The Kyoto Hannaryz overcame a slow start and a 12-point deficit entering the fourth quarter.
They rallied to force overtime and prevailed 69-64 over the host San-en NeoPhoenix on Friday night.
Julian Mavunga paced Kyoto (13-9) with 22 points, scoring 11 in the fourth quarter and seven more in OT. Mavunga grabbed 10 rebounds to complete his second double-double of the season. The dynamic power forward added four assists, two steals and a block in 33 minutes, 33 seconds of court time in the B. League series opener.
Hannaryz center Joshua Smith finished with 19 points and seven boards. Young point guard Tatsuya Ito had eight points and four assists, while Shun Watanuki chipped in with five points.
Smith scored a game-tying inside bucket with 54 seconds left in the fourth quarter. That made it 56-56, and both teams failed to score again before the quarter ended.
Kyoto shot 4 of 17 from 3-point range, but helped its cause at the free-throw line, converting 13 of 16 shots.
Robert Dozier led San-en (9-13) with 15 points. He scored all eight of the NeoPhoenix’s points in OT. Tatsuya Suzuki added nine points and teammate Scott Morrison scored eight, as did Hayato Kawashima. Atsuya Ota contributed six points and snared seven rebounds, tying Morrison and Shuto Tawatari for the team lead.
Tawatari struggled to score, making 2 of 11 shots in a four-point outing. He finished with seven boards and six assists.
The NeoPhoenx, who had 19 turnovers and 16 assists, have dropped six of their last 10 games.
The Hannaryz, who are 6-4 in their past 10 games, extended their winning streak to four.
IN THE PAINT
Ito, who turned 23 in November, has started all 21 games for the Hannaryz. He’s averaging 7.3 points, 3.0 assists and 1.4 steals. … The NeoPhoenix outrebounded the visitors 44-35. … Kyoto newcomer Lawrence “Trend” Blackledge, who suited up for the NeoPhoenix earlier this month, made his Hannaryz debut on Friday. The veteran forward played sparingly (81 seconds in all), with zero points and zero rebounds.
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