Without injured All-Star forward Justin Burrell’s commanding presence on the court, the determined Nagoya Diamond Dolphins stayed aggressive and relied on all-around hustle over the weekend against the Alvark Tokyo.
Nagoya rebounded from a four-point Saturday loss by outlasting the hosts in overtime on Sunday, winning 81-77 at Yoyogi National Gymnasium No. 2.
Burrell, a former St. John’s University player who was the 2011-12 bj-league regular-season MVP while suiting up for the Yokohama B-Corsairs, has missed the past three games while nursing a right-calf injury. With a bye coming up, the veteran big man will have more time for his leg to heal. He is averaging 18.1 points and 8.8 rebounds in 33 games.
The Diamond Dolphins (21-15), meanwhile, will prepare to return to action on Feb. 18 against the visiting Chiba Jets.
“Obviously I’m very happy for the guys to get this win,” Nagoya coach Reggie Geary told reporters after the game. “We’ve dealt with some difficulties lately, and at the same time playing some close games. So for us to pull this victory out today (is big).
He added: “I thought we got great contributions from not only our starters but guys came off the bench . . . and had some big minutes.
“We knew Tokyo was going to make runs. I thought we did a good job for the most part in keeping our composure, and then finding a way during the end to pull out the victory.”
Jerome Tillman led Nagoya with 21 points, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range, and grabbed 12 rebounds, sharing the team lead in that department with 218-cm center Jordan Bachynski, who added a dozen points and four blocks in a spirited, high-energy performance.
Floor leader Takumi Ishizaki, who came off the bench, scored 10 points and Tenketsu Harimoto, a former Alvark, and Takaya Sasayama contributed nine apiece for the Diamond Dolphins, who trailed 45-39 at halftime.
Bachynski, a native of Calgary, Alberta, forced overtime, securing an offensive rebound after Harimoto’s missed layup and scoring on a putback with 4 seconds left in the fourth quarter. That made it 69-69. Alvark guard Diante Garrett, who scored a game-high 22 points, then missed a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.
In overtime, Tokyo post player Joji Takeuchi gave his team a four-point advantage (73-69) after two trips to the free-throw line, the second visit at the 3:06 mark.
Tillman’s left-handed layup cut the deficit in half before Zack Baranski’s layup put the hosts in front 75-71 with 2:37 left in OT.
The Diamond Dolphins pulled within 75-74 on a Tillman 3-pointer. Tokyo answered, going ahead by three on a Shohei Kikuchi layup.
Then the Nagoya big men made key plays. A Baranski free throw cut the lead to 77-75.
After an Alvark missed 3-pointer by Garrett (he was 2-for-9 from long range on the day), the ball returned to Tillman at the other end of the court and he sank a clutch 3 from the right wing, putting his team in front 78-77 with 27 seconds remaining.
The Diamond Dolphins sealed the win with free throws down the stretch, including one for a technical assessed on Garrett.
Garrett, Baranski, who scored 19 points, and Daiki Tanaka, who pumped in 16, combined to take 66 of the Alvark’s 87 shots on the afternoon. They scored 74 percent of the team’s points, too.
Geary’s squad held Tokyo (27-7) to 5-for-31 shooting from 3-point range and 33.3 percent overall, and clamped down on other players, limiting their scoring chances.
Nagoya also claimed bragging rights on the boards, outrebounding the hosts 54-45.
Poise also played a key role for Geary’s squad. In particular, the visitors did not come unglued during the Alvark’s 15-0 spurt that gave them a 51-46 lead near the midway point of the third stanza.
Reflecting on the victory, Bachynski said, “It felt great. Roles always change on teams and my role today was to take those minutes and do what I could with them, so I was aggressive on the rebounding and did what I could.”
Tokyo coach Takuma Ito lamented the loss but said he was proud of his players for their strong effort.
He said the high-intensity game boiled down to a few plays and during timeouts he stressed to his players to always focus “on the next play.”
SeaHorses 76, Albirex BB 76
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, Mikawa held the hosts to 23 second-half points and completed a weekend sweep.
Big man Gavin Edwards paced the SeaHorses (26-8) with 21 points, including two jams. Kosuke Kanamaru had 17 points, highlighted by three triples. Makoto Hiejima poured in 16 points, J.R. Sakuragi chipped in with 14 points, eight boards and six assists and Isaac Butts added eight points and 13 rebounds.
Frontcourt stalwart Davante Gardner led the Albirex with 28 points on 11-for-13 shooting and corralled nine rebounds. Kei Igarashi contributed 18 points, with four 3s on the afternoon, and Clint Chapman had 14 points for Niigata (18-18).
Sunrockers 86, Levanga 80 (OT)
In Hakodate, Hokkaido, Shibuya bounced back from Saturday’s setback to salvage a series split with the hosts.
Takashi Ito finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and four steals for the Sunrockers (16-18). Gonzaga University alum Ira Brown energized the visitors with 16 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and two blocks and Kenta Hirose had a 14-point outing. R.T. Guinn supplied 11 points.
Shibuya, which dropped a double-overtime game against the Tochigi Brex last Sunday, outrebounded Hokkaido 47-39.
For the Levanga (11-25), Asahi Tajima had 17 points and five assists and 46-year-old Takehiko Orimo poured in 16 points. Takanobu Nishikawa scored 15 points and Xin Aoshima had 14. Ryota Sakurai dished out seven assists.
Jets 78, B-Corsairs 65
In Yokohama, Chiba’s high-octane offense clicked as the visitors ended the B-Corsairs’ three-game winning streak.
The Jets doled out 24 assists on 31 baskets. Ryumo Ono had a team-high eight assists along with 11 points.
Michael Parker scored 15 points and grabbed 10 boards and Kosuke Ishii had 14 with six assists for Chiba (23-13). Shuta Hara added 12 points and Tyler Stone had nine.
Jason Washburn paced Yokohama (14-22) with 17 points and nine rebounds. Takuya Kawamura added 14 points and six assists and Jeff Parmer and Kazutaka Takashima both scored 10 points.
NeoPhoenix 73, 89ers 61
In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, Robert Dozier and Josh Childress scored 20 points apiece to guide the hosts to their second victory in as many days over Sendai.
Childress also hauled in a team-high 10 rebounds.
Tatsuya Suzuki dished out five assists for San-en (22-14), which made 15 of 16 free throws.
Wendell White had 16 points for the 89ers (9-27) and Tshilidzi Nephawe finished with 13 points and 13 boards. Kaito Ishikawa scored nine points.
Northern Happinets 74, Lakestars 73
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Akita trailed by three points with a minute remaining, then rallied past the hosts to earn a series split.
Scott Morrison made a pair of inside baskets down the stretch to spearhead the visitors’ rally.
Morrison and Deshawn Stephens shared the team lead in points (19). Stephens snatched 11 rebounds. Seiya Ando added 14 points and four assists for the Happinets (9-27).
Julian Mavunga led Shiga (7-29) with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Craig Brackins supplied 12 points and Narito Namizato contributed seven assists.
Hannaryz 85, Grouses 68
In Kyoto, coach Honoo Hamaguchi’s club delivered a strong perimeter defensive performance en route to its second weekend triumph over Toyama.
The Hannaryz (18-18) held the visitors to 2-for-11 shooting from beyond the arc.
The Grouses turned the ball over 15 times.
Hayato Kawashima ignited Kyoto with 19 points, knocking down 3 of 4 3-point attempts. Kevin Kotzur provided 15 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, while Takuya Sato and Yusuke Okada both scored 12 points.
Sam Willard put 13 points on the board for the Grouses (8-28). Dexter Pittman finished with 11 points and 10 boards and Naoki Uto scored 10 points with six assists.
Brex 76, Evessa 68
In Osaka, former NBA guard Yuta Tabuse, now 36, delivered a vintage 18-point, three-assist performance and Tochigi held off the host to complete a two-game sweep.
Ryan Rossiter added 16 points and 15 rebounds and frontcourt mate Jeff Gibbs had 11 points and seven boards for the Brex (27-7). Takatoshi Furukawa poured in 12 points.
Josh Harrellson had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Evessa (18-18). Xavier Gibson scored 17 points and Shota Konno had 13.
Brave Thunders 87, Golden Kings 76
In Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, balanced scoring carried title-chasing Kawasaki past Ryukyu for the second straight day.
Nick Fazekas led the Brave Thunders (31-5) with 22 points and 12 rebounds and four teammates also reached double figures in points, including Ryusei Shinoyama (13) and Kengo Nomoto (12). Takumi Hasegawa recorded five assists.
Kawasaki shot 59.2 percent from 2-point range.
Ryuichi Kishimoto and Reyshawn Terry had 17 points apiece for the Golden Kings (15-21).
Second-division update: Here are Sunday’s results: Shimane Susanoo Magic 95, Gunma Crane Thunders 54; Fukushima Firebonds 85, Earthfriends Tokyo Z 81; Kumamoto Volters 75, Yamagata Wyverns 59; Ehime Orange Vikings 60, Ibaraki Robots 54; Tokyo Excellence 80, Iwate Big Bulls 66; Hiroshima Dragonflies 81, Shinshu Brave Warriors 79; Bambitious Nara 75, Aomori Wat’s 71; Fighting Eagles Nagoya 87, Kagoshima Rebnise 73; and Nishinomiya Storks 85, Kagawa Five Arrows 84.