The Shiga Lakestars, vying to return to the Final Four for the second straight season, held off the defending champion Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix on Saturday, winning 96-94 in overtime.

Julian Mavunga, a Miami (Ohio) University alum, paced Shiga with 40 points on 12-for-21 shooting. He canned six 3-pointers in the Western Conference first-round playoff series opener.

Mavunga made 10 of 16 free throws. He also grabbed 12 rebounds for the fifth-seeded Lakestars, who out-rebounded the hosts 57-40 at Hamamatsu Arena.

Shiga forward Jeff Parmer finished with 14 points and nine rebounds and Yu Okada poured in 12 points. Jamelle Horne added 10 points.

After three quarters, this is what appeared on the scoreboard: Hamamatsu 58, Shiga 56.

In the fourth quarter, the Lakestars put 30 points on the board and the hosts had 28, forcing overtime.

Phoenix forward Reggie Warren had a team-high 27 points and 12 rebounds with three assists and two steals. Kejuan Johnson added 20 points and Shingo Okada scored 12. DeAngelo Crawford finished with nine points for fourth-seeded Hamamatsu.

Hannaryz 93, Rizing 69

In Muko, Kyoto Prefecture, the top-seeded Hannaryz outplayed Fukuoka in the second half en route to a victory in their series opener.

The game was tied 35-35 at halftime.

Kyoto’s Tyren Johnson delivered a strong all-around performance in his bj-league playoff debut. He had 22 points, 10 rebounds, six steals, three assists and three blocks.

Shingo Utsumi added 15 points, going 5-for-5 from 3-point range. Teammate Kevin Kotzur added 15 points and 10 rebounds. Moses Ehambe scored 11 points.

The Hannaryz out-rebounded the No. 8 seed Rizing 46-27.

For the Rizing, Josh Peppers scored 22 points and Taishiro Shimizu had 14.

Golden Kings 96, Samuraiz 86

In Okinawa City, balanced scoring carried No. 2 Ryukyu past Kanazawa, a first-year franchise, in Game 1.

Ryuichi Kishimoto scored a team-high 22 points for the Golden Kings, and four teammates also reached double figures in points.

League legend Anthony McHenry had 20 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocks. Shuhei Kitagawa and Evan Ravenel both scored 13 points. Ravenel, an Ohio State product, also pulled down 18 rebounds. Draelon Burns chipped in with 12 points in just under 15 minutes of court time.

Ryukyu sank 19 of 20 free throws.

For the seventh-seeded Samuraiz, Andrew Fitzgerald led the way with 26 points on 12-for-19 shooting and Tsubasa Yonamine had 16 points and five assists. Masato Tsukino added 15 points, Yuji Ide had 12 and Yusuke Takamatsu scored 11. Forward Gyno Pomare contributed six points, 11 boards and six assists.

Evessa 62, Susanoo Magic 57

In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, DeAngelo Hamilton’s 18-point, 13-rebound effort and Takuya Soma’s 13 points help lead No. 6 Osaka past third-seeded Shimane in the series opener.

Olu Ashaolu scored eight points for the Evessa, while Narito Namizato, Shun Watanuki and Lawrence Blackledge all had seven apiece.

For the Susanoo Magic, Scootie Randall scored 21 points. Fellow Temple University alum Wayne Marshall added 11 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks. Edward Yamamoto finished with eight points in the loss.

Shimane was held to 36.1 percent shooting from inside the 3-point arc.

Osaka led 50-37 entering the final quarter.


Grouses 91, Wat’s 68

In Toyama, the top-seeded Grouses cruised past Aomori for their 10th straight victory.

Best Five Team selection Masashi Joho paced Toyama with a game-high 22 points and added three assists and three steals. Drew Viney scored 20 points and handed out six assists. Sam Willard supplied 16 points and 17 rebounds and Takeshi Mito had 10 points and four steals.

Coach of the Year Bob Nash’s team out-rebounded the Wat’s 55-35, including 23-11 on the offensive glass.

For No. 8 Aomori, Jesse Perry was the high scorer with 15 points and Nile Murry had 10.

The Wat’s shot 22-for-62 from the field and turned the ball over 21 times.

89ers 90, Brave Warriors 84

In Sendai, regular-season MVP Wendell White scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the No. 2 89ers prevailed over Shinshu.

White knocked down 4 of 8 shots from 3-point range. The former UNLV player also made two steals and swatted two shots.

Terrance Shannon chipped in with 18 points, 10 boards and two blocks for Sendai, which led 42-39 at halftime. Fumiya Sato finished with 13 points, Manato Kikuchi scored 11 and Takehiko Shimura had nine points and six assists.

For the seventh-seeded Brave Warriors, Xavier Gibson scored 23 points and raked in 12 rebounds. After leading the bj-league in blocked shots (2.5 per game) during the regular season, Gibson had none in the series opener.

Yosuke Saito added 19 points for Shinshu and Yasuhiko Wada had 12, while Joe Wolfinger scored nine.

Northern Happinets 87, Firebonds 79

In Akita, Richard Roby’s 31-point, 14-rebound effort ignited the third-seeded hosts in a win over Fukushima.

Akita’s offensive clicked on the afternoon, with five players dishing out two or more assists. The Happinets finished with 21 assists against 11 turnovers.

Shigehiro Taguchi had 15 points and four assists and Kenichi Takahashi scored 13 points. Scott Morrison and Yuto Otsuka both matched Taguchi’s assist total.

The sixth-seeded Firebonds led 41-35 at halftime.

Akita, the championship runner-up squad in each of the past two seasons, seized control of the game in the fourth quarter, outscoring the visitors 30-19.

Le’Bryan Nash paced Fukushima with 37 points and Atsushi Nogami had 13. Bingo Merriex and Stephan Van Treese added 10 points apiece.

The Firebonds had 16 assists and 16 turnovers.

Big Bulls 80, Albirex BB 56

In Niigata, led by Patrick Sanders’ 30-point night, Iwate, the No. 5 seed, routed the hosts.

Sanders sank 5 of 9 3-point attempts. He was 5-for-5 from inside the arc and 5-for-5 at the free-throw line.

Tatsunori Fujie contributed 18 points and eight assists for the Big Bulls, while Abdullahi Kuso had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

No. 4 Niigata shot 4-for-18 from beyond the arc. Ryan Reid led the Albirex with 17 points and Faye Pape Mour had 12 with 12 rebounds. Kimitake Sato and Wayne Arnold both scored eight points.

The Albirex trailed 46-25 at halftime.

Note: All Game 2s are scheduled for Sunday.

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