The Shinshu Brave Warriors are currently playing their best basketball of the season in an attempt to make a push for a playoff berth.
Coach Koju Munakata’s team won for the fourth time in four games on Sunday, 75-64, defeating the Yokohama B-Corsairs for the second time in as many days in Azumino, Nagano Prefecture.
Xavier Gibson and Mike Bell scored 16 points apiece for Shinshu (13-19), which sits in 10th place in the 12-team Eastern Conference.
The top eight teams in both conferences qualify for the postseason in the bj-league’s 11th and final season.
Bell, a Florida Atlantic University product, continued his inspired play of late on both ends of the court with his fifth straight double-double. The veteran forward grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked four shots while also contributing three assists. In the two-game series, Bell swatted nine shots.
Yosuke Saito had 12 points for the Brave Warriors, who finished with five double-digit scorers.
For Yokohama (16-16), Cory Johnson scored 20 points and Carl Hall had 13.
Grouses 96, 89ers 87
In Sendai, the series finale was decided at the free-throw line, and Toyama earned a bounce-back victory over the hosts.
The Grouses (21-9) converted 25 of 31 foul shots; the 89ers made 4 of 5.
Sam Willard, the league’s January MVP, paced Sendai with 25 points and 13 rebounds, Duke Crews had 24 points and eight boards and longtime star Masashi Joho chipped in with 16 points, including 10-for-11 at the line, and five assists.
Takeshi Mito poured in 10 points for the Grouses and Kensuke Tanaka dished out a season-high seven assists.
Sendai’s Wendell White scored 24 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and registered six assists. Jamal Boykin had 21 points and nine boards for the East-leading 89ers (23-9). Fumiya Sato and Takehiko Shimura scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Firebonds 81, Northern Happinets 64
In Fukushima, in their rematch following Saturday’s double-overtime clash, the Firebonds rebounded to secure a series split against East rival Akita.
Frontcourt standouts Le’Bryan Nash (19 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, three blocks) and Stephan Van Treese (19 points, 15 rebounds) played prominent roles for the victorious Firebonds (18-12).
Fukushima guard Masaya Karimata added 10 points and five assists, while Joseph Taylor hauled in 13 rebounds.
The hosts outscored the Happinets 50-32 in the second half.
Akita star Richard Roby, who scored 40 points in Saturday’s epic contest, didn’t play a day later.
Ray Turner led the Happinets (20-10) with 13 points and Daichi Taniguchi had 12. Yuto Otsuka added 11 points.
Akita sank 3 of 15 3-pointers.
Samuraiz 90, Evessa 89 (OT)
In Hakusan, Ishikawa Prefecture, balanced scoring and productive passing helped the hosts prevail in overtime.
Gyno Pomare notched a double-double for the Samuraiz (18-16), finishing with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Andrew Fitzgerald scored 18 points and Marshall Brown provided 16 points, 11 boards and four assists. Veteran floor leader Tsubasa Yonamine matched Brown’s point total and dished out seven assists, while Yuji Ide chipped in with nine points and six assists.
Osaka (21-11), which won the series opener, had six double-digit scorers: Shota Konno and Narito Namizato (17 points apiece), Lawrence Blackledge, Takuya Soma and Michael Singletary (13 apiece) and Shun Watanuki (12).
Albirex BB 78, Broncos 65
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, despite Seth Tarver’s 37-point effort, Saitama suffered its 10th consecutive defeat.
Kimitake Sato put 19 points on the board for the Albirex (20-12) and Shuhei Komatsu had 14. Faye Pape Mour also poured in 14 points along with 14 rebounds and five assists. Ryan Reid added 11 points.
Saitama (3-27) won back-to-back games on Dec. 12-13 before its current slide.
Big Bulls 82, Crane Thunders 61
In Takizawa, Iwate Prefecture, the hosts outscored Gunma 23-9 in the decisive fourth quarter to seal the win and a series sweep.
Alandise Harris led the Big Bulls (15-15) with 23 points. Patrick Sanders had a 19-point effort and Abdullahi Kuso contributed 10 points, 14 boards and four blocks, while Kaito Ishikawa also netted 10 points.
Thomas Kennedy was Gunma’s high scorer with 21 points. Yosuke Taneichi and Hirotaka Kondo added 12 points apiece for the Crane Thunders (13-19).
HeatDevils 110, Lakestars 85
In Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture, Oita Ehime capitalized on its torrid 3-point range to torch the hosts and earn a weekend split.
The HeatDevils (9-21) knocked down 15 of 28 3-point attempts.
Chehales Tapscott sparked the visitors with 33 points, 19 rebounds and five assists and Patrick Simon had 25 points and six assists. Yoshihiko Toshino added 21 points in the rout.
Wayne Arnold and Julian Mavunga scored 21 points apiece for Shiga (20-10), the latter pulling down a team-high 11 rebounds. Jeff Parmer had 16 points and Yu Okada, who was 0-for-9 on 3s, scored 11. Yutaka Yokoe added 10 points and seven assists.
Hannaryz 78, Golden Kings 71
In Kyoto, Tyren Johnson led the hosts with 23 points on 9-for-17 shooting and Kevin Kotzur had 16 points and 11 rebounds as coach Honoo Hamaguchi went 1-1 over the weekend against fellow West heavyweight Ryukyu.
Shingo Utsumi poured in 14 points for the West-leading Hannaryz (23-7).
Evan Ravenel scored 14 points for the Golden Kings (23-9) and Ryuichi Kishimoto had 13. Draelon Burns and Anthony McHenry both finished with 12 points.
Phoenix 88, Bambitious 81 (OT)
In Yamatokoriyama, Nara Prefecture, it took overtime, but the defending champions found a way to hold off the hosts for their third straight victory.
Kejuan Johnson ignited the Phoenix (22-8) with 31 points and five assists and Reggie Warren had 17 points and 15 rebounds. Atsuya Ota scored 10 points and hauled in eight boards, and Shinnosuke Oishi made an impact with nine points and seven assists for Hamamatsu Higashimikawa.
Charles Hinkle scored 18 points for Nara (11-21) and Julius Ashby had 14. Tatsuya Suzuki finished with eight points and 10 assists.
Rizing 95, Five Arrows 55
In Takamatsu, Josh Peppers flirted with a triple-double and had an excellent all-around performance and his teammates elevated their game, too, to pound the Five Arrows.
Peppers had 23 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists for the Rizing (14-18), and Taishiro Shimizu scored 20 points, including 6 of 7 on 3s, and doled out five assists. Donnavan Kirk supplied 14 points and 11 boards, Josei Maniwa had 12 points and Cohey Aoki 10 as Fukuoka completed a series sweep.
For Takamatsu (8-22), Jarvis Williams was the top scorer with 15 points, Shuichi Takada had nine points and Nino Johnson added eight points and 13 boards.
Susanoo Magic 128, Lightning 43
In Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, the hosts overwhelmed Hiroshima from start to finish.
A 40-19 Shimane lead after one quarter ballooned to 80-24 by halftime.
The Susanoo Magic (23-9) shot 41 of 50 from 2-point range against the Lightning (1-27), who fired coach Joe Navarro on Jan. 31.
Scootie Randall had 43 points on 17-for-20 shooting for Shimane, while Tatsuhiko Yokoo scored 22 and Josh Davis had 18 with 26 rebounds. Edward Yamamoto added 13 points in the rout.
Shimane out-rebounded the visitors 55-19.
Daichi Tomioka scored 17 points for Hiroshima, which dropped its 22nd straight game. The Lightning didn’t use any foreign players.
Wat’s 97, Cinq Reves 79
In Goshogawara, Aomori Prefecture, Nile Murry displayed poise at the charity stripe, burying all 10 of his attempts, and led the Wat’s with 27 points in second win in as many days against Tokyo.
Jesse Perry added 22 points and 12 rebounds for Aomori (15-17) and Yuki Kitamuki scored 15 points.
The Wat’s shot 66.7 percent from inside the arc.
Newcomer Andre Murray paced the Cinq Reves (1-29) with 33 points and John Florveus had 18 points and 16 rebounds.
Tokyo extended its losing streak to 23 games.
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