Basketball / B. League

Brave Thunders roll past Alvark for 15th straight victory

Kawasaki star Fazekas delivers 39-point performance

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

A sensational start fueled the Kawasaki Brave Thunders’ latest victory.

Coach Takuya Kita’s club opened Friday’s game against the Alvark Tokyo, another powerhouse team, with a 16-0 run.

Tokyo rebounded with a strong second quarter, but lost 93-81 as the Brave Thunders extended their winning streak to 15 games.

Scoring maestro Nick Fazekas lit up the scoreboard with 39 points on 15-for-24 shooting. He corralled 12 rebounds and handed out three assists. He leads the B. League first division in scoring (28.5 points per game).

Ryan Spangler, who was 8-for-9 from the field, chipped in with 17 points for Kawasaki (23-3), which led 29-14 after the opening quarter and 45-44 at the break.

Shooting guard Naoto Tsuji sparked the hosts with 15 points and seven assists at Todoroki Arena before 4,789 spectators.

The Brave Thunders shot 55.7 percent from the floor and limited the Alvark (19-5) to 41.6.

Daiki Tanaka was Tokyo’s high scorer with 17 points and had four steals. Keijuro Matsui sank four 3s in a 14-point effort, Diante Garrett scored 12 points and dished out five assists and Joji Takeuchi supplied 10 points and nine boards.

The Alvark’s second-quarter comeback was sparked by a 14-0 run that closed the gap to 29-25.

Albirex BB 91, Jets 90

In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, the Albirex halted Chiba’s 13-game winning streak in dramatic fashion as Davante Gardner nailed an in-the-paint shot with 17 seconds remaining.

The Jets had pulled ahead 90-89 on a Yuki Togashi inside shot with 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Before that, Gardner gave the hosts a short-lived 89-88 lead, knocking down a pair of free throws with 49 seconds left.

It was a tight game from start to finish, with neither team grabbing a double-digit lead. Niigata’s biggest lead was nine points; Chiba’s was eight.

Gardner paced the Albirex with 25 points and 13 rebounds in the series opener before an announced crowd of 4,086. Clint Chapman added 23 points and seven boards for Niigata (15-11).

Kimitake Sato scored 15 points, knocking down three 3-pointers for the Albirex. Longtime teammate Yuichi Ikeda sank 4 of 5 3s in his 12-point outing and Shunki Hatakeyama chipped in with 10 points and a team-best six assists.

The Jets (18-8) trailed 41-40 at halftime.

Togashi, a Niigata Prefecture native, finished with 34 points, including 11-for-14 on 2-point attempts with nine assists and two steals. He drained 3 of 7 3s.

Chiba’s Michael Parker had 14 points, 10 boards and four blocks. Kosuke Ishii added 13 points, Tyler Stone scored 12 and Hilton Armstrong had 10.

Diamond Dolphins 101, 89ers 68

In Sendai, Nagoya controlled the paint and whipped the 89ers in the series opener.

The Diamond Dolphins (16-10) outscored the hosts 50-14 in the paint. Six Nagoya players scored in double figures: Takaya Sasayama (17 points), Taito Nakahigashi (16), Jordan Bachynski and Jerome Tillman (13 apiece), Justin Burrell (12) and Jun Uzawa (11).

The visitors canned 13 of 29 3s. They finished with 19 assists and seven turnovers.

Nagoya outrebounded Sendai (7-19) by a 51-37 margin. Bachynski, an Arizona State alum, had a team-high 10 rebounds.

The 89ers trailed 73-48 entering the final stanza.

Masaharu Kataoka and Wendell White each scored 14 points for Sendai. Kaito Ishikawa had 11 points and five assists.

Sunrockers 73, Lakestars 54

In Tokyo, Yuki Mitsuhara capitalized on scoring opportunities from beyond the arc and Shibuya held Shiga to 34.3 percent shooting en route to victory.

Mitsuhara, who scored a team-high 18 points, was 5-for-7 from 3-point range. Aki Chambers and R.T. Guinn each had 12 points and Ira Brown added 10 for the Sunrockers (13-13).

Julian Mavunga had 16 points for the Lakestars (6-20). Yusuke Karino put nine points on the board.

Shiga turned the ball over 20 times.

A 17-0 scoring run put Shibuya in firm control — a 26-13 lead late in the opening quarter.

Second-division update: On Friday, the Shimane Susanoo Magic beat the Ibaraki Robots 79-65.