Powerful rebounding and strong 3-point shooting guided the SeaHorses Mikawa to a 104-78 home triumph over the Osaka Evessa on Thursday night.
The West Division powerhouse pulled down 53 rebounds while limiting Osaka to 33. SeaHorses center Isaac Butts, who grabbed 18 boards, and frontcourt collaborator Gavin Edwards, who hauled in 12, nearly had as many rebounds as the entire Evessa team.
Shooting guard Tomoya Hasegawa ignited the Mikawa offense, flushing 7 of 9 3-point attempts in a 25-point outburst. (He’s averaging 6.6 points per game.)
Edwards, a UConn alum, finished with 18 points, including 8-for-9 at the free-throw line, and Ryoma Hashimoto had 15 points. Swingman Kosuke Kanamaru chipped in with 14 points and Butts, an Appalachian State product, added 11 and six assists. Savvy post player J.R. Sakuragi, who turned 40 last month, contributed seven points, six rebounds and seven assists with a steal in 24 busy minutes of court time.
The SeaHorses (13-4) sank 17 of 19 foul shots in Kariya, Aichi Prefecture.
For the Evessa (8-9), Xavier Gibson had 19 points, five rebounds and three steals and Josh Harrellson scored 16 points with 11 rebounds. Hiroyuki Kinoshita and Naoaki Hashimoto added nine and seven points, respectively.
Osaka led 47-46 at halftime. But the game turned into a rout as Mikawa outscored the visitors 34-13 in the third quarter.
Notes: Thursday’s game concludes the B. League’s nine single-game matchups over a two-day period, and the normal two-game series will fill the schedule for the weekend. …
After Valparaiso University’s 92-89 championship game triumph over Brigham Young University in the Men Who Speak Up Main Event’s heavyweight bracket in Las Vegas on Wednesday, former Evessa star and current Crusaders coach Matt Lottich, had this to say, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana: “(The win) is big just because it’s an opportunity to win a championship. (We beat) Alabama and BYU, two teams that I think are (NCAA) tournament teams. We’ve talked about our end goals and that is getting to the tournament. Having the confidence to (win tonight) and to do it on short rest, it’s big.”
“I really just want to point out our senior leadership, our veteran guys,” Lottich, in his first season at the helm, told the newspaper. “We’ve got a tough group. We didn’t quit and we kept battling.”
The Crusaders improved to 6-1.