There’s no secret about the Kawasaki Brave Thunders’ recipe for success.
It all starts with Nick Fazekas.
The ex-NBA big man delivered a splendid 36-point, 11-rebound performance to guide Kawasaki past the Niigata Albirex BB on Saturday. Fazekas made 13 of 18 shots from the field, and he went 8-for-8 at the free-throw line in the Brave Thunders’ 95-79 triumph over Niigata.
Fazekas leads the 18-team first division in scoring at 29.3 points per game.
Ryan Spangler added 17 points and Yuya Nagayoshi had 13 for the Brave Thunders (12-3). Naoto Tsuji contributed eight points and seven assists as the Kawasaki offense clicked. The visitors had 26 assists on 32 baskets.
With the ball moving freely and effectively for the Brave Thunders, they flourished on the perimeter, making 10 of 19 3-pointers.
Kawasaki won the battle on the boards (39-29 rebounding margin), and made 21 of 24 free throws in a well-rounded effort.
For Niigata (8-7), Kei Igarashi scored 24 points in a unique way — all on 3-pointers. He made 8 of 10 in the contest. Albirex center Davante Gardner also scored 24 points and hauled in nine rebounds. Stephan Van Treese and Clint Chapman added eight points apiece.
Jets 82, Northern Happinets 71
In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, balanced scoring guided the hosts to a high-scoring triumph over Akita.
Led by Ryumo Ono’s 18-point performance, seven Jets players scored seven or more points.
Tyler Stone had 17, Kosuke Ishii scored 13 and Hilton Armstrong and Yuki Togashi both poured in eight for Chiba (8-7). Michael Parker and Yuki Ueta finished with seven points apiece.
Armstrong and Parker were Chiba’s rebounding leaders (seven apiece). Parker had four steals and two blocks. Armstrong also swatted a pair of Akita shots.
Ryosuke Shirahama paced the Northern Happinets (3-12) with 18 points and Seiya Ando had 16, while Daichi Taniguchi finished with 13 points and Kevin Palmer 11.
Golden Kings 74, Diamond Dolphins 66
In Nagoya, Lamont Hamilton scored 13 points and Reyshawn Terry had 12 in his B. League debut as Ryukyu defeated the hosts.
The Golden Kings (8-7) outscored Nagoya 29-14 in the second quarter to take a commanding 43-25 lead into the intermission.
Ryukyu held the hosts to 3-for-18 shooting from 3-point range and 34 percent (18 of 53) from inside the arc.
Shuhei Kitagawa added 11 points for the Golden Kings, Anthony McHenry poured in 10 and Hiromasa Omiya and Anthony McHenry both had eight. McHenry and Terry, a former University of North Carolina player, led Ryukyu with eight rebounds apiece.
For the Diamond Dolphins (9-6), Justin Burrell had a team-high 25 points and 13 rebounds. He was 9-for-11 at the foul line. Jerome Tillman scored 10 points and Takumi Ishizaki and Taito Nakahigashi each had seven.
Alvark 89, Levanga 68
In Obihiro, Hokkaido Prefecture, shooting guard Diante Garrett dropped 26 points on the hosts and Daiki Tanaka had a 21-point effort as Tokyo cruised to a win in the series opener.
Garrett, Tanaka and Keijuro Matsui, who had 17 points, all canned three 3-pointers. Joji Takeuchi corralled a team-best nine rebounds for the Alvark (12-3). Big man Andrew Naymick chipped in with three blocked shots.
Garrett added four assists and three steals in a stellar all-around game.
Tokyo led 26-9 entering the second quarter.
Hokkaido (4-11) had 18 turnovers.
Daniel Miller paced the hosts with 17 points with eight boards and four blocks. Asahi Tajima and newcomer Jahmar Thorpe, a University of Houston alum, supplied 14 points apiece. Thorpe, a 32-year-old forward, grabbed 11 rebounds. Tajima dished out a team-high six assists.
SeaHorses 78, Hannaryz 69
In Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, Kosuke Kanamaru put 26 points on the board and Makoto Hiejima added 22 with five assists as Mikawa prevailed in the series opener.
Hiejima knocked down 5 of 6 3-point attempts. Kanamaru sank the team’s other two 3s.
Gavin Edwards finished with 11 points and Isaac Butts had nine points and 13 boards for the SeaHorses (11-4).
Mikawa converted 61.9 percent of its shots (26 of 42) from 2-point range, including Kanamaru’s 10-for-18 effort.
Kyoto’s Yusuke Okada had a team-best 16 points, getting 12 from beyond the arc.
Genki Kojima and Kevin Kotzur scored 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Hannaryz (6-9). Marcus Dove added nine points and nine boards, while Shingo Utsumi scored eight points. Kotzur matched Dove’s rebounding total.
Brex 89, 89ers 63
In Sendai, Tochigi’s defense caused fits for the hosts’ offense and the Brex put points on the board in a hurry en route to a lopsided win.
Tochigi held Sendai to 21-for-67 shooting in the series opener.
On the other end of the floor, the Brex were 29 of 50 from inside the arc in a polished performance. They didn’t need a lot of 3s on the night — and they didn’t make a lot, either (4 of 18).
Ryan Rossiter led Tochigi (13-2) with 28 points and 11 rebounds and Hironori Watanabe added 13 points and five assists. Jeff Gibbs and Tommy Brenton both finished with nine points.
Brenton’s strong outing also included 13 boards and five assists.
Tochigi rejected six shots, including two apiece by Gibbs and Kosuke Takeuchi.
Kaito Ishikawa was the high scorer for the 89ers with 16 points. Masaharu Kataoka added 12 and Takayuki Kumagai scored 10 for Sendai (6-9).
The Brex grabbed 59 rebounds and held the hosts to 28.
Sunrockers 80, NeoPhoenix 62
In Tokyo, 211-cm center Chad Posthumus made a big impact in his first game for Shibuya, scoring 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting and pulling down nine rebounds as the hosts hammered short-handed San-en.
Posthumus began the season with the second-division Kagoshima Rebnise.
Takashi Ito poured in 14 points, including a pair of 3s and Kenta Hirose and R.T. Guinn each had 13 points for the Sunrockers (9-6). Versatile forward Ira Brown finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks and Yuki Mitsuhara had nine points.
Robert Dozier paced the NeoPhoenix (9-6) with 18 points on 9-for-10 shooting. He had three dunks on the night. He also grabbed seven rebounds.
San-en’s Shuto Tawatari scored 11 points and Tatsuya Suzuki had eight points and seven assists, and Olu Ashaolu and Atsuya Ota scored seven points apiece.
For the NeoPhoenix, former NBA swingman Josh Childress, a new acquisition, is expected to make his season debut next Wednesday against the visiting Toyama Grouses.
B-Corsairs 85, Grouses 66
In Yokohama, Jeff Parmer notched a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) and guards Masashi Hosoya and Takuya Kawamura each scored 16 points in a rout of Toyama.
Jason Washburn poured in 17 points and collected eight boards for the B-Corsairs (6-9). Kawamura added eight rebounds and four assists. Big man Faye Pape Mour, who had five points and eight rebounds, went 1-for-11 at the foul line. He’s shooting 19.2 percent from the charity stripe this season (10-for-52).
For the Grouses (1-14), Sam Willard had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Takeshi Mito scored 11 points, Ryo Yamazaki had nine and Earl Barron and Angel Garcia both added eight.
Lakestars 79, Evessa 68
In Osaka, Shiga bounced back from Friday’s setback and salvaged a series split by ending a three-game losing streak.
Julian Mavunga led the Lakestars with 31 points on 12-for-18 shooting, including four 3-pointers. Tomonobu Hasegawa had 10 points and Narito Namizato and Yusuke Karino both scored nine for Shiga (3-13). Newcomer Namizato doled out six assists in his second game with the Lakestars. Center Faye Samba contributed six points and 10 boards.
Shiga helped its cause at the foul line, draining 11 of 12 shots.
The Lakestars out-rebounded Osaka 44-36.
Josh Harrellson had 17 points and eight boards for the Evessa (8-8), who made 6 of 27 3s. Frontcourt mate Xavier Gibson added 13 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Takuya Hashimoto also scored 13 points and Shota Konno had 10.
Second-division update: Here are the results of Saturday’s games: Aomori Wat’s 93, Ibaraki Robots 63; Shinshu Brave Warriors 75, Tokyo Excellence 68; Earthfriends Tokyo Z 76, Bambitious Nara 74; Fighting Eagles Nagoya 80, Nishinomiya Storks 78; Fukushima Firebonds 86, Iwate Big Bulls 63; Gunma Crane Thunders 73, Yamagata Wyverns 65; Kumamoto Volters 79, Kagawa Five Arrows 64; Ehime Orange Vikings 67 Kagoshima Rebnise 65; and Shimane Susanoo Magic 74, Hiroshima Dragonflies 51.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5