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Balanced scoring fueled the Osaka Evessa’s 81-77 win over the Ryukyu Golden Kings, a fierce rival, in Saturday’s series opener.

Led by Lawrence Blackledge’s 17 points and ex-Golden King Narito Namizato’s 16, Osaka improved to 35-16. Three teammates also reached double figures in points: Takuya Soma (15), Naoaki Hashimoto (13) and DeAngelo Hamilton (12).

Namizato dished out a team-high four assists for Osaka, which trailed 35-32 at halftime. Hamilton hauled in 14 rebounds and Blackledge added 11 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals in Okinawa City.

Both teams shot below 40 percent from 2-point range, with Osaka making 22 of 56 and Ryukyu converting 17 of 46.

The Golden Kings’ Shuhei Kitagawa canned 7 of 9 3-pointers in a 27-point performance and Evan Ravenel had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Morihisa Yamauchi added 10 points for Ryukyu (39-12). Draelon Burns was held to seven points on 2-for-11 shooting.

89ers 87, Northern Happinets 83

In Sendai, Wendell White had 32 points, 16 rebounds and four steals to spark the hosts past Akita.

White, a UNLV alum, also supplied three assists and two blocks for Sendai, which outscored the visitors 25-17 in the final quarter.

Jamal Boykin added 23 points for the 89rs (37-14), Masaharu Kataoka scored 13 points and Takehiko Shimura chipped in with 10 points, nine boards and seven assists.

Richard Roby led the Northern Happinets (34-17) with 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Ray Turner had 19 points and 19 rebounds and Scott Morrison scored 16 points. Akitomo Takeno dished out six assists.

Albirex BB 69, Big Bulls 55

In Niigata, sharpshooter Wayne Arnold sank five 3-pointers in a 26-point performance and Ryan Reid fell one assist shy of a triple-double in the hosts’ win over Iwate.

Reid finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Albirex (34-17).

Patrick Sanders paced the Big Bulls (29-22) with 13 points and Gonzaga University alum Abdullahi Kuso had 12 with 15 rebounds.

Grouses 95, Wat’s 67

In Toyama, Takeshi Mito scored 22 points on 8-for-10 shooting and Drew Viney had 19 points and 12 rebounds to help carry the Grouses past Aomori.

Swingman Daichi Tanaka chipped in with 15 points on a perfect shooting effort (6-for-6 from the field and 3-for-3 at the free-throw line). Teammate Sam Willard contributed nine points and 12 rebounds and Takanori Goya scored eight points for Toyama (38-13).

The Grouses made 23 of 26 free throws during their well-rounded performance in the regular season’s next-to-last game.

For the Wat’s (23-28), Jesse Perry scored 16 points and Yoshifumi Nakajima netted 11.

Brave Warriors 96, Broncos 85

In Nagano, Mike Bell’s 19-point night and 18 points apiece from Xavier Gibson and Yasuhiko Wada guided Shinshu past lowly Saitama.

Yosuke Saito poured in 14 points and Junki Kano had 10 for the Brave Warriors (26-25).

Bell pulled down 14 rebounds to complete the double-double and Gibson, who buried 4 of 5 3-point shots, repeated the feat with 11 boards. Saito doled out eight assists for the hosts.

Seth Tarver led the Broncos (5-46) with 23 points.

Crane Thunders 82, Firebonds 79 (OT)

In Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture, Thomas Kennedy scored a game-high 39 points as the Crane Thunders edged Fukushima in overtime.

Kennedy, a University of Detroit Mercy alum, made 14 of 28 shots from the field and 9 of 10 from the foul line.

Masashi Obuchi had 11 points and Yosuke Sugawara added 10 for Gunma (22-29). Michael St. John and Gary Hamilton both collected 10 rebounds.

For the Firebonds (29-22), Le’Bryan Nash scored 24 points and Stephan Van Treese and Shota Kanno had 12.

Cinq Reves 106, B-Corsairs 100

In Tokyo, Andre Murray had 25 points and forward Akihito Inoue scored 23 as the hosts salvaged a series split with Yokohama to close out the season.

Inoue ignited Tokyo with 10-for-13 shooting, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.

Du’Vaughn Maxwell finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and five steals for the Cinq Reves (5-47), while John Florveus poured in 20 points with 10 boards.

Carl Hall scored 26 points for the B-Corsairs (19-33) and Jordan Henriquez-Roberts had 21 with 14 boards. Kenji Yamada added 15 points and seven assists.

Lakestars 93, Five Arrows 80

In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, the hosts seized control of the game in the third quarter with a 31-point outburst in the decisive 10-minute period.

At the same time, the Lakestars (34-17) held Takamatsu to 15 points.

Yu Okada led Shiga with 23 points and Julian Mavunga had 22 with eight assists. Jeff Parmer scored 11 points and Jamelle Horne had nine.

For the Five Arrows (11-40), Jarvis Williams was the top scorer with 26 points and added a team-best six assists. Anthony Kent finished with 24 points and 14 boards.

Phoenix 85, Susanoo Magic 61

In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, defending champion Hamamatsu Higashimikawa jumped out to a 49-22 lead by halftime in a rout of the hosts.

Kejuan Johnson led the Phoenix (35-16) with 19 points and DeAngelo Kirkland had 12. Atsuya Ota and Masahiro Oguchi scored nine points apiece. Reggie Warren was the team leader in rebounds (nine).

Scootie Randall scored 25 points with 11 rebounds for Shimane (35-16) and Jun Abe had 15 points. Wayne Marshall chipped in with 11 points and two blocks.

Rizing 75, Bambitious 60

In Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Josh Peppers’ 18-point performance sparked the hosts in a rout of Nara.

Peppers’ strong all-around game included eight rebounds, five steals and four assists.

Donnavan Kirk finished with 12 points for Fukuoka (19-32) and Taishiro Shimizu had 11.

Charles Hinkle scored 23 points for the Bambitious (17-34).

Hannaryz 111, Lightning 46

In Yanai, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Kyoto pounced on the hosts in the opening quarter en route to a runaway victory.

Hiroshima (1-50) trailed 28-9 after the opening quarter and never recovered.

Entering the fourth quarter, the Hannaryz (40-11) led 77-29.

Moses Ehambe paced Kyoto with 27 points and Takuya Komoda scored 20. Four teammates also reached double figures in points.

The Hannaryz dominated inside, including a 53-38 edge in rebounds. They also shot the ball well, making 31 of 50 from inside the arc and 11 of 22 from beyond.

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