The Nagoya Diamond Dolphins trailed by 20 points entering the second half of Sunday’s series finale.
For Nagoya, it wasn’t time to push the panic button.
It was time to chip away at the lead.
The Diamond Dolphins earned a 77-74 victory over the San-en NeoPhoenix to record a weekend split in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture.
How did Nagoya accomplish the feat?
The visitors outscored San-en 50-27 in the second half.
Leading the comeback was spitfire point guard Takaya Sasayama, who sank 4 of 8 3-pointers in a 21-point, six-assist outing. Teammate Jerome Tillman finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds and Shuto Ando had 12 points and five assists. Playing without sidelined frontcourt star Justin Burrell, Nagoya (15-19) also got a big performance from Seiya Funyu, who contributed 11 points and five assists.
The Diamond Dolphins comeback began with a 27-point third quarter, when they held the hosts to eight points.
Sasayama iced the win with two free throws with 8 seconds remaining.
San-en’s Hayato Kawashima missed a 3-pointer before the final buzzer.
A day after Shuto Tawatari ignited the NeoPhoenix to a 103-83 win with 30 points and 8 of 10 from 3-point range, the backcourt mainstay was held to zero points, including 0-for-3 on 3s.
Wendell White led San-en (15-19) with 24 points and 17 rebounds and Scott Morrison had 17 points and eight boards. Kawashima scored 14 points.
As a team, the NeoPhoenix struggled to make long-range shots, converting only 4 of 20 3s.
Hannaryz 87, Golden Kings 67
In Okinawa City, Kyoto set the tone for its bounce-back victory with an excellent first quarter against the hosts.
The Hannaryz took a 25-10 lead into the second quarter.
Kyoto’s Joshua Smith had 17 points and 17 rebounds and Tatsuya Ito provided 13 points and five assists. Julian Mavunga added 12 points and five assists for the Hannaryz (19-15), while Yusuke Okada and Kevin Hareyama both scored 10 points. Shun Watanuki chipped in with nine points.
Hassan Martin scored 17 points for Ryukyu (26-8) and Ryuichi Kishimoto had 13. Yutaro Suda added 11 points and Ira Brown had eight. Hilton Armstrong grabbed nine rebounds.
Sunrockers 90, Grouses 75
In Toyama, a strong start and all-around productivity by the starters and bench players carried Shibuya to its second victory in as many days over the hosts.
The Grouses trailed 27-14 after the opening quarter as the Sunrockers put their stamp on the game early.
Josh Harrellson had 21 points, 10 rebounds and three steals for Shibuya (21-13) and Leo Vendrame, who made 4 of 5 3s, added 16 points, Yuki Mitsuhara finished with 13 points and four assists, sharing the team leading in the latter category with Morihisa Yamauchi, Kenta Hirose and Takashi Ito. Robert Sacre, Yamauchi and Tomoya Hasegawa all had nine-point outings.
Naoki Uto paced Toyama (17-17) with 20 points and nine assists. Takeshi Mito and Dexter Pittman both had 12 points and Sam Willard scored 10 points.
Brave Thunders 100, Susanoo Magic 75
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, the hot-shooting tandem of Nick Fazekas and Yuma Fujii combined for 56 points as Kawasaki routed the hosts and completed a weekend sweep.
Fazekas put 33 points on the board, making 14 of 20 shots from the field, and grabbed 13 rebounds. Fujii drained 5 of 5 3-point attempts in a 23-point effort and dished out eight assists. Lou Amundson contributed 17 points and eight boards for the Brave Thunders (22-12). Hiroki Taniguchi poured in 10 points and Ryusei Shinoyama chipped in with eight points and eight assists.
Josh Scott scored 33 points and corralled seven rebounds for Shimane (7-27), which dropped its eighth game in a row. Teammate Kimitake Sato canned 5 of 7 shots from long range in a 21-point performance.
Albirex BB 79, B-Corsairs 72
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, in a game determined at the free-throw line, the hosts capitalized on ample opportunities to salvage a series split.
The Albirex sank 21 of 25 foul shots, including Davante Gardner’s 12-for-14 effort. He finished with a game-high 31 points and 10 rebounds.
Lamont Hamilton added 17 points and nine boards for Niigata (13-21), Tenyoku You poured in nine points and Kei Igarashi had seven points and eight assists, with Shunki Hatakeyama supplying six points and six assists.
Hasheem Thabeet led Yokohama with 16 points, nine rebounds and four blocks and Jeff Parmer had 15 points and nine boards. Ryo Tawatari and Ken Takeda each had eight points and Masashi Hosoya scored seven points. Tawatari and Hosoya were the team leaders in assists (six apiece).
The B-Corsairs missed 16 of 19 3-point shots.
Evessa 81, Storks 57
In Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, Xavier Gibson made a big impact in his first game for Osaka this season, scoring a team-high 18 points in a rout of the hosts.
Keith Benson added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Evessa (11-22). Shota Konno poured in 13 points and Naoya Kumagae had 11.
Osaka trailed 33-32 at halftime, then dominated in the second half.
Nishinomiya struggled to consistently make shots. The Storks (7-26) were 20 of 69 from the field. Yu Okada led the hosts with 18 points and Noriaki Dohara had 16.
The series concludes on Monday.
Alvark 90, Levanga 61
In Hakodate, Hokkaido, Tokyo avenged Saturday’s loss by thrashing the hosts.
The Alvark took a 46-28 lead into halftime and held a 69-48 advantage after three quarters.
Playmaker Daiki Tanaka energized Tokyo (27-7) with 13 points and 11 assists and Alex Kirk notched a double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds), as did Brendan Lane (16 points, 10 boards). Takeki Shonaka and Joji Takeuchi finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively, with Shonaka making 5 of 5 shots from the field. Jawad Williams provided eight points and seven rebounds.
The visitors owned the boards, holding an impressive 51-23 rebounding edge.
Marc Trasolini led the Levanga (18-16) with 17 points and Daniel Miller had 10 points and nine rebounds. Kohei Sekino scored eight points. Ryota Sakurai contributed six points and five assists, matching Yoshitake Matsushima for the team lead in the latter category. Daisuke Noguchi also had a six-point game.
Jets 80, Lakestars 69
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Chiba converted 63.2 percent of its 2-point shots and had four double-digit scorers in a rout of the hosts.
The Lakestars (11-23) extended their losing streak to nine.
Gavin Edwards sparked the Jets with 22 points, including 9 of 12 at the foul line, and 13 rebounds. The ex-UConn player also chipped in with four assists and three blocks. Leo Lyons had 16 points and nine rebounds and Michael Parker added 10 points, 12 boards, four blocks and three assists, while Fumio Nishimura supplied 15 points and four assists.
Shiga’s D’or Fischer had 19 points and nine rebounds and Venky Jois added 15 points and eight boards. Yusuke Karino, Tomonobu Hasegawa and Narito Namizato all had 10 points. Namizato also led the club in assists (seven).
SeaHorses 81, Brex 78
In Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Mikawa completed a two-game sweep in a down-to-the-wire triumph over former JBL rival Tochigi.
J.R. Sakuragi guided the SeaHorses (26-8) with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and point guard Ryoma Hashimoto buried 4 of 6 3s in a 14-point effort. Makoto Hiejima and Kosuke Kanamaru delivered 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the hosts. Daniel Orton contributed eight points, 10 boards and a pair of blocks.
For Hashimoto, Sunday’s effort nearly matched his best scoring effort of the season. He had 15 points in game No. 2 back on Sept. 30, also against the Brex.
Mikawa canned 10 of 19 3s and 17 of 20 free throws.
The Brex trailed 60-55 entering the fourth quarter.
Jeff Gibbs led Tochigi (17-17) with 20 points and 13 rebounds, frontcourt mate Ryan Rossiter had 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds and Yusuke Endo scored 14 points. Kosuke Takeuchi finished with 10 points and six boards.
Here are the results of Sunday’s B2 games:
Five Arrows 64, Volters 58
Orange Vikings 94, Bambitious 88
Brave Warriors 75, Earthfriends 60
Crane Thunders 92, 89ers 68
Northern Happinets 86, Wat’s 81
Rizing Zephyr 71, Dragonflies 67
Firebonds 84, Big Bulls 63
Fighting Eagles 78, Wyverns 68