After their series opener on Saturday, the Tochigi Brex and Alvark Tokyo have a combined 75 regular-season victories, and only have a combined 21 defeats.
In their latest encounter, the fourth quarter belonged to the Brex, who earned an 80-66 triumph.
Tochigi (39-9) used an 11-0 spurt in the final stanza to pull ahead 73-60 en route to victory.
Coach Tom Wisman’s club outscored the Alvark 25-13 in the fourth quarter.
All-Star forward Ryan Rossiter led the Brex with 21 points and 16 rebounds. He didn’t have his best shooting game, making 8 of 18 shots, but with eight offensive rebounds, Rossiter gave his team additional chances to score throughout the contest.
“I didn’t have a great shooting night personally, but I always try to hit the glass and set good screens to help create open shots for my teammates,” Rossiter told The Japan Times. “We have a lot of good players that can score in a variety of ways.”
Rossiter, the league’s leading rebounder (13.5 per game) takes great pride in this aspect of his game.
“I try to get every rebound available,” Rossiter, a Siena (New York) College alum, said after the game. “We have some great shooters but I always assume they’re going to miss the shot, which allows me to get into good position and also knowing what type of shots each player likes to take helps me carve out a good rebounding area.”
The Brex trailed 18-15 after one quarter, then regrouped to take a 39-31 lead into the locker room at halftime at Utsunomiya Gymnasium before a packed house of 3,904 spectators.
The Alvark (36-12) trailed 55-43 entering the fourth quarter.
Tochigi forward Takatoshi Furukawa scored 15 points and teammate Hironori Watanabe had 12. Jeff Gibbs and Kosuke Takeuchi added eight points apiece, with Gibbs hauling in nine rebounds. Floor leader Yuta Tabuse finished with six points and six assists in 20 minutes.
The Brex went to the free-throw line for 26 shots, making 21 of them.
The Alvark were whistled for 23 fouls to Tochigi’s 17. (Tokyo made 8 of 11 foul shots.)
“Tokyo is always a battle for us,” Rossiter said later. “It feels good to get another win as we’re hoping to win our conference, but I know tomorrow will be an even tougher game, Tokyo has tremendous fight in them.”
For the Alvark, who made 4 of 23 3-point shots, Diante Garrett was the high scorer with 15 points. The former Iowa State and NBA player added five assists and three steals. Zack Baranski also reached double figures in points (11) for the visitors. Keijuro Matsui, Jeff Ayres and Trent Plaisted all scored eight points apiece. Joji Takeuchi, who was held to four points on 2-for-8 shooting, had three blocks.
Brave Thunders 85, B-Corsairs 68
In Yokohama, Kawasaki became the first B. League team to reach 40 wins by routing the hosts and clinching the Central Division title.
MVP front-runner Nick Fazekas had 32 points and 17 rebounds for the Brave Thunders (40-8) and Takumi Hasegawa had 14 points. Yuya Nagayoshi added eight points.
Kawasaki had eight players record at least one assist on the night and finished with 29 against eight turnovers. Ryusei Shinoyama handed out seven assists and Naoto Tsuji had six, while Yuma Fujii supplied five.
The visitors outscored Yokohama (15-33) by a 47-25 margin in the second half.
Takuya Kawamura paced the B-Corsairs with 18 points and six assists. Jeff Parmer added 15 points and eight boards and Jason Washburn scored 13 points.
SeaHorses 82, Hannaryz 69
In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, Mikawa manhandled Kyoto on the boards and won convincingly.
The SeaHorses grabbed 50 rebounds and limited the visitors to 23.
Appalachian State alum Isaac Butts notched a double-double with 12 points and 17 rebounds (nine offensive) and frontcourt mate J.R. Sakuragi, who continues to make a big impact at age 40 for Mikawa (38-10), finished with a game-high 24 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
Gavin Edwards added 17 points and nine boards for the hosts, who led 44-34 at halftime. Kosuke Kanamaru poured in 13 points and Makoto Hiejima had six points and five assists for the West Division power. Masaaki Morikawa had a 10-point outing.
For Kyoto (22-26), Mo Charlo led the way with 15 points. Marcus Dove and Kevin Kotzur scored 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The Hannaryz misfired on 18 of 21 3-point attempts.
Northern Happinets 80, Jets 70
In Akita, coach Makoto Hasegawa’s club jumped out to a 20-9 lead after one quarter and never trailed in a series-opening win over Chiba.
Seiya Ando paced Akita with 16 points and forward Leo Lyons, a University of Missouri product, had 14. Shigehiro Taguchi scored 11 points and dished out four assists for the Happinets (15-33) and Scott Morrison provided 10 points. Daichi Taniguchi canned 3 of 4 3s for his nine-point output.
The Jets (33-15) had a shaky outing at the free-throw line, making 18 of 27 attempts.
Michael Parker led Chiba with 18 points. Yuki Togashi scored 14 and doled out four assists. Tyler Stone scored 12 points and collected eight boards and Ryumo Ono contributed nine points and nine assists.
Akita made 11 of 23 3s, getting long-distance points from six players on the night.
Sunrockers 71, Grouses 62
In Toyama, Leo Vendrame scored 16 points and Ira Brown had nine points, 13 rebounds and five assists as Shibuya prevailed over the hosts.
Kenta Hirose supplied 13 points and Aki Chambers added 10 with three steals for the Sunrockers (24-24).
Shibuya coach BT Toews’ squad made 11 of 21 3-pointers to help offset its 37.5 percent shooting from inside the arc.
Masashi Joho had a team-high 17 points for the Grouses (13-35). Takeshi Mito scored 14 points and Dexter Pittman had 12 and nine boards for Toyama, while Drew Viney added 10 points.
Albirex BB 90, NeoPhoenix 87 (OT)
In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, Clint Chapman had 23 points, Davante Gardner poured in 21 and Niigata outlasted San-en in overtime.
Tenyoku You had 15 points and Kei Igarashi scored 13 for the Albirex (21-27). Kimitake Sato contributed nine points and six assists, while Shunki Hatakeyama added seven points and four steals.
Josh Childress scored 33 points and Robert Dozier had 14 with 10 boards for the NeoPhoenix (26-22). Tatsuya Suzuki dished out eight assists.
Golden Kings 82, Diamond Dolphins 76
In Okinawa City, Lamont Hamilton’s 24-point, 10-rebound, five-assist performance helped the hosts hold off Nagoya’s comeback attempt.
Shota Tsuyama scored 15 points, knocking down 5 of 8 3s for the Golden Kings (23-25). Anthony McHenry chipped in with 14 points, 15 rebounds and four assists, Shuhei Kitagawa scored 10 points, Ryuichi Kishimoto had nine and Shigeyuki Kinjo eight on 3-for-3 shooting.
Tenketsu Harimoto led the Diamond Dolphins (23-25) with 18 points. Takaya Sasayama scored 17 and Jerome Tillman had 16. Former bj-league MVP Justin Burrell, who’s been sidelined for weeks with a leg injury, made his first appearance since Jan. 28 and scored two points in six-plus minutes.
Evessa 81, Lakestars 78
In Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, balanced scoring guided Osaka past its Kansai rival.
Xavier Gibson paced the Evessa (23-25) with 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Hiroyuki Kinoshita added 13 points, Josh Harrellson had 11 with 11 rebounds and Shota Konno scored 10.
For Shiga (11-37), Julian Mavunga was the high scorer with 24 points. He had 11 rebounds and five assists as well. Narito Namizato finished with 15 points for the Lakestars.
Levanga 70, 89ers 60
In Sendai, Hokkaido held the hosts to 28 second-half points and earned a bounce-back victory to salvage a series split.
Former Georgia Tech big man Daniel Miller paced the Levanga (18-31) with 25 points on 10-for-17 shooting, 13 rebounds and three blocks. Jahmar Thorpe finished with 11 points and Asahi Tajima scored nine. Yoshitake Matsushima handed out a team-best four assists.
Fumiya Sato, Sendai’s buzzer-beating hero on Friday night in a 55-53 series-opening win, paced the hosts with 14 points. Sato drained 4 of 6 3-pointers.
Center Tshilidzi Nephawe had 12 points and 16 rebounds for the 89ers (13-36) and Greg Mangano scored nine points. Manato Kikuchi swatted four shots in the low-scoring contest.
Hokkaido shot 35 percent from the field, but made 24 of 28 free throws.
Sendai sank only 34.8 percent of its shots from the floor.
Second-division update: Here’s what happened in the second flight on Saturday: Kagawa Five Arrows 94, Kagoshima Rebnise 78; Shimane Susanoo Magic 72, Hiroshima Dragonflies 50; Fighting Eagles Nagoya 95, Tokyo Excellence 74; Earthfriends Tokyo Z 70, Nishinomiya Storks 69; Aomori Wat’s 91, Iwate Big Bulls 89; Gunma Crane Thunders 67, Yamagata Wyverns 58; Ibaraki Robots 82, Fukushima Firebonds 73; Bambitious Nara 86, Shinshu Brave Warriors 70; and Kumamoto Volters 77, Ehime Orange Vikings 66.