The Osaka Evessa trailed by nine points entering the fourth quarter against the B. League powerhouse Kawasaki Brave Thunders on Saturday.
It wasn’t time to push the panic button.
Instead, for the Evessa to pull out a win, they needed to elevate their performance at both ends of the floor.
Coach Dai Oketani’s club did just that, edging the Brave Thunders 84-81 in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, and ending a four-game losing streak.
Osaka (19-18) outscored the hosts 31-19 in the final stanza, sealing the victory on a pair of Takuya Hashimoto free throws with seven seconds remaining.
Former NBA big man Josh Harrellson led the Evessa in four key statistical categories: points (18), rebounds (13), assists (four) and blocked shots (three). Hiroyuki Kinoshita, meanwhile, had a perfect shooting game, making 6 of 6 attempts from the field, including 3 of 3 from long range, and going 2-for-2 at the free-throw line in a 17-point performance. Perimeter marksman Takuya Soma poured in 13 points and drained three 3s, while Richard Roby and Hashimoto both scored seven points.
Asked about the team’s vibe after the game, Roby offered this assessment in an interview with The Japan Times: “It felt good, especially coming off a four-game losing streak.”
What was the key to victory?
“We just keep competing,” added Roby, a University of Colorado alum, “and were able to get some momentum and finished with a win.”
Anther NBA alum, Kawasaki’s Nick Fazekas scored a game-best 27 points on 9-for-23 shooting. He pulled down 16 rebounds. Mamadou Diouf added 14 points for the Brave Thunders (31-6).
Jets 94, Diamond Dolphins 75
In Nagoya, Tyler Stone’s 31-point, 13-rebound, four-assist, two-steal, one-block effort energized Chiba in a comprehensive win over the Diamond Dolphins.
The Jets (24-13) kept Nagoya’s offense in check over the middle two periods, limiting coach Reggie Geary’s club to 27 points in that span while putting 45 on the board.
All-Star Game MVP Yuki Togashi had 16 points and four assists for the out-of-towners and Ryumo Ono provided 13 points and five assists. Steady forward Michael Parker put his stamp on the game with 13 points, nine rebounds, three steals and three blocks.
The Jets’ potent 3-point shooting (13 of 31) helped keep their sizable lead intact.
Tenketsu Harimoto had 18 points and Jerome Tillman scored 17 points and hauled in 12 rebounds for Nagoya (21-16). Takaya Sasayama added 12 points.
Brex 93, NeoPhoenix 69
In Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, the Brex jumped out to a 16-point lead entering the second quarter and stretched that margin to 20 by halftime in a rout of San-en.
Ryan Rossiter delivered a 16-point, 12-rebound effort and handed out five assists for Tochigi (28-7) and Takatoshi Furukawa and Hironori Watanabe both scored 11 points for the hosts, who shot 58.2 percent from the field. Yuta Tabuse, Jeff Gibbs, Kosuke Takeuchi and Yutaro Suda all finished with eight points. Watanabe matched Rossiter’s assist total to share the team lead.
Gibbs hauled in 10 boards and his club dominated on the boards (42-22 rebounding margin).
Robert Dozier had 21 points for the NeoPhoenix (22-15) and Josh Childress scored 14. Atsuya Ota and Shuto Tawatari added 10 apiece. Shingo Okada had a team-high four assists.
Levanga 78, SeaHorses 70
In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, Hokkaido’s effective defense limited the hosts to 36.1 percent shooting in a bounce-back victory to close out the series.
Big man Daniel Miller paced the Levanga (12-26) with 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He added four assists and two blocks in 26-plus productive minutes. New teammate Jordan Bachynski added 14 points and hauled in nine boards, the 218-cm center also swatting two shots.
Hokkaido’s Takehiko Orimo sank a pair of 3s in a 12-point outing and Takanobu Nishikawa also canned two long-range shots en route to 10 points. Ryota Sakurai chipped in with nine points and five assists.
Kosuke Kanamaru led Mikawa (27-9) with 25 points. He was 5 of 9 from beyond the arc. J.R. Sakuragi, a former UCLA and NBA forward, finished with 18 points and 15 boards. Makoto Hiejima was held to 11 points, including 1-for-6 on 3s. Isaac Butts had 10 points and 10 boards.
Northern Happinets 84, B-Corsairs 60
In Akita, balanced scoring helped guide coach Makoto Hasegawa’s club past Yokohama.
Led by Shigehiro Taguchi’s 14-point game, five Akita players reached double figures in scoring. Scott Morrison had 12 points with nine rebounds, Evan Ravenel chipped in with 11 points and Deshawn Stephens and Daichi Taniguchi both scored 10 apiece.
Seiya Ando added nine points and Ryosuke Shirahama dished out five assists for the Northern Happinets (10-27).
Alexis Minatoya was the top scorer for the B-Corsairs with 13 points, while veteran shooting guard Ken Takeda had 10 points. Takuya Kawamura and Jeff Parmer added nine and eight points, respectively, for Yokohama (14-23).
The Happinets opened the game on a 10-0 run and never trailed.
89ers 95, Lakestars 72
In Sendai, two-time bj-league MVP Wendell White carried the hosts with a 27-point, 10-rebound effort as they salvaged a series split with Shiga.
Tshilidzi Nephawe scored 18 points and corralled eight rebounds for the 89ers (10-28). Minato Kikuchi and Takayuki Kumagai each poured in 10 points. Masaharu Kataoka doled out a team-best four assists.
Sendai outscored the visitors 50-32 in the second half.
Julian Mavunga had 25 points, including five 3-pointers, for the Lakestars (8-30) and Craig Brackins contributed 16 points. Yosuke Sugawara had 10 points.
Alvark 82, Grouses 66
In Toyama, Diante Garrett’s 17 points and six assists helped steer Tokyo past the hosts in the series opener.
Zack Baranski scored 15 points for the Alvark (28-7) and Shohei Kikuchi put 13 points on the board. Daiki Tanaka added 12 points and Joji Takeuchi notched a double-double (10 points, 12 boards). Kikuchi and Tanaka both dished out four assists.
For the Grouses (8-29), Dexter Pittman had 15 points and nine rebounds. Point guard Yuta Miyanaga finished with 11 points and four assists and Drew Viney and Sam Willard scored 10 points apiece, with Willard adding 11 boards.
Golden Kings 78, Sunrockers 63
In Okinawa City, the hosts never gave the Shibuya offense an opportunity to heat up from 3-point range in a runaway victory.
The Sunrockers trailed 40-25 at halftime.
Naoki Tashiro had 14 points and Ryuichi Kishimoto scored 13 for the Golden Kings (16-21). Team leader Anthony McHenry had 11 points, 10 points and three assists and Ryunosuke Watanabe had 10 points.
Shibuya missed 20 of 24 3-point shots. Former Los Angeles Lakers center Robert Sacre paced the club with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Yuki Mitsuhara added 11 points and Kenta Hirose had 10.
Albirex BB 79, Hannaryz 75
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, coach Kazuhiro Shoji’s club stormed past Kyoto in the decisive fourth quarter, impressively overcoming the 11-point deficit they faced entering the final period.
Niigata outscored the visitors 31-16 in the fourth.
Davante Gardner had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Albirex (19-18). Kimitake Sato scored 17 points and Clint Chapman provided 16 with 11 rebounds. Kenta Morii chipped in with six assists.
Kevin Kotzur led the Hannaryz (18-19) with 15 points and five assists and Yusuke Okada scored 12 points.
Second-division update: Here are the results of Saturday’s games: Fighting Eagles Nagoya 95, Ibaraki Robots 93; Gunma Crane Thunders 86, Hiroshima Dragonflies 82; Shimane Susanoo Magic 89, Earthfriends Tokyo Z 76; Ehime Orange VIkings 78, Aomori Wat’s 64; Nishinomiya Storks 78, Iwate Big Bulls 64; Kumamoto Volters 77, Shinshu Brave Warriors 67; Bambitious Nara 91, Kagoshima Rebnise 66; Kagawa Five Arrows 85, Fukushima Firebonds 62; and Yamagata Wyverns 78, Tokyo Excellence 77.