Basketball / B. League

Evessa overpower NeoPhoenix, end five-game slide

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Osaka Evessa dominated on both sides of the ball in Saturday’s series opener against the San-en NeoPhoenix, ending a five-game losing streak

The Evessa pounded the NeoPhoenix 79-54 in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture.

Osaka coach Dai Oketani’s club had five double-digit scorers: Gyno Pomare (18 points, 16 rebounds), Shinnosuke Negoro (15 points, 3-for-5 on 3-point shots) and David Wear, Naoya Kumagae and Hiroyuki Kinoshita (10 apiece).

Kinoshita and Takuya Hashimoto led Osaka with six and five assists, respectively. Pomare blocked two shots, while Greg Smith had a team-high three steals for Osaka (4-12).

Oketani wasn’t completely satisfied with the team’s performance, but acknowledged it was a step in the right direction.

“First of all, our halfcourt defense wasn’t terrible,” Oketani told The Japan Times. “But we gave up so many second-chance points (19) and easy scores from our turnovers. When we broke up our plays, we force the ball and spacing. That makes so many turnovers. So we worked out more our halfcourt offense this week than usually we practice. Maybe that’s make us more comfortable.”

The Evessa defense limited the hosts to 29.0 percent shooting in the series opener, including 15 of 46 from inside the arc.

“I believe our team is getting better but not consistent yet,” Oketani said. “So we just keep pounding the rock as a team.”

San-en (6-10) trailed 42-27 at halftime.

Former NBA swingman Cartier Martin was the NeoPhoenix’s top scorer (13 points on 5-for-19 shooting) and Scott Morrison finished with nine points and six rebounds. Lawrence “Trend” Blackledge, a former Evessa standout, had seven points and four blocks. Tatsuya Suzuki dished out five assists.

Alvark 89, Levanga 69

In Tachikawa, Tokyo canned 12 of 20 3-point attempts, including 6-for-8 by Zack Baranski in a runaway victory over Hokkaido.

The Alvark avenged Friday’s series-opening defeat and delivered an impressive performance on a day when NBA Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo was at Arena Tachikawa Tachihi for the game as part of his visit to Japan as a Special Olympics ambassador.

Big man Alex Kirk, a University of New Mexico alum, scored a team-high 25 points on 10-for-11 shooting, pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked four shots for the Alvark (13-3), while Baranski poured in 22 points. Joji Takeuchi added 13 points and four blocks and rookie Yudai Baba had seven points and seven assists, making big contributions in Daiki Tanaka’s absence from the starting lineup.

Marc Trasolini scored 25 points and corralled nine rebounds for the Levanga (9-8). Daniel Miller and Takehiko Orimo scored 12 and 11 points, respectively.

SeaHorses 66, B-Corsairs 56

In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, Mikawa rang up 25 first-quarter points and controlled the game en route to victory over Yokohama, extending its winning streak to 15 games.

The SeaHorses (15-1) held the B-Corsairs to 0-for-16 shooting from long range.

J.R. Sakuragi had 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists for the hosts, who led 42-27 entering the third quarter.

Kosuke Kanamaru scored 13 points and Daniel Orton contributed nine for Mikawa. Isaac Butts finished with eight points and nine boards and Makoto Hiejima scored seven points.

Ex-NBA center Hasheem Thabeet led Yokohama (4-12) with 20 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks and William McDonald added 11 points and seven rebounds. Jotaro Mitsuda and Ryo Tawatari both had eight points.

Sunrockers 72, Susanoo Magic 62

In Tokyo, Shibuya used an 8-0 spurt late in the game to secure its sixth consecutive victory.

Center Robert Sacre scored 17 points and Morihisa Yamauchi had 14 for the Sunrockers (10-6), who led 37-35 at halftime.

Yuki Mitsuhara contributed 11 points and Leo Vendrame added 10 and three steals. Veteran backup guard Taishiro Shimizu doled out four assists. Josh Harrellson, held to 0-for-6 shooting from 3-point range, grabbed seven rebounds and finished with five points, two assists, two steals and a block off the bench.

Garrett Stutz had 15 points, Kimitake Sato provided 14 and Josh Scott scored 11 for Shimane (4-12). Hiryu Okamoto was the top passer (five assists) for the Magic.

Golden Kings 67, Diamond Dolphins 64

In Okinawa City, veterans Hilton Armstrong and Takatoshi Furukawa combined for 10 of Ryukyu’s 15 fourth-quarter points in a down-to-the-wire win over Nagoya.

Armstrong, a former NBA center, had six of his 14 points in the final stanza while making all three of his shot attempts in that span. He grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Shota Tsuyama, who drained 4 of 6 3s, also scored 14 points and contributed four assists for the Golden Kings (11-5).

Furukawa finished with eight points. Naoki Tashiro added 10 points for Ryukyu. Hassan Martin swatted four shots for the hosts, and Takumi Ishizaki registered three assists.

Takaya Sasayama led the Diamond Dolphins (6-10) with 17 points, while Justin Burrell had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Tenketsu Harimoto added eight points. Shuto Ando made four steals.

The Kings blocked seven shots; the visitors had zero.

Jets 82, Hannaryz 60

In Muko, Kyoto Prefecture, Michael Parker’s double-double and Gavin Edwards’ 10-point, nine-rebound outing helped propel Chiba past the hosts.

Parker chipped in with 10 points, 15 boards and five assists and Ryumo Ono sank three 3s in a 15-point effort. Yuki Togashi, coming off a 42-point game on Sunday against the Alvark, had 13 points and seven assists. Aki Chambers added nine points and three steals off the bench, with backup forward Tony Gaffney providing seven points, five rebounds and five steals.

The Jets (11-5) led 61-40 after three quarters.

Kyoto shot 35.5 percent from the field.

Joshua Smith, who had 15 points, and Tatsuya Ito, who put 11 on the board, were the Hannaryz’s top scorers.

Smith and Yuya Nagoyoshi both hauled in seven rebounds for Kyoto (9-7). Nagayoshi also scored nine points.

Brex 91, Storks 79

In Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, Ryan Rossiter scored a game-best 22 points, including 10 of 13 from the field, and led all players with 10 rebounds as reigning champion Tochigi improved to 2-1 under new bench boss Ryuzo Anzai.

The Brex (6-10 overall) shot 66.7 percent from 2-point range against the Storks.

Yusuke Endo had 16 points and five assists, Cedric Bozeman scored 14 points and Kosuke Takeuchi poured in 13. Yuta Tabuse led Tochigi with six assists and shared the team lead in steals (three) with Rossiter.

Draelon Burns paced Nishinomiya (4-12) with 18 points and five assists. Teammate Connor Lammert had 15 points and nine rebounds and Naoki Tani scored 13 points. Tadahiro Yanagawa and Noriaki Dohara each had 12 points.

Grouses 91, Brave Thunders 82

In Toyama, Naoki Uto’s 22-point game and Drew Viney’s 18 points and 12 boards sparked the hosts in a win over Kawasaki.

Sam Willard chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Yu Okada had 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting. Naoaki Hashimoto finished with nine points.

The Grouses (7-9) led by as many as 15 points.

Nick Fazekas had 30 points for the Brave Thunders (10-6). Takumi Hasegawa supplied 17 points, getting 15 of them on 3-pointers. Yuma Fujii added 10 points and Naoto Tsuji handed out eight assists against one turnover.

B2 update

Saturday’s scores:

Fighting Eagles 80, Crane Thunders 75

Orange Vikings 88, Wyverns 74

Wat’s 83, Dragonflies 72

89ers 75, Samuraiz 67

Northern Happinets 81, Earthfriends 68

Volters 85, Robots 69

Firebonds 74, Brave Warriors 66

Rizing Zephyr 70, Bambitious 62

Five Arrows 67, Big Bulls 64

Noteworthy: Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka coach Ryuji Kawai’s club improved to 15-1 with its series-opening win over the Bambitious Nara. … Eric Jacobsen led Fukuoka with 15 points, making 6 of 7 shots from the field, while Faye Pape Mour notched a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds).

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