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Golden Kings whip SeaHorses in clash of title-chasing titans

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Takatoshi Furukawa scored 11 of his team-high 18 points in the second half and four teammates also reached double figures in points as the Ryukyu Golden Kings outplayed the host SeaHorses Mikawa, winning 82-70 on Saturday afternoon.

In a potential preview of this year’s B. League Championship final, the West Division-leading Golden Kings (41-13), who led 38-36 at halftime, outscored the hosts 28-19 in the third quarter in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture.

Rookie forward Hassan Martin added 17 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks for Ryukyu. Ryuichi Kishimoto and Naoki Tashiro poured in 15 points apiece, with Kishimoto, who sank 4 of 8 3s, dishing out six assists.

Furukawa buried 4 of 6 3s, and Ryukyu made 12 of 28 overall.

Veteran backup center Hilton Armstrong, a former NBA player, had a productive fourth quarter for the Kings. Coming off the bench, Armstrong contributed four points, four rebounds, two blocks and two steals in the fourth. He finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

The Kings held a 16-7 edge in fast-break points in a game that featured eight lead changes and five ties.

Kosuke Kanamaru led the Central Division-leading SeaHorses (44-10) with 22 points and J.R. Sakuragi had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Makoto Hiejima finished with 11 points and five assists and Isaac Butts had eight points and 12 boards.

Mikawa’s 3-point shooting, which is usually a strength, was a nonfactor. The hosts made 2 of 10 long-range shots.

Evessa 86, Levanga 83

In Asahikawa, Hokkaido Prefecture, former Florida State Seminole Xavier Gibson’s 30-point, eight-rebound, seven-assist performance helped carry Osaka past the hosts.

Takuya Hashimoto added 16 points for the Evessa (21-33), Keith Benson had 10 and nine rebounds and Naoya Kumagae finished with nine points. Hiroyuki Kinoshita registered five assists.

The Levanga (25-29) shot a mediocre 15-for-24 at the free-throw line.

Dijon Thompson led Hokkaido with 26 points and seven rebounds. He also had five assists and four steals. Daniel Miller scored 14 points and Asahi Tajima chipped in with 11 and six assists, while Takehiko Orimo had an eight-point outing.

B-Corsairs 87, Hannaryz 80

In Kyoto, Hasheem Thabeet and frontcourt mate William McDonald scored a combined 41 points as Yokohama triumphed over the hosts.

Thabeet, a native of Tanzania and former NBA lottery pick, had 23 points, pulled down eight rebounds and swatted two shots.

McDonald added 18 points on 8-for-9 shooting and grabbed nine boards. Jeff Parmer finished with 15 points and Takuya Kawamura had 12 and doled out nine assists for the B-Corsairs (16-37).

Julian Mavunga led the Hannaryz (33-20) with 22 points and Joshua Smith had 15 with 15 rebounds. Yusuke Okada scored 14 points, as did Tatsuya Ito, who dished out six assists.

Kyoto had 19 assists and 19 turnovers in the loss.

Diamond Dolphins 76, Grouses 74

In Nagoya, Toyama’s Naoki Uto missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer before the final buzzer as the hosts escaped with a narrow victory.

Justin Burrell paced the Diamond Dolphins with 22 points and 11 rebounds and handed out four assists. Tenketsu Harimoto was the team’s only other double-digit scorer (11 points), while Takaya Sasayama chipped in with nine. Shuto Ando had eight points and Craig Brackins, Seiya Funyu and Yoshiaki Fujinaga scored six apiece, with Fujinaga doling out five assists for Nagoya (27-27).

Burrell made the first of two free throws with 2 seconds left. After Burrell’s miss, Yuki Ueta grabbed the defensive rebounds and passed the ball to Uto for the aforementioned final shot.

Uto and Dexter Pittman both scored 18 points for the Grouses (22-32) and Clint Chapman contributed 15 points and 13 boards. Uto was the team leader in assists (seven).

Alvark 81, NeoPhoenix 58

In Tachikawa, Tokyo outscored San-en 24-7 in the third quarter to seal a one-sided victory.

Joji Takeuchi had 13 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks for the Alvark (39-15) and Brendan Lane, Seiya Ando and Zack Baranski all scored 10 points. Lane pulled down a team-high eight boards. Genki Kojima handed out nine assists and Ando dished out six.

Tokyo put 44 in-the-paint points on the board and held the out-of-towners to 22.

Shuto Tawatari had 14 points and five assists and Wendell White, who went 0-for-9 on 3-point attempts, added 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Scott Morrison and Junki Kano scored nine and eight points, respectively, for the NeoPhoenix (23-31).

Jets 84, Sunrockers 63

In Tokyo, Chiba held the hosts to 23 second-half points and ran away with a series-opening victory.

Yuki Togashi poured in 33 points, including 7 of 10 from beyond the arc, for the Jets (41-13) and dished out five assists and Leo Lyons scored 17 points and snared seven boards. Michael Parker contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Kosuke Ishii provided seven points off the bench.

The Sunrockers took a 40-35 lead into the second half.

Robert Sacre was Shibuya’s high scorer with 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Leo Vendrame finished with 17 points and Josh Harrellson added nine points and 11 boards for the Sunrockers (25-29), who shot 33.8 percent (25 of 74) from the floor.

Lakestars 90, Storks 77

In Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, playmaker Narito Namizato set a B. League single-game record with 16 assists as Shiga cruised past Nishinomiya.

Namizato scored 12 points to complete the double-double for the Lakestars (19-34).

D’or Fischer had 24 points, nine boards and three blocks and Venky Jois added 22 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks. They shot a combined 20-for-29 from the field, helping the visitors make 62.5 percent of their shots from 2-point range. Yusuke Karino knocked down a trio of 3s for his nine points.

Cameron Ridley led the Storks (9-44) with 22 points. Noriaki Dohara had 17 and Herbert Hill supplied 15 with nine rebounds, while Naoki Tani scored 14 points.

Albirex BB 77, Susanoo Magic 64

In Yonago, Tottori Prefecture, the struggling Susanoo Magic’s point total decreased in each of the four quarters in a series-opening loss to Niigata.

Shimane trailed 28-24 after the first stanza, then had 17, 14 and nine points, respectively, over the final three quarters.

Marquette University alum Davante Gardner, who’s scoring at a 29.0 point-per-game clip (No. 1 in the 18-team top division), had 21 points for the Albirex (23-30). Lamont Hamilton (13 points), Shunki Hatakeyama (11) and Kei Igarashi (10) also reached double digits in points, while Masashi Joho added nine.

Igarashi handed out six assists.

Al Thornton scored 20 points and Gyno Pomare had 18 and nine rebounds for Shimane (8-45). Kimitake Sato contributed 13 points and Takuya Soma, who missed all 11 of his shots, added seven assists.

Brex 75, Brave Thunders 64

In Kawasaki, Jeff Gibbs’ inspirational 17-point, 10-rebound, six-steal, five-assist effort carried Tochigi to a bounce-back win over the hosts.

Gibbs topped the 5,000-career point milestone in Japan. He joined the Alvark in the 2010-11 JBL season and has played continuously here since then.

Brex veteran forward Kosuke Takeuchi followed with 12 points, Shuhei Kitagawa contributed 11, knocking down 3 of 4 3s, and Hironori Watanabe added nine points. Yuta Tabuse scored eight points and Ryan Rossiter, who was held to three points on 1-for-10 shooting, hauled in 12 rebounds.

The game was knotted at 33-33 at halftime.

The Brex (30-24) used a 9-0 run in the third quarter to pull ahead 54-44 at the 2:14 mark.

Tochigi outscored the hosts in four key areas: points from turnovers (26-14), points in the paint (36-26), second-chance points (19-10) and fast-break points (14-0).

Nick Fazekas had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Brave Thunders (37-17) and Naoto Tsuji scored 16 with four assists.

Second-division update

Here are the results of Saturday’s B2 games:

Wat’s 80, Orange Vikings 77

Wyverns 85, Dragonflies 76

Fighting Eagles 86, Crane Thunders 62

Robots 76, Big Bulls 54

Northern Happinets 92, 89ers 82

Bambitious 78 Five Arrows 75

Rizing Zephyr 82, Volters 72

Firebonds 87, Earthfriends 74

Samuraiz 74, Brave Warriors 57