris, a longtime NBA coach who’s now a Legends front office executive, Togashi’s development as a player was a key topic.
“Yuki has fit in well with our players,” Harris wrote in an email. “He was starting to get a little more playing time before he severely injured his ankle. … But Yuki came here with the idea that it will take a few years before he can maximize his game by playing every day with near-NBA class players. One must remember he would still be in the university had he grown up in the USA.
“We are happy to have him here and to help him with his dream to be the best he can be in basketball.”
Before the injury, Texas coach Eduardo Najera said Togashi is in the ideal place at this stage of his career.
“This is a great place for Yuki to better his game and his career,” Najera told The Japan Times. “He is learning a different style of play and raising his skills while in the D-League. Also, he has the chance to show a big audience what he is capable of on the court.
“I think Yuki will benefit from multiple seasons in the D-League — it will be great for his game and his resume.”
Catching up with … Jermaine Boyette: The former Kyoto Hannaryz player was inducted into the Weber State Athletics Hall of Fame on Feb. 27.
Boyette, who starred for the Hannaryz from 2011-13, played pro ball for 12 years, including stops in Brazil and Venezuela, Italy and France, Israel and Poland.
Since his retirement in 2014, Boyette became an assistant coach at Hammond High (Indiana) School, which he attended before college, first at Salt Lake Community College.
In an interview with The Times of Northwest Indiana, Boyette reflected on his long odyssey as a pro.
“It was a blessing,” Boyette told The Times. “When I was at Hammond High I wanted to get somewhere. I worked very hard with teammates. When the success finally started to come, I did it for my family, Hammond High, the region and all the people who were there for me.”
Boyette admitted he was shocked to be picked for the WSU Hall of Fame.
“. . .I never believed something like this could happen to me,” he told The Times. “It was beyond my wildest dreams. I am so honored.”
Boyette is WSU’s all-time leader in free throws made, and was the Big Sky Conference MVP in the 2002-03 season, putting 20.5 points per game on the board.
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