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After ushering in the B. League’s inaugural season with the opening series on Sept. 22-23 against the Alvark Tokyo at Yoyogi National Gymnasium, the Ryukyu Golden Kings were still searching for their first victory this weekend.

Mission accomplished.

Ryukyu, which captured a record four bj-league titles, including last season’s crown, edged the visiting Shiga Lakestars 59-56 on Saturday night for the team’s first B. League victory.

Shuhei Kitagawa scored a team-high 10 points for Ryukyu (1-2), including four free throws in the final 11 seconds to seal the win. Anthony McHenry and Lamont Hamilton both had nine points and Ryuichi Kishimoto and Morihisa Yamauchi followed with seven apiece.

The Golden Kings led 25-9 after one quarter, but the Lakestars stormed back, outscoring the hosts 21-6 in the second stanza to keep the contest from turning into a rout at Okinawa Gymnasium before 3,520 spectators.

One reason the score remained close was the teams’ combined struggles to make 3-point shots. Ryukyu was 4-for-22 from beyond the arc; Shiga made 4 of 24.

The Golden Kings out-rebounded the visitors 48-41. They had 12 assists, led by McHenry’s four, and held the Lakestars to five.

Hamilton, a St. John’s University product, finished with three blocks, tied with Shiga’s Julian Mavunga for the game-high total.

Yusuke Karino scored 15 points for Shiga (0-3). Mavunga added 11 points and Faye Samba and Daichi Tanaka had 10 apiece.

Hannaryz 72, Evessa 63

In Kyoto, longtime bj-league coaching rivals Honoo Hamaguchi and Dai Oketani met for the first time in the B. League on Saturday night, and Hamaguchi’s Hannaryz won the series opener over Osaka before an announced crowd of 3,031 at Hannaryz Arena.

Yusuke Okada had a team-high 16 points for Kyoto (2-1) and Kevin Kotzur notched a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds). Lawrence Hill added nine points and Takuya Sato scored seven and collected five rebounds. Marcus Dove had six points off the bench and starting guard Genki Kojima contributed six points and six assists.

Osaka’s Josh Harrellson had 17 points and Shinnosuke Negoro and Xavier Gibson scored nine apiece.

The Evessa (1-2) led 33-31 at halftime.

Kyoto converted 7 of 12 3s and limited Osaka to 8-for-23.

The Hannaryz secured the win at the charity stripe, making 17 of 20 shots.

NeoPhoenix 96, Grouses 92 (OT)

In Toyama, San-en point guard Tatsuya Suzuki dished out 12 assists in an overtime triumph over the Grouses.

The NeoPhoenix (3-0) received 25 points from Junki Kano, who buried five 3-pointers. Olu Ashaolu had 18 points and 11 boards and Robert Dozier added 14 points and 10 rebounds. Shuto Tawatari had 11 points. Suzuki, who played for the Bambitious Nara for the past three seasons, also scored six points.

For Toyama (1-2), Masashi Joho had a team-high 24 points and Sam Willard contributed 20 points and 11 rebounds. Earl Barron added 17 points, going 11-for-11 at the free-throw line, and pulled down eight rebounds. Shooting guard Naoki Uto scored nine points and Kensuke Tanaka had eight.

Willard sent the game into overtime by making the second of two free-throw attempts with 7 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. That tied it up at 81-81.

Sunrockers 76, Albirex BB 72

In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, Shibuya forward Ira Brown, a Gonzaga University alum canned 7 of 7 3-point attempts in an electrifying 29-point, 11-rebound performance in the series opener.

Frontcourt mate RT Guinn contributed 18 points and nine rebounds for the Sunrockers (3-0), while Kenta Hirose chipped in with 14 points, including 10 of 12 from the free-throw line.

Clint Chapman led Niigata (1-2) with 30 points and seven rebounds and Davante Gardner finished with 12 points. Kei Igarashi had an 11-point effort with three assists and Kimitake Sato scored eight points.

Alvark 79, Northern Happinets 64

In Akita, balanced scoring carried Tokyo past the hosts as the Alvark won for the third time in as many games this season.

Zack Baranski had a team-high 17 points, including three 3-pointers, for Tokyo (3-0) and collected seven rebounds. Troy Gillenwater added 13 points and seven boards. Shohei Kikuchi and Diante Garrett both scored 12 points. Joji Takeuchi chipped in with 11 points and nine rebounds. Daiki Tanaka finished with nine points and four assists.

The Alvark trailed 39-30 at halftime and seized momentum by outscoring the hosts 22-9 in the third quarter.

Forward Kevin Palmer led Akita (1-2) with 21 points. Scott Morrison and Shigehiro Taguchi each scored 12 points.

Brex 83, Jets 57

In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, swingman Takatoshi Fukukawa and Ryan Rossiter scored 18 points apiece and Yuta Tabuse dished out seven assists without a turnover as Tochigi whipped the hosts.

Star forward Kosuke Takeuchi added 13 points and eight rebounds and Jeff Gibbs had 10 points and 12 boards for the Brex (2-1). Rossiter hauled in 10 boards to complete the double-double.

Tochigi took a 58-44 lead into the fourth quarter.

Guard Yuki Togashi paced Chiba (1-2) with 13 points and five assists and Tyler Stone had 12 points, Michael Parker scored 11 points with five boards and a pair of blocks. Big man Hilton Armstrong chipped in with five points, 12 rebounds and two blocks.

Diamond Dolphins 87, SeaHorses 82

In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, Nagoya coach Reggie Geary’s team handed the hosts their first defeat of the season.

Shooting guard Taito Nakahigashi sparked the Diamond Dolphins (2-1) with 20 points and six assists. Ohio University alum Jerome Tillman put 18 points on the board, Justin Burrell added 15 and Takaya Sasayama had 14 points and seven assists. Tenketsu Harimoto chipped in with nine points.

Tomoya Hasegawa led Mikawa (2-1) with 14 points and Isaac Butts had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Gavin Edwards added 11 points, as did Makoto Hiejima. Kosuke Kanamaru finished with 10 points. J.R. Sakuragi had a six-point, five-rebound, five-assist outing.

The SeaHorses trailed 42-39 at halftime.

89ers 72, Levanga 67

In Sendai, newcomer Tshilidzi Nephawe had 15 points and 13 rebounds and Kaito Ishikawa poured in 14 points and handed out four assists as the 89ers held off Hokkaido.

Fumiya Sato finished with 11 points for Sendai (2-1) and Takehiko Shimura and Dion Wright each scored seven.

For Levanga (1-2), Ryota Sakurai had 14 points, Daisuke Noguchi added 13 and Takanobu Nishikawa 12.

Sakurai led Hokkaido with nine rebounds.

Brave Thunders 92, B-Corsairs 79

In Kawasaki, big man Nick Fazekas had a 31-point, nine-rebound, four-assist performance and Ryan Spangler scored 16 points as the hosts completed a two-game sweep of Yokohama.

Naoto Tsuji poured in 15 points with five assists for the Brave Thunders (1-2), while Ryusei Shinoyama finished with seven points and seven assists. Takumi Hasegawa had eight points and Mamadou Diouf seven.

For the B-Corsairs (0-4), Jason Washburn was the top scorer (17 points on 8-for-11 shooting) and Takuya Kawamura and Jeff Parmer each had 12 points. Masashi Hosoya supplied 11 points in the loss.

* * *

Here are Saturday’s second-division results: Hiroshima Dragonflies 66, Kumamoto Volters 59; Fighting Eagles Nagoya 73, Earthfriends Tokyo Z 60; Nishinomiya Storks 86, Shinshu Brave Warriors 64; Aomori Wat’s 79, Gunma Crane Thunders 78; Yamagata Wyverns 73, Fukushima Firebonds 66; Ibaraki Robots 84, Iwate Big Bulls 75; Bambitious Nara 91, Tokyo Excellence 71; Shimane Susanoo Magic 86, Ehime Orange Vikings 66; Kagoshima Rebnise 78, Kagawa Five Arrows 64.

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