Rookie forward Le’Bryan Nash scored a game-high 42 points and the Fukushima Firebonds snapped a four-game losing streak on Saturday, beating the visiting Sendai 89ers 94-93.
As a result, Fukushima also halted Sendai’s 10-game winning streak.
Nash, an Oklahoma State product, made 17 of 28 shots from the field, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc, in the series opener in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. He leads the bj-league in scoring (26.9 points per game).
Bingo Merriex and Shota Kanno had 12 points apiece for the Firebonds (29-20). Kanno knocked down four 3-pointers to account for all of his scoring.
Masaya Karimata added eight points and eight assists for Fukushima, which led 46-37 at halftime, and Stephan Van Treese contributed nine points, while Atsushi Nogami had eight points.
Wendell White paced the 89ers (35-14) with 32 points and eight assists. Terrance Shannon had 14 points and 17 rebounds. Fumiya Sato and Jamal Boykin each added 11 points and Takehiko Shimura scored 10.
Sendai was held to 5-for-17 shooting from beyond the arc.
Golden Kings 74, Phoenix 56
In Hamamatsu, Ryukyu extended its winning streak to a team-record 16 games and trounced the defending champions.
Shuhei Kitagawa had a team-high 16 points for the Golden Kings (39-10) and Ryuichi Kishimoto poured in 14. Big man Evan Ravenel added 13 points and Draelon Burns had eight points and 12 rebounds.
Shingo Okada led Hamamatsu Higashimikawa (33-16) with 12 points and DeAngelo Kirkland scored 10 points. Forward Reggie Warren was held to 3-for-13 shooting and seven points. Warren grabbed 16 rebounds.
Lakestars 78, Susanoo Magic 76
In Hamada, Shimane Prefecture, Shiga outscored the hosts 23-6 in the second quarter and held off the Susanoo Magic’s spirited fourth-quarter comeback.
Shimane (36-13) put 31 points on the board in the final stanza and fell short of victory.
Yu Okada led the Lakestars with 21 points. He buried 5 of 8 3s. Julian Mavunga had 18 points and 10 boards for Shiga (33-16) and Jeff Parmer added 13 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Jamelle Horne scored 12 points.
Scootie Randall finished with 19 points for Shimane and Jun Abe had 12. Josh Davis matched Abe’s scoring output and chipped in with 17 rebounds, six steals and two blocks.
The Magic made 6 of 28 3s. They were 12-for-18 at the free-throw line.
Brave Warriors 79, Big Bulls 78
In Kitakami, Iwate Prefecture, Mike Bell’s 23-point, eight-rebound effort and frontcout mate Xavier Gibson’s double-double sparked Shinshu in a win over its Eastern Conference rival.
Gibson finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for the Brave Warriors (25-24), who shot 59 percent (23-for-39) from inside the arc. Junki Kano poured in 13 points.
Patrick Sanders led Iwate (28-21) with 23 points. Tatsunori Fujie and Abdullahi Kuso added 17 and 13 points, respectively. Kuso hauled in 11 rebounds.
Northern Happinets 96, Wat’s 77
In Akita, Richard Roby ignited the hosts with 29 points and 13 rebounds in a comprehensive triumph over Aomori.
Scott Morrison supplied 17 points and 13 rebounds and Ray Turner had 16 points and 12 boards for Akita (34-15). Shigehiro Taguchi added 11 points and Akitomo Takeno scored nine.
The Northern Happinets out-rebounded the Wat’s 55-35.
Nile Murry paced Aomori (22-27) with 27 points. He hit six 3-pointers and dished out six assists. Teammate Jesse Perry scored 13 points.
Albirex BB 92, Crane Thunders 70
In Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, Wayne Arnold and Ryan Reid combined for 41 points as Niigata routed the hosts.
Arnold finished with 21 points, including a 10-for-12 effort at the charity stripe.
In addition to his 20 points, Reid pulled down 13 rebounds.
Faye Pape Mour added 15 points, 12 boards and three steals for the Albirex (32-17) and Kimitake Sato scored 12 points.
Thomas Kennedy had 38 points for the Crane Thunders (21-28) and Gary Hamilton scored 13 points and grabbed 10 boards.
Cinq Reves 92, Broncos 79
In Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, Tokyo recorded its first victory in a contested game since Oct. 24, 2015, when it defeated the Broncos 76-70.
On Friday, the bj-league office announced that the Cinq Reves’ Dec. 27-28 canceled games against the host Hiroshima Lightning would be retroactively awarded as 20-0 forfeit victories for Tokyo. (That tripled Tokyo’s win total entering Saturday’s series opener.)
Du’Vaughn Maxwell had 28 points and 15 rebounds for the Cinq Reves (4-45) and Andre Murray scored 16 points.
For Saitama (4-45), Edward Morris had a team-high 21 points and Seth Tarver scored 13.
Grouses 99, B-Corsairs 69
In Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, balanced scoring, excellent rebounding and stellar passing guided Toyama past Yokohama.
The Grouses (36-13) had five double-digit scorers, including Sam Willard (21 points, 15 rebounds), Duke Crews (17 points) and Takeshi Mito (15).
Toyama recorded a 58-33 rebounding margin.
Seven Grouses players dished out two or more assists, including Kensuke Tanaka, who led the squad with five.
Cory Johnson and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts led the B-Corsairs (18-31) with 14 points apiece.
Samuraiz 95, Rizing 77
In Kanazawa, Marshall Brown’s 22-point performance and Andrew Fitzgerald’s 21 points helped the Samuraiz cruise past Fukuoka.
Gymo Pomare and Tsubasa Yonamine each scored 13 points for Kanazawa (27-22) and Yuji Ide had 10 points and doled out seven assists.
For the Rizing (17-32), Donnavan Kirk led the way with 20 points and eight rebounds. Josh Peppers had 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Cohey Aoki added 12 points.
Hannaryz 91, Five Arrows 63
In Kyoto, the Hannaryz jumped out to a 33-13 lead by the end of the first quarter en route to a runaway victory over Takamatsu.
Tyren Johnson finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and five assists to energize Kyoto (38-11). Moses Ehambe added 13 points, Kevin Kotzur had 12 and Koki Yabuuchi 10.
Anthony Kent and Jarvis Williams both scored 21 points for the Five Arrows (11-38).
Evessa 121, HeatDevils 71
In Osaka, Olu Ashaolu scored 26 points and DeAngelo Hamilton had 25 as the Evessa blasted Oita Ehime.
Six players reached double figures in points for Osaka (33-16).
Patrick Simon led the HeatDevils (11-38) with 26 points.
Bambitious 118, Lightning 58
In Nara, Hiroshima trailed by 24 points after one quarter and never recovered against the hosts.
Josh Ritchart paced the Bambitious (16-33) with 31 points and Jumpei Honda had 26 with eight steals and six assists.
The Lightning fell to 1-48, including the aforementioned two forfeits.