Basketball traditionalists have always recognized that dominating in the paint is a key to controlling a game.
Winning goes hand in hand with that tactic, too.
The Osaka Evessa delivered a reminder about that on Saturday evening in an 87-70 victory over the visiting Nishinomiya Storks.
The Evessa (3-7) put 42 points on the board from in the paint, and they held the Storks to 26.
That 16-point scoring margin in the lane proved to be a big factor for coach Dai Oketani’s winning club.
Osaka also got strong shooting from the perimeter. Hiroyuki Kinoshita sank 3 of 3 from beyond the 3-point arc in an 18-point effort, and David Wear and Soichiro Fujitaka both were 2-for-2 and finished with 14 points apiece.
Gyno Pomare was a potent force inside for the Evessa, scoring 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds. He had four assists. Frontcourt mate Greg Smith added seven points and 10 boards. Rei Goda dished out a team-high six assists.
For Nishinomiya (3-7), Noriaki Dohara scored 16 points, Jordan Vandenberg had 13 and Yuya Ishitsuka added 11.
Lakestars 77, NeoPhoenix 72
In Toyokawa, Aichi Prefecture, Narito Namizato’s 21-point, six-assist effort and D’or Fischer’s 14 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks steered Shiga past the hosts.
The Lakestars (4-6) gave new head coach Shawn Dennis a series-opening victory a day after his 52nd birthday.
Yusuke Karino added nine points and Faye Samba had eight for Shiga.
Former NBA swingman Cartier Martin led San-en (4-6) with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Tatsuya Suzuki finished with 12 points and seven assists and Shuto Tawatari scored 11 points.
Shiga shot 50.9 percent from the floor; the NeoPhoenix converted 36.0 percent of their shots.
B-Corsairs 67, Sunrockers 61
In Tokyo, ex-NBA center Hasheem Thabeet produced a double-double (15 points, 12 rebounds) and swatted four shots as Yokohama snapped a seven-game losing streak.
Takuya Kawamura had 14 points and five assists for the B-Corsairs (2-8), who won for the first time in October. Jeff Parmer scored 12 points and Ryo Tawatari had eight.
Robert Sacre led Shibuya (4-6) with 16 points and eight rebounds, Tomoya Hasegawa added 11 points and Leo Vendrame 10. Kenta Hirose and Morihisa Yamauchi both handed out five assists.
Brex 87, Levanga 76
In Obihiro, Hokkaido Prefecture, star forward Ryan Rossiter’s 25-point, seven-rebound effort helped guide reigning champion Tochigi past the hosts.
Cedric Bozeman added 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting for the Brex (3-7). Shuhei Kitagawa canned 4 of 5 3s in a 12-point outing and Kosuke Takeuchi, Yusuke Endo and Shusuke Ikuhara all had seven points. Takeuchi also chipped in with eight rebounds and two blocks, and Endo led the club in assists (five).
Tochigi held a 48-36 advantage in points in the paint and outscored Hokkaido 28-11 on points from turnovers.
For the Levanga (6-4), Marc Trasolini scored 21 points and Daisuke Noguchi had 10 points. Daniel Miller and Ryota Sakurai both scored nine points. Sakurai and Asahi Tajima both dished out a team-best five assists. Tajima finished with eight points.
Hokkaido shot just 57.1 percent (12 of 21) from the free-throw line. Miller was 1-for-6.
SeaHorses 106, Diamond Dolphins 89
In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, six Mikawa players scored in double figures as the hosts rolled past Nagoya.
Kosuke Kanamaru had 19 points to lead the SeaHorses (9-1). Isaac Butts poured in 16 points and hauled in 10 rebounds and Masaya Karimata knocked down five 3s in a 15-point, nine-assist effort, with Makoto Hiejima matching Karimata’s scoring output. Daniel Orton finished with 12 points and Keijuro Matsui had 10 points, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range.
Mikawa’s J.R. Sakuragi contributed eight points, nine rebounds and five assists.
For the Diamond Dolphins (4-6), Tenketsu Harimoto scored 18 points, Craig Brackins had 16, Justin Burrell added 14 and Jerome Tillman 11. Brackins dished out a team-high seven assists.
Alvark 104, Grouses 77
In Tachikawa, former Cleveland Cavaliers forward Jawad Williams scored a game-high 24 points, making 10 of 13 shots from the field, and Joji Takeuchi poured in 19 points as the hosts hammered Toyama.
Takeuchi was 8-for-9 from the floor, and the Alvark (9-1) shot 60.6 percent as a team.
Big man Alex Kirk scored 16 points and fellow newcomer Seiya Ando had 14 for Tokyo, which led 53-35 at halftime. Yudai Baba added nine points and Daiki Tanaka contributed eight points and six assists with zero turnovers for the hosts.
For the Grouses (4-6), Dexter Pittman and Drew Viney scored 23 and 21 points, respectively. Sam Willard had 15 points and nine rebounds and Naoki Uto had 10 points and seven assists.
Hannaryz 85, Susanoo Magic 78
In Kyoto, Joshua Smith scored 17 points and Julian Mavunga had 16 as the hosts held off Shimane in the series opener.
Tatsuya Ito contributed 13 points and six assists and Marcus Dove provided 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Hannaryz (6-4).
Shota Watanabe put 21 points on the board for the Susanoo Magic (4-6) and Josh Scott chipped in with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Albirex BB 72, Brave Thunders 70
In Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Niigata used a 16-0 spurt spanning the second and third quarters to turn around its game en route to a bounce-back victory over Kawasaki.
The Albirex (5-6) trailed 23-13 after one quarter and 40-29 at halftime. Their big run pulled them in front 42-40 with 6:53 left in the third quarter in the series finale.
Marquette University alum Davante Gardner paced Niigata with 21 points and 15 rebounds. Gardener, who leads the league in scoring (31.7 points per game), added five assists.
Yuichi Ikeda scored 13 points for the visitors and Jared Berggren had 10 points. Point guard Kei Igarashi was 1-for-11 from the field, but doled out seven assists.
Nick Fazekas had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Brave Thunders (7-4) and Naoto Tsuji, who buried 5 of 12 3s, scored 18 points.
Five Arrows 63, Bambitious 48
Fighting Eagles 92, Dragonflies 75
Rizing Zephyr 70, Wat’s 69
Robots 93, Firebonds 84
Brave Warriors 85, Big Bulls 51
Wyverns 87, Earthfriends 75
Northern Happinets 80, 89ers 69