The Kanazawa Samuraiz fell short of victory in their regular-season debut in the bj-league, falling 68-64 to the visiting Kyoto Hannaryz on Saturday night.
Kyoto, which set a league record for wins (44) last season, built a 38-22 halftime advantage, and the Samuraiz chipped away at the deficit over the final 20 minutes.
Kanazawa post player Andrew Fitzgerald, a University of Oklahoma product, led the expansion squad with 21 points on 9-for-17 shooting, with eight rebounds in 24-plus productive minutes.
Floor leader Tsubasa Yonamine chipped in with 10 points and eight assists and three steals for the Samuraiz, who are guided by former Oita HeatDevils bench boss Yukinori Suzuki. Gyno Pomare matched Yonamine’s scoring total, raked in nine rebounds and made five steals.
Larry Owens led the Hannaryz with 16 points, David Palmer scored 12 and Kevin Kotzur and Koki Yabuuchi both had 10. Kotzur was Kyoto’s leading rebounder (15, including five offensive boards).
Golden Kings 104, Lightning 74
In Hiroshima, former Ohio State Buckeye Evan Ravenel paced perennial title-chasing Ryukyu with 24 points on 11-for-15 shooting with 11 rebounds and six assists in its second victory in as many days over the expansion Lightning.
Eight Golden Kings players scored eight or more points in the rout, including Anthony McHenry with 14 and Draelon Burns and Hiromasa Omiya with 13 apiece.
Andre Murray led Hiroshima with 23 points and Adam Herman had 19.
Five Arrows 74, Phoenix 67
In Hamamatsu, Masaaki Suzuki’s 18-point effort and newcomer Nino Johnson’s 17-point, 16-rebound night played a vital part in Takamatsu’s triumph over the defending champions.
Anthony Kent finished with 16 points and 10 boards for the Five Arrows.
Addison Spruill paced Hamamatsu with 24 points and Shinnosuke Oishi added 15 points, while Terrance Woodbury scored 10 and Reggie Warren had eight with 17 rebounds.
Lakestars 84, Evessa 71
In Osaka, Shiga power forward Julian Mavunga had the hot hand on offense, draining 6 of 10 shots from beyond the arc and scoring 38 points in total, as the Lakestars outplayed the Evessa in the Kansai rivals’ opener, spoiling head coach Dai Oketani’s first regular-season game on the Osaka sideline.
Kejuan Johnson, the 2014-15 regular-season MVP while playing for the Sendai 89ers, had 13 points and Yu Okada poured in 12 for Shiga.
Evessa big man Lawrence “Trend” Blackledge had 21 points, 12 rebounds and a pair of blocks. Shota Konno and Olu Ashaolu added 13 and 12 points, respectively. Markhuri Sanders-Frison, a former University of California Golden Bear, was a forceful presence in the low post, grabbing 18 rebounds, including 12 off the offensive glass.
89ers 103, Wat’s 85
In Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, Sendai star Wendell White’s 38-point, 12-rebound performance and Jamal Boykin’s 27 points, 11 boards and seven assists sparked the 89ers against the hosts.
Aomori’s Nile Murry had a team-high 22 points and backcourt mate Daichi Shimoyama put 17 points on the board.
Northern Happinets 77, Broncos 56
In Akita, sharpshooter Shigehiro Taguchi canned four 3s en route to a game-high 20 points and the hosts hammered Saitama.
Scott Morrison and Richard Roby each scored nine points for the Northern Happinets, who led 64-41 entering the fourth quarter. Akita’s Ray Turner grabbed 11 rebounds and Morrison pulled down 10 boards.
For the Broncos, Mitsuhiro Kamezaki had 15 points and Paul Butorac supplied 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Grouses 66, Big Bulls 63
In Toyama, big man Sam Willard’s double-double (20 points, 14 rebounds) and Masashi Joho’s 14-points guided the hosts past Iwate.
Hayato Kantake scored 15 points for the Big Bulls, who led 33-32 at halftime. Abdullahi Kuso added 14 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks, while newcomer Alandise Harris provided 13 points.
Crane Thunders 88, Brave Warriors 61
In Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, Thomas Kennedy sparked the hosts with a 22-point effort in their season-opening rout of Shinshu.
The University of Detroit Mercy alum converted 7 of 12 shots from the field and knocked down 6 of 7 from the free-throw line in an efficient, hard-nosed effort.
Patrick Sullivan, who played alongside Kennedy on the Niigata Albirex BB last season, had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and five Gunma players finished with double digits in scoring.
Ex-NBA center Marcus Cousin paced the Brave Warriors with 14 points and hauled in 10 rebounds. Teammate Mike Bell grabbed 10 boards in the loss.
Albirex BB 95, Cinq Reves 62
In Hachioji, Tokyo fell to 0-2 under new coach Hirosumi Tomatsu, suffering their second straight blowout loss.
Niigata’s Shuhei Komatsu buried 7 of 11 3s and scored a game-high 27 points, making a winner of 74-year-old Albirex head coach Kazuo Nakamura in his regular-season debut with the club. Ryan Reid, a former Florida State Seminole, delivered an 18-point, 18-rebound effort and Charles Hinkle scored 16 points in the rout.
The Cinq Reves, who were 5-47 last season, yielded 50 second-half points.
Tokyo’s Ryan Sypkens had 19 points and seven assists.
Rizing 106, HeatDevils 84
In Oita, Fukuoka’s Bingo Merriex had 18 points and 15 rebounds in a lopsided victory over the HeatDevils.
Fukuoka’s Keisuke Takabatake and Josei Maniwa each had 15 points in the rout.
Chehales Tapscott led Oita Ehime with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Patrick Simon provided 22 points for the hosts, who are splitting their home base between Oita and Ehime prefectures for the bj-league’s final season.
B-Corsairs 96, Firebonds 88 (OT)
In Yokohama, newcomer Cory Johnson’s all-around productive play (27 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists) and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts’ 18-point, 12-board night helped guide the hosts to an overtime triumph over Fukushima.
Yokohama playmaker Kenji Yamada added 11 points and five assists.
Rookie Le’Bryan Nash, who last played for Oklahoma State, scored 31 points in his pro debut for the Firebonds, a second-year club. Teammate Masaya Karimata added 31 points and sank six 3s.
Susanoo Magic 70, Bambitious 64
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, Scootie Randall, one of the league’s elite stars, had 39 points and 16 rebounds to ignite the hosts in a victory over Nara.
Randall drained six 3-pointers, while Jun Abe chipped in with 10 points.
For the Bambitious, Julius Ashby provided 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Wesley Witherspoon added 16 points.
Nara shot 0-for-14 from beyond the arc.