The Osaka Evessa’s defense pressured the visiting Rizing Fukuoka throughout Thursday’s series opener.

That effort and energy paid off for the hosts.

Osaka earned an 89-70 victory and forced 23 turnovers.

The Evessa (24-11) won their third straight game and picked up their seventh victory in eight games under first-year coach Dai Oketani.

Naoki Hashimoto paced Osaka with 21 points, including a team-high three 3-pointers. Evessa newcomer DeAngelo Hamilton, a Washington State alum, added 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Lawrence Blackledge finished with 14 points, five boards, five assists and three steals. Shota Konno contributed 12 points and four steals and Narito Namizato chipped in with 10 points.

Eight Evessa players had two or more assists

Fukuoka (14-21) trailed 46-25 at intermission.

Josei Maniwa led the Rizing with 20 points and Donnavan Kirk scored 18 and hauled in 12 rebounds. Cohey Aoki added nine points.

Fukuoka dropped its third consecutive game.

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