Takaya Sasayama’s fast hands and quick feet produced big results on Saturday afternoon.
The Nagoya Diamond Dolphins star led all players with six steals — no one else had more than two — and made an impact in other facets of the game, too.
Nagoya cruised past the Osaka Evessa 86-70, with Sasayama scoring 21 points, canning 3 of 4 3-pointers along the way, and handing out five assists in 24 action-packed minutes.
Craig Brackins, a former Iowa State star, had 14 points and Taito Nakahigashi scored 11 for the Diamond Dolphins (23-22). Tenketsu Harimoto and Seiya Funyu added nine and eight points, respectively. Justin Burrell had a team-high seven rebounds.
Nagoya, led by first-year bench boss Shingo Kajiyama, improved to 7-3 in its past 10 games. The team is 15-7 at home this season.
Keith Benson led the Evessa (15-30) with 18 points. Shinnosuke Negoro had 13 points, draining all three of his 3-point shots. David Wear added 11 points and Xavier Gibson contributed eight points and nine rebounds. Rei Goda doled out seven assists.
Albirex BB 74, Sunrockers 69
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, league scoring leader Davante Gardner’s 28-point, 16-rebound performance guided the hosts to a series-opening win over Shibuya.
The Sunrockers, who have dropped nine straight, missed 24 of 25 3-point attempts. Nine Shibuya players attempted at least one 3 and failed to score from beyond the arc. The lone exception? Leo Vendrame, who was 1 of 6, and scored 13 points.
Lamont Hamilton had 15 points and two blocks for the Albirex (21-24). Jun Uzawa poured in 10 points and Shunki Hatakeyama added seven. Kei Igarashi dished out five assists.
For Shibuya (22-23), Robert Sacre had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Josh Harrellson scored 12 points and collected 16 rebounds.
Jets 100, NeoPhoenix 86
In Funabashi, Gavin Edwards scored 29 points on 13-for-16 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds and Yuki Togashi added 20 points as the high-scoring Jets defeated San-en.
Togashi nailed 4 of 6 from 3-point range.
Michael Parker contributed 16 points, eight boards and three steals for Chiba (33-12). Teammate Kosuke Ishii had nine points and Ryumo Ono finished with seven points and eight assists.
The Jets racked up 24 assists against six turnovers.
Scott Morrison paced the NeoPhoenix (22-23) with 23 points and Robert Dozier scored 16 and pulled down seven rebounds. Atsuya Ota contributed 14 points and seven boards, Shuto Tawatari scored 13 points and Hayato Kawashima had 11. Tatsuya Suzuki handed out six assists.
Dozier had a game-high six turnovers.
Hannaryz 83, Susanoo Magic 68
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, Joshua Smith delivered a double-double performance and Yuya Nagayoshi poured in 18 points as Kyoto sailed past the hosts, who have lost 19 in a row.
Smith put 23 points on the board (10-for-12 shooting) and corralled 12 rebounds. Tatsuya Ito chipped in with 13 points, Kevin Hareyama had 10 and Masaharu Kataoka eight for the Hannaryz (28-17), who have won three straight. Julian Mavunga supplied seven assists.
Al Thornton had 22 points for the Susanoo Magic (7-38). Takuya Soma finished with 17 points and Gyno Pomare had 16 with nine rebounds.
Shimane trailed 66-46 after three quarters.
Alvark 84, Levanga 80
In Tachikawa, both teams produced five double-digit scorers, but only the hosts built a comfortable lead and sustained it throughout the game.
Hokkaido (22-23) never led.
The Alvark took a 43-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Alex Kirk had 15 points and eight rebounds for Tokyo (34-11). Seiya Ando and Joji Takeuchi each scored 14 points for the East Division leader, with Daiki Tanaka and Brendan Lane supplying 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Zack Baranski matched Kirk’s team-high rebound total.
The Alvark outscored the visitors 42-32 in the paint and 10-2 on fast-break points.
Daniel Miller led the Levanga with 16 points, Daisuke Noguchi scored 15, Dijon Thompson added 13 with eight rebounds, Takehiko Orimo had 12 and Kohei Sekino 10. Asahi Tajima was the offensive conductor with seven assists.
SeaHorses 92, B-Corsairs 70
In Yokohama, J.R. Sakuragi’s season-high 31-point outing ignited the Mikawa offense in a runaway win over the hosts.
Kosuke Kanamaru contributed 24 points and Courtney Sims had 12 for the SeaHorses (37-8 ), winners of 13 consecutive contests. Isaac Butts nearly notched a double-double (nine points, 14 rebounds) and Makoto Hiejima, who didn’t score, provided nine assists and three steals.
For the B-Corsairs (11-34), Ryo Tawatari scored 13 points, Williams McDonald had 11 and Masashi Hosoya 10.
Yokohama’s losing streak now stands at nine.
Lakestars 75, Storks 68
In Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, the hosts used a 19-0 run in the first half to seize control and held on to beat Nishinomiya.
Yusuke Karino had a team-best 19 points and D’or Fischer filled the stat sheet with 14 points, 18 rebounds, six assists, three steals and three blocks for the Lakestars (14-31). Venky Jois scored 10 points and pulled down nine boards and Narito Namizato, who had seven points, registered 11 assists.
Herbert Hill was the top scorer for the Storks (7-38), finishing with 16 points along with 10 rebounds. Noriaki Dohara had 10 points.
Nishinomiya, last season’s second-division champ, has dropped 15 straight games.
Grouses 69, Golden Kings 62
In Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture, Toyama capitalized on Ryukyu’s miscues en route to a victory.
The Grouses (19-26) scored 20 points off turnovers. The Golden Kings turned the ball over 13 times.
Toyama star Naoki Uto scored a game-high 21 points and made four steals. He finished with five assists.
Yuto Otsuka poured in 18 points for the visitors and Dexter Pittman and Clint Chapman both had nine.
Ryukyu led 36-26 at halftime.
The Grouses pulled ahead 61-59 with an 8-0 spurt in the fourth quarter.
The Golden Kings (34-11) shot a woeful 16-for-31 at the free-throw line.
Hassan Martin had 19 points and 11 boards for Ryukyu. Takatoshi Furukawa scored 10 points and Kohei Ninomiya and Ira Brown both had seven. Ryuichi Kishimoto contributed five assists.
Brex 82, Brave Thunders 77
In Otawara, Tochigi Prefecture, the defending champions dominated in the second quarter and held off Kawasaki’s spirited comeback in the final stanza to win the series opener.
Tochigi (25-20) halted the Brave Thunders’ eight-game winning streak.
Ryan Rossiter sparked the Brex with 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Jeff Gibbs finished with 14 points and seven boards. Yuta Tabuse added 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting with four assists and two steals and Kosuke Takeuchi had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Kawasaki (31-14) trailed 47-25 at halftime.
Nick Fazekas led the visitors with 21 points and 18 rebounds and Josh Davis scored 19 points, going 9-for-9 from the field. Naoto Tsuji added 12 points.
Here are the results of Saturday’s B2 games:
Fighting Eagles 87, 89ers 78
Wyverns 63, Brave Warriors 62
Volters 96, Rizing Zephyr 89
Orange Vikings 95, Bambitious 74
Firebonds 83, Samuraiz 65
Wat’s 111, Big Bulls 87
Northern Happinets 74, Crane Thunders 58
Dragonflies 90, Five Arrows 66