YOKOHAMA – The Ryukyu Golden Kings put points on the board in a hurry on Sunday afternoon.
Along the way, they made it look easy, too.
Five Ryukyu players scored in double figures in a 74-55 victory over the Yokohama B-Corsairs as the Okinawan visitors completed a two-game series sweep.
The victory extended the Golden Kings’ winning streak to seven games.
Takatoshi Furukawa, a playoff hero for the champion Tochigi Brex last season, came off the bench and scored 15 points in 18-plus minutes and Ira Brown had 14 and pulled down 10 rebounds before a Yokohama International Swimming Pool-record crowd of 4,272 for a B. League game.
Hassan Martin and Shota Tsuyama both had 12 points and Naoki Tashiro poured in 10 for the Golden Kings (14-5), who sit in first place in the six-team West Division under first-year bench boss Norio Sassa. Yutaro Suda scored six points and Ryuichi Kishimoto added five points and six assists.
Tsuyama dished out five assists and Brown had four for the free-flowing Ryukyu offense.
The Kings didn’t replicate their lights-out 3-point shooting from Saturday, when they sank 13 of 21 in a runaway 90-52 win. And they didn’t need to.
Balanced scoring was the name of the game for Sassa’s team in the series finale. It was methodical and impressive.
Sassa called it a “good performance” for his team, citing quality pressure defense on Yokohama veteran and standout scorer Takuya Kawamura, who was held to nine points on 3-for-11 shooting. He also said Ryukyu’s interior defense was effective, noting defensive intensity was a characteristic of his team’s play throughout the game.
The B-Corsairs trailed 27-15 after the opening quarter and 41-23 at halftime.
Yokohama never had a sustained scoring run and its offensive rhythm was out of sync for most of the game.
The B-Corsairs (4-15) shot 34.9 percent overall, including 19 of 49 from inside the arc.
Yokohama star forward Jeff Parmer is currently sidelined with a right knee injury (medial colateral ligament), On Nov. 11, the B-Corsairs announced he would be sidelined for an estimated three weeks. Parmer’s scoring ability in the paint and on the perimeter opens up the offense, which was stagnant for large stretches of the weekend series. (In addition to Sunday’s shooting struggles, the team was 0-for-11 on 3s in the series opener and shot just 16 of 44 from 2-point range in the blowout loss.)
Hasheem Thabeet led Yokohama with 18 points, 14 rebounds, two blocks and six turnovers. Masashi Hosoya and William McDonald scored 10 points apiece.
The B-Corsairs didn’t top the 50-point plateau until Hosoya sank a free throw with 1:14 left in the game.
Yokohama’s offensive struggles have frustrated the players, according to backup guard Ryo Tawatari, who had two points, four assists and three steals.
“Missing Jeff is a big part, but definitely the (offensive) execution, we are really bad at it right now,” admitted Tawatari. “We can’t pass the ball too well (the way) we are supposed to. That’s why we can’t run our offense smoothly.”
He added: “Everybody is frustrated because we can’t win, we are changing a lot of things — practice, schedule, everything. Things are not going to change right away so we have to be patient and keep working hard. It’s going to take us to where we want to go.”
Brown put the Golden Kings in front in the game’s opening minute, knocking down a spot-up jumper from the right wing.
On the next possession, Thabeet went up for a dunk attempt and was fouled by Brown. He missed the first shot, then made the second at the 9:20 mark.
The B-Corsairs never got closer the rest of the way.
A Suda 3-pointer quickly pushed the lead to 5-1. Then Hosoya sank one for the hosts. Seconds later, Tashiro drilled a 3 and it was 8-4, Ryukyu.
Thabeet, a former NBA player and a native of Tanzania, buried a jumper from the top of the key to trim it to 8-6, and the relentless Ryukyu offense was back in full force at the other end, with the speedy Kishimoto converting a layup.
Possessing a plethora of low-post moves, Brown dazzled in this game. He demonstrated his athleticism in the air and nifty footwork in the paint, including on a turn-around baseline jumper that he banked off the backboard to make it 13-6 with 6:54 left in the first quarter.
Ryukyu stretched its cushion to 18-8 — a sign of things to come — on Tashiro’s straight-away 3.
Hosoya had six first-quarter points, when Yokohama shot 41.7 percent from the field.
Brown had eight points in the opening stanza and Tashiro scored seven to match Yokohama’s total output.
Holding the offensively challenged B-Corsairs to eight second-quarter points, the Golden Kings put themselves in the driver’s seat.
And with a solid performance in the second half, Ryukyu formally wrapped up the weekend sweep.
Martin, a rookie pro out of the University of Rhode Island, was pleased with the team’s overall performance in the two games.
“We just came out and played really hard in both games,” said Martin, who leads the Kings with 14.0 points per game. “We started fast in both games and our guards were hitting a lot of shots and they really helped us get rebounds in both games.
“The main things is we just fought the whole game. We didn’t let up, even when we had a big lead. We just kept on going. That was the big key this weekend.”
The visitors stretched their lead to 43-23 early in the second half on a Tashiro layup, and the B-Corsairs never trimmed the lead to single digits over the final 20 minutes.
A 10-0 Ryuyu run capped by a Brown jumper increased the lead to 69-44 with 4:33 to play, and Martin gave the rowdy Kings supporters a moment of delight nearly a minute later with a powerful dunk. It was the icing on the cake in Ryukyu’s rout.
Kawamura drained a 3-pointer with 2 seconds before the final buzzer sounded to account for the final points of the lopsided game.
Addressing the fans after the game, Thabeet stood on the court and said, “We just couldn’t put together two games (this weekend). We’ve just got to come back together this week and work hard.”
Being recognized as the team’s MVP for the game, Thabeet called it bittersweet.
“I feel embarrassed to get a chance to speak to you right now,” he told the crowd before it left the jam-packed gym.
SeaHorses 77, Alvark 69
In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, a day after Tokyo ended the hosts’ 16-game winning streak, the SeaHorses avenged their series-opening loss.
Sharpshooter Kosuke Kanamaru, who was held to eight points on Saturday, had a game-best 26-point performance to match his season-high total (Nov. 12 against the Niigata Albirex BB) for Mikawa (17-2). Makoto Hiejima added 14 points and J.R. Sakuragi also scored 14 points, making 6 of 7 attempts from the field, and hauled in 15 rebounds with four assists and two steals. Daniel Orton contributed nine points and six boards and Isaac Butts had six points and 11 rebounds.
The SeaHorses led 33-30 at halftime. They won the battle on the boards, outrebounding the visitors 44-30 in the series finale.
Yudai Baba paced the Alvark (15-4) with 16 points and Jawad Williams had 15. Daiki Tanaka finished with 14 points and eight assists and Alex Kirk scored 12. ]
Defensively, Mikawa limited Seiya Ando’s offensive output a day after he scored 18 points. In the series finale, he was held to five points.
After committing 15 turnovers in Saturday’s 77-74 loss, the SeaHorses did a much better job taking care of the basketball in the rematch, when they had 15 assists and nine turnovers.
“They saw a different team today,” Sakuragi told The Japan Times, analyzing his team’s performance. “We were much more aggressive and focused. Today’s performance would be closer to what our playoff effort would look like. Just more intense on defense and a touch sharper on offense. . . .
Sakuragi credited his team’s backcourt players for having a big impact on the game.
“I just think our guards were much more relaxed than yesterday,” he said.
He added: “I’m not surprised by Kanamaru’s output. To me, it’s a normal game for him. Just because I know what he’s capable of on a weekly basis. When he is relaxed, comfortable and enjoy the game, he’s a very dangerous player.”
Hannaryz 77, Diamond Dolphins 75
In Nagoya, Masaharu Kataoka nailed a go-ahead outside shot with 16 seconds left to lift Kyoto over the hosts, giving the Hannaryz a series split.
Nagoya had three chances to score after Kataoka’s basket. Craig Brackins missed a 3-pointer and teammate Justin Burrell grabbed the offensive rebound. Brackins missed another 3 and Tenketsu Harimoto came up with another offensive board, then he missed a shot from inside the arc before the game ended.
Former Georgetown University big man Joshua Smith sparked Kyoto with 23 points on 10-for-13 shooting and pulled down 14 rebounds. Julian Mavunga chipped in with 22 points, Kataoka scored 13 and Tatsuya Ito added six.
The Diamond Dolphins led 59-51 after three quarters.
Kyoto (10-9) shot 61.9 percent from 2-point range, but hurt its cause at the free-throw line (13 of 22).
Takaya Sasayama had 17 points and eight assists for the Diamond Dolphins (8-11) and Jerome Tillman contributed 14 points. Burrell finished with 11 points and nine boards and Brackins had seven points, going 0-for-5 on 3s. Yoshiaki Fujinaga scored seven points, making all three of his shots from the field.
The hosts shot 34 percent from 2-point range.
NeoPhoenix 71, Brex 65
In Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture, Marquette University product Lawrence “Trend” Blackledge delivered a double-double and swatted four shots to lead San-en to a bounce-back victory over the hosts.
Blackledge had 23 points on 9-for-12 shooting and pulled down 16 rebounds. Teammate Shuto Tawatari contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds with four assists. Ex-NBA player Cartier Martin added 11 points and Junki Kano scored eight for the NeoPhoenix (8-11). Shingo Okada dished out four assists.
The visitors outrebounded Tochigi 46-40.
Shuhei Kitagawa paced the Brex (8-11) with 14 points and Ryo Yamazaki and Ryan Rossiter scored 13 and 10, respectively. Rossiter had a team-high 12 boards, while Kosuke Takeuchi finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
After the game, San-en guard Shinnosuke Oishi expressed his excitement about the result.
“Great team win!” he tweeted.
Jets 90, Albirex BB 81
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, Chiba jumped out to a 45-21 halftime lead and held on to pick up its second win in as many days against the hosts.
University of Connecticut alum Gavin Edwards ignited the Jets with 22 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and four blocks. Michael Parker chipped in with 18 points, nine boards and a team-best three steals and Ryumo Ono supplied 17 points and five assists. Fumio Nishimura had the hot hand with 16 points on 7-for-7 shooting from the floor. Kosuke Ishii added eight points for Chiba (14-5).
Five Chiba players had two or more steals.
The Albirex (8-11) made 18 turnovers and shot 16-for-24 at the free-throw line.
Davante Gardner scored 19 points and corralled eight rebounds for Niigata, while Kei Igarashi and Masashi Joho each had 13 points. Jared Berggren added 12 points and Austin Dufault had 11.
Grouses 69, Lakestars 67
In Toyama, the hosts outscored Shiga 24-11 in the decisive fourth quarter to salvage a series split.
Drew Viney had a team-high 19 points for the Grouses (8-11) and Naoki Uto added 12 points and seven assists. Dexter Pittman and Yuto Otsuka both scored 10 points and Takehi Mito had nine. Pittman also collected 10 rebounds.
Omar Samhan notched a double-double (16 points, 11 boards) and D’or Fischer provided 14 points and seven assists for Shiga (9-10). Narito Namizato had 11 points and nine assists and Tomonobu Hasegawa scored 13 points.
Here are the results of Sunday’s games:
Rizing Zephyr 76, Volters 66 (The Volters’ 10-game winning streak ended)
Dragonflies 80, Brave Warriors 73
Wyverns 87, Wat’s 79
Northern Happinets 70, Robots 68
89ers 79, Big Bulls 69
Fighting Eagles 94, Bambitious 82
Crane Thunders 86, Firebonds 69
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