Every game is vital at this stage of the season for playoff-chasing teams.
The Niigata Albirex BB recorded a valuable 85-75 win on Saturday over the Toyama Grouses and outplayed the hosts in the second half of their series opener.
It was tied at 36-36 at halftime.
Big man Davante Gardner ignited Niigata (22-28) with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Frontcourt mate Clint Chapman poured in 18 points, including 9-for-10 at the foul line, and collected seven rebounds. Kei Igarashi matched Chapman’s scoring total, draining 3 of 6 3s. Kimitake Sato had nine points and Tenyoku You and Shunki Hatakeyama each scored six, with Hatakeyama also dishing out seven assists.
The Albirex sealed the victory at the foul line, where they made 24 of 28 shots.
For Toyama (14-36), Drew Viney had 21 points and Takeshi Mito and Dexter Pittman both scored 11.
Sunrockers 78, B-Corsairs 62
In Tokyo, Shibuya seized control in the third quarter with 33 points to turn a tight game into a rout.
Yokohama (15-35) led 28-26 at halftime.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Sunrockers were ahead 61-41.
R.T. Guinn buried four 3s in a 21-point effort and Yuto Otsuka canned 5 of 6 for the majority of his 17 points. Ex-Los Angeles Laker Robert Sacre delivered a 12-point, 15-rebound effort, while Yuki Mitsuhara contributed eight points. Point guard Leo Vendrame, a dynamic 23-year-old talent, stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, six assists, five rebounds, three steals and a block in just under 28 minutes.
Shibuya (25-25) converted 12 of 28 3s and won the rebounding competition (43-29).
For the B-Corsairs, Jeff Parmer was the high scorer with 20 points along with nine boards, four assists and four steals. Faye Pape Mour, Ken Takeda and Masashi Hosoya added nine points apiece. Takuya Kawamura had seven points and five steals.
Yokohama shot 12-for-26 at the charity stripe; Shibuya made 12 of 12.
Golden Kings 75, Lakestars 73
In Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, Lamont Hamilton and Shota Tsuyama scored 14 points apiece and Ryukyu edged the hosts.
Tsuyama led all players with four 3-pointers. Hamilton had a team-best five assists and two blocks.
Reyshawn Terry finished with 13 points and Anthony McHenry and Ryuichi Kishimoto both had eight for the Golden Kings (25-25).
Narito Namizato, a former Ryukyu player, had 14 points and seven assists for the Lakestars (12-38) and Yusuke Karino scored 13 points.
Alvark 58, 89ers 51
In Tokyo, in a defensive struggle, the Alvark held Sendai to 18 second-half points to complete a big comeback .
Neither team shot the ball well; Tokyo finished 31.4 percent shooting from the field, while Sendai was at 31.7 percent.
The 89ers (13-37) led 33-20 at that half after holding the hosts to four points in the second stanza.
Tokyo returned the favor in the third quarter, outscoring Sendai 22-5 to take control.
Diante Garrett led the Alvark (37-13) with 27 points. Jeff Ayres grabbed 15 rebounds, Takeki Shonaka added eight points and Joji Takeuchi and Daiki Tanaka both had seven. Takeuchi, who blocked three shots and made two steals, also pulled down 10 rebounds.
Center Tshilidzi Nephawe had team-high totals in points (18) and rebounds (18) for the visitors. Greg Mangano scored 13 points and raked in 11 boards. Fumiya Sato had an eight-point outing.
Jets 92, Brex 80
In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, the hosts jumped out to a 52-34 halftime lead en route to a win over East rival Tochigi.
Tyler Stone paced the Jets with 29 points, including 8-for-9 at the foul line. Former NBA center Hilton Armstrong finished with a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks), while Ryumo Ono had 18 points, including 3-for-3 from long range.
Chiba’s offense featured almost identical attempts from 3-point range (12 of 27) and inside the arc (17 of 28).
The Jets stepped to the foul line for 30 shots and converted 22.
Chiba fan favorite Yuki Togashi added 11 points and five assists.
For the Brex (40-10), Ryan Rossiter had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Takatoshi Furukawa poured in 13 points, Jeff Gibbs followed with 12 points and 11 boards and Yutaro Suda scored 10 points.
SeaHorses 86, Diamond Dolphins 70
In Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Makoto Hiejima’s 23-point effort on 10-for-15 shooting sparked the hosts in a series-opening win over Nagoya.
Gavin Edwards added 16 points and Kosuke Kanamaru scored 13 for the SeaHorses (40-10), who led 41-36 at halftime.
Mikawa shot 51.4 percent from the field.
Masaya Karimata had 10 points, J.R. Sakuragi contributed nine points and six assists and Isaac Butts finished with eight points and 15 rebounds.
For Nagoya (23-27), Jerome Tillman scored 15 points, Seiya Funyu had 11 and Tenketsu Harimoto poured in 10 and blocked three shots.
In a game with zero lead changes, the hosts outrebounded the Diamond Dolphins 45-33.
Hannaryz 84, Evessa 72
In Osaka, Hayato Kawashima scored 20 points and reserve guard Hikaru Kusaka came off the bench to provide a potent 16-point performance, making 5 of 6 3s to spark Kyoto past its Kansai rival.
Mo Charlo supplied 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Hannaryz (23-27), who shot 49.2 percent on the night.
Xavier Gibson had 22 points and eight rebounds for Osaka (23-27). Hiroyuki Kinoshita contributed 14 points and five assists, Shinnosuke Negoro had 12 points and Josh Harrellson scored 10.
The Evessa were held to 39.7 percent shooting.
Brave Thunders 72, NeoPhoenix 63
In Kawasaki, Nick Fazekas’ routine brilliance once again guided the hosts to their second win in as many days over San-en.
Fazekas provided 29 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and four blocks for the Central Division powerhouse Brave Thunders (43-8). Naoto Tsuji and Yuma Fuji chipped in with 11 and nine points, respectively.
For the NeoPhoenix (27-24), Josh Childress had a team-high 13 points with 14 boards, five turnovers and three blocks. Olu Ashaolu scored 10 points and Robert Dozier and Tatsuya Suzuki had nine apiece.
Second-division update: Here are the results of Saturday’s games: Hiroshima Dragonflies 112, Kagoshima Rebnise 81; Kumamoto Volters 66, Shimane Susanoo Magic 64; Nishinomiya Storks 80, Tokyo Excellence 77; Fighting Eagles Nagoya 96, Bambitious Nara 86; Earthfriends Tokyo Z 77, Shinshu Brave Warriors 71; Aomori Wat’s 85, Ibaraki Robots 80; Gunma Crane Thunders 85, Iwate Big Bulls 65; Fukushima Firebonds 77, Yamagata Wyverns 76; and Ehime Orange Vikings 80, Kagawa Five Arrows 67.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5