Led by Morihisa Yamauchi’s five steals, the opportunistic Ryukyu Golden Kings defense caused fits for the Akita Northern Happinets in their series opener on Saturday night.
Ryukyu’s 14 steals also spelled trouble for Akita.
The Golden Kings blasted the visitors 99-63 in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, riding the momentum of a terrific second quarter — when they outscored the Northern Happinets 25-9.
Ryukyu (13-4) closed out the game with 23 fourth-quarter points, holding Akita to 11 over the final 10 minutes.
On the other end of the court, former Ohio State big man Evan Ravenel, who had 29 points on 14-for-19 shooting, and 11 rebounds provided a big spark for the Golden Kings. Teammates Draelon Burns and Shuhei Kitagawa had 17 and 16 points, respectively. Burns also chipped in with 10 rebounds and four assists.
Coming off the bench, Kings team leader Anthony McHenry had 12 rebounds, six assists and three steals along with five points.
Richard Roby and Ray Turner both scored 20 points for the Northern Happinets (11-6). Shigehiro Taguchi poured in 11 points.
Hannaryz 95, Firebonds 93 (3OT)
In Shirakawa, Fukushima Prefecture, after a combined 189 field-goal attempts and a total of 134 rebounds, Kyoto emerged as the winner in an epic triple-overtime contest in the series opener.
David Palmer paced the Hannaryz (14-3) with 30 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. Kevin Kotzur, who logged a game-high 52 minutes, 59 seconds of court time, finished with 23 points and 22 rebounds. Sunao Murakami added 20 points.
Fukushima’s Masaya Karimata had a team-high 29 points with seven assists. Karimata attempted a whopping 22 3-pointers (eight makes). Le’Bryan Nash had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Firebonds (11-6), while Joseph Taylor contributed 12 points.
Wat’s 84, Five Arrows 61
In Kanonji, Kagawa Prefecture, Yuki Kitamuki sank six 3s in a 23-point effort to help Aomori trounce the hosts.
Nile Murry contributed 16 points and six assists for the Wat’s (8-9). Jesse Perry and Daichi Shimoyama scored 11 points apiece. Perry grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
For Takamatsu (5-12), Anthony Kent scored 20 points and collected 10 boards.
B-Corsairs 97, HeatDevils 72
In Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Carl Hall and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts both supplied double-doubles as Yokohama trounced Oita Ehime.
Hall, a Wichita State alum, had 20 points, 13 boards and two blocks. Henriquez-Roberts, who played college ball at Kansas State, added 17 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks.
Cory Johnson provided 15 points off the bench for the B-Corsairs (11-8) and Masayuki Kabaya matched Johnson’s scoring total. Veteran floor leader Kenji Yamada dished out six assists.
For the HeatDevils (4-13), Tatsuhiko Toshino had 19 points and seven assists and Patrick Simon scored 17 points.
Susanoo Magic 105, Broncos 76
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, the hosts’ relentless energy on the boards paid off in a lopsided win over lowly Saitama.
Shimane (13-6) out-rebounded the Broncos 52-31.
Josh Davis finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds (nine offensive) for the Magic, with Scootie Randall pouring in 33 rebounds and collecting 11 rebounds. Tatsuhiro Yokoo canned 7 of 12 3s in a 25-point night and Edward Yamamoto had 12 points.
Mitsuhiro Kamezaki led the Broncos (1-16) with 26 points and Seth Tarver scored 21.
Albirex BB 73, Samuraiz 71
In Niigata, the Albirex took care of the ball — committing just eight turnovers — and edged Kanazawa in the series opener.
Chris Oliver was Niigata’s top scorer with 20 points and Ryan Reid finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Kimitake Sato scored 16 points for the Albirex (13-6).
Marshall Brown paced the Samuraiz (9-10) with 22 points. Gyno Pomare chipped in with 14 points, nine boards and eight assists.
Rizing 93, Grouses 85
In Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, Josh Peppers ignited Fukuoka with 28 points, including 9-for-12 shooting from inside the arc, in a victory over the hosts.
Peppers also converted all seven of his free-throw attempts.
Bingo Merriex added 16 points and seven assists for the Rizing (7-12) and Cohey Aoki scored 14 points.
Masashi Joho led Toyama (11-6) with 29 points and Drew Viney added 15.
Joho drained a game-best five 3s.
Evessa 88, Brave Warriors 56
In Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture, Takuya Soma drained six 3-pointers in an electrifying 23-point night and Lawrence Blackledge and Markhuri Sanders-Frison contributed 16 apiece as Osaka hammered the hosts.
Olu Ashaolu supplied 10 points and 15 boards. Shun Watanuki doled out eight assists for the Evessa (11-8) and Blackledge handed out seven.
Mike Bell finished with 20 points and Xavier Gibson scored 19 and collected 11 rebounds for Shinshu (6-11).
The Brave Warriors trailed 44-23 at halftime.
Crane Thunders 82, Bambitious 78
In Midori, Gunma Prefecture, Thomas Kennedy carried his club with 26 points and 12 rebounds and Kosuke Taneichi had 15 points as Crane Thunders edged Nara.
Patrick Sullivan added 14 points for Gunma (10-9).
Charles Hinkle scored 27 points for Nara (4-15) and Daiki Terashita had 12.
Lakestars 96, Cinq Reves 53
In Musashino, Shiga overwhelmed the hosts, especially in the second and third quarters, to complete a series sweep.
The Lakestars (13-5) had 45 points in the middle two quarters; the Cinq Reves had 15.
Julian Mavunga was the high scorer for Shiga, putting 31 points on the board. He shot 10 of 14 from the floor and 9-for-9 at the charity stripe.
Jeff Parmer added 18 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists for the Lakestars.
Chihiro Sawagashira had 16 points for Tokyo (1-19), which shot 19-for-62.
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