FUNABASHI, Chiba Pref. – The Chiba Jets shot 90.9 percent from the field in an entertaining first quarter.
The Jets couldn’t maintain that remarkable rate for a full 40 minutes on Sunday against the Levanga Hokkaido, but their high-powered offense clicked for most of the game.
Chiba defeated Hokkaido 101-90 before a lively packed house (5,218 spectators) at Funabashi Arena to complete a weekend sweep.
Chiba (33-14) took a 32-18 lead into the second quarter after Ryumo Ono (10 points), Michael Parker (eight), Yuki Togashi (seven), Hilton Armstrong (four) and Kosuke Ishii (three) combined to make 10 of 11 shots from the field. Togashi stepped to the free-throw line and went 5-for-5 in the opening stanza — a sign of things to come — and Ono, who was fouled on Chiba’s opening possession of the game, nailed 4 of 4.
Before the second quarter began, the Jets already had nine assists, including three apiece by Togashi and Armstrong, a University of Connecticut and NBA alum, and five steals.
When the fourth quarter wrapped up, the Jets had five double-digit scorers in Togashi (22 points, 13 of 14 at the line) and Ono (22 on 7 of 8 shooting from the field), Parker (16 with five rebounds and four steals), Armstrong (13 with seven assists) and Ishii (12).
Chiba coach Atsushi Ono commended his players for executing the team’s offense at a high level in the series finale. That effort led to 24-for-33 shooting (72.7 percent from inside the arc).
The Jets passed the ball effectively throughout the game, chalking up 22 assists against 10 turnovers. They spaced the floor well and operated in sync as a cohesive unit.
“Our offense was very strong today,” Atsushi Ono told reporters.
Entering the third quarter, Chiba was in front 51-40.
Late in the third stanza, a Togashi pull-up 3-pointer extended the hosts’ lead to 71-51. He freed himself up for a good look after a dazzling display of dribbling.
Moments later, Armstrong sank two free throws to give Chiba a 73-51 lead, its largest of the game.
Hokkaido’s Daisuke Noguchi drained a 3-pointer for the final points of the third quarter, and his team trailed 79-59 entering the final quarter.
Playing at a frenzied pace in the fourth quarter, Levanga’s fast-strike offense put points on the board in a hurry.
Hokkaido (17-30) outscored the hosts 31-23 in the final period, but couldn’t dig out of the big hole caused by Chiba’s scoring prowess.
Center Daniel Miller, an imposing presence in the low post all game, led the Levanga with 27 points on 11-for-14 shooting, delivering a clinic in layups. He pulled the visitors to within 94-86 with late in the fourth, but they wouldn’t get closer the rest of the way.
Hokkaido’s Jahmar Thorpe had 17 points and three steals and Noguchi poured in 13. Takanobu Nishikawa added nine points. Asahi Tajima was the assist leader (seven) for Hokkaido.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Atsushi Ono noted that the Levanga’s defense tightened up. But he credited his players for making smart offensive plays and for an impressive scoring output.
On the other hand, the coach said his team’s rebounding (21 boards; Hokkaido had 30) was “inadequate.”
Levanga coach Kota Mizuno said the Jets demonstrated that they are a “high-IQ basketball team.”
“The Chiba Jets played at a high (level),” he said, noting defensive switches by Parker and Armstrong helped keep the Jets defense employ aggressive tactics.
SeaHorses 100, Evessa 94
In Osaka, Mikawa’s high-octane offense played a pivotal role in the team’s latest victory, and the visitors competed a series sweep and clinched the West Division title.
The SeaHorses (37-10) sealed the victory at the free-throw line, converting 21 of 24 shots.
Mikawa elder statesman J.R. Sakuragi, now 40, had 20 points and six assists. Gavin Edwards provided 19 points and Makoto Hiejima scored 18 points with four assists. Masaya Karimata contributed 16 points and four assists and Kosuke Kanamaru scored 15 points.
Xavier Gibson led the Evessa (22-25) with 27 points and Naoaki Hashimoto scored 16. Shinnosuke Negoro had 12 points and Josh Harrellson and Shota Konno added 10 apiece, with Hiroyuki Kinoshita and Takuya Soma both dishing out five assists.
Brex 71, 89ers 49
In Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, the hosts took a 33-20 lead into the intermission en route to their second win in as many days over Sendai.
Ryan Rossiter led the Brex (38-9) with 15 points and 16 rebounds and dished out four assists. Jeff Gibbs added 13 points and nine boards. Tochigi big man Kosuke Takeuchi had 11 points and Takatoshi Furukawa poured in eight points.
The 89ers (12-35) had 19 turnovers.
Greg Mangano scored 18 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for Sendai. Tshilidzi Nephawe scored 12 points.
The Brex won the rebounding battle (41-34 margin).
Brave Thunders 90, Albirex BB 71
In Niigata, star center Nick Fazekas had 27 points on 9-for-14 shooting and 14 rebounds and Kawasaki completed a weekend sweep of the hosts.
Yuma Fujii and Naoto Tsuji 16 points apiece and Ryusei Shinoyama had 15 for the Brave Thunders (39-8). Mamadou Diouf and Takumi Hasegawa both handed out four assists.
Davante Gardner had a team-high 17 points for Niigata (20-27). Yuichi Ikeda finished with 13 points and Stephan Van Treese contributed 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Diamond Dolphins 84, Lakestars 69
In Nagoya, coach Reggie Geary’s club jumped out to a 19-point halftime advantage and bounced back from a loss on Saturday, ending a four-game slide.
Taito Nakahigashi paced the Diamond Dolphins (23-24) with 22 points, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range. David Weaver chipped in with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Jerome Tillman had a 17-point performance.
Julian Mavunga had 22 points and eight boards for Shiga (11-36). Narito Namizato added 13 points.
NeoPhoenix 72, Sunrockers 69
In Hamamatsu, former NBA forward Josh Childress scored a game-best 30 points and hauled in 11 rebounds as San-en salvaged a weekend split with Shibuya.
Olu Ashaolu added 16 points for the NeoPhoenix (26-21). Teammates Atsuya Ota and Shuto Tawatari poured in 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Robert Sacre, who had a 20-point outing, was the top scorer for the Sunrockers (23-24). Leo Vendrame finished with 13 points and six assists and R.T. Guinn had 10 points.
Hannaryz 83, Golden Kings 79
In Kyoto, the hosts dominated the fourth quarter and avenged their series-opening loss to Ryukyu.
The Hannaryz (22-25) outscored the visitors 28-17 in the fourth quarter and halted the Golden Kings’ five-game winning streak.
Yusuke Okada sparked Kyoto with 20 points and Mo Charlo put 19 on the board. Sunao Murakami contributed 12 points and four assists.
Shuhei Kitagawa had 22 points for Ryukyu (22-25) and Lamont Hamilton supplied 14 points and 14 boards. Ryuichi Kishimoto scored 12 points and Anthony McHenry had 10.
Northern Happinets 71, Alvark 64
In Tokyo, Akita rallied past the hosts in the fourth quarter to earn a bounce-back victory.
Leo Lyons had a team-high 21 points and nine rebounds for the Northern Happinets (14-33). Scott Morrison scored 17 points, Seiya Ando had 12 and Shigehiro Taguchi 11.
Diante Garrett led Tokyo (36-11) with 16 points, Daiki Tanaka scored 15 and Jeff Ayres notched a double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds).
Grouses 80, B-Corsairs 60
In Yokohama, backcourt mates Naoki Uto (18 points) and Masashi Joho (16) sparked the visitors to their second win of the weekend over the struggling B-Corsairs.
Dexter Pittman had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Toyama (13-34) and Yu Okada scored 10 points.
Jeff Parmer paced Yokohama (15-32) with 21 points and Masashi Hosoya, who sank 4 of 4 3-pointers, added 20 points. Second-division update: Here are the results of Sunday’s games: Iwate Big Bulls 96, Fukushima Firebonds 74; Fighting Eagles Nagoya 82, Earthfriends Tokyo Z 77; Gunma Crane Thunders 70, Aomori Wat’s 65; Ibaraki Robots 92, Yamagata Wyverns 66; Nishinomiya Storks 94, Shinshu Brave Warriors 62; Bambitious Nara 87, Tokyo Excellence 71; Hiroshima Dragonflies 86, Kagawa Five Arrows 64; and Shimane Susanoo Magic 80, Ehime Orange Vikings 78.