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Justin Burrell, Shuto Ando spark Diamond Dolphins in series-opening win over B-Corsairs

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Justin Burrell scored a game-high 20 points, including 10 in the pivotal fourth quarter, as the visiting Nagoya Diamond Dolphins topped the Yokohama B-Corsairs 77-71 on Friday night.

Burrell, the 2011-12 bj-league MVP while playing for the B-Corsairs and leading them to the Final Four in their inaugural season, was 3 of 3 from the floor in the final quarter and sank all four of his free throws in the period. He finished 7-for-8 from the field.

Shuto Ando poured in 14 points for the Diamond Dolphins (29-27) and Craig Brackins had an eight-point outing. Seiya Funyu and Jerome Tillman each had seven points. Funyu and Takaya Sasayama both dished out four assists.

Nagoya led 39-34 at halftime at Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium.

Hasheem Thabeet paced the B-Corsairs (17-39) with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Ryo Tawatari had 14 points and five assists and Jotaro Mitsuda scored 13 points. Alexis Minatoya and William McDonald contributed seven points apiece.

Minatoya, a shooting guard, made his first appearance since October, when he ruptured his right Achilles tendon. As a result, he hadn’t played since Yokohama’s sixth game of the season.

The visitors outrebounded the B-Corsairs 42-30.

Brave Thunders 85, Hannaryz 80

In Kawasaki, Nick Fazekas’ 26-point, 13-rebound effort helped lead the hosts past Kyoto in a showdown of playoff-bound teams.

Kawasaki’s Naoto Tsuji had 17 points and four assists in the series opener at Todoroki Arena before an announced crowd of 3,122. Yuma Fujii added 15 points, five assists and four steals and Josh Davis finished with 10 points. Lou Amundson chipped in eight points in 15-plus minutes off the bench. Takumi Hasegawa matched Fujii’s assist total.

The Brave Thunders (38-18) took a 44-43 lead into halftime.

There were 14 lead changes in the contest. Kawasaki’s largest lead was 10 points and Kyoto’s was eight.

Joshua Smith was the top scorer for the Hannaryz (34-22), finishing with 26 points on 10-for-16 shooting and also grabbing 10 rebounds. Masaharu Kataoka had 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter and rookie point guard Tatsuya Ito contributed 11 points and five assists with a game-high six turnovers.

In a tight game, the Brave Thunders’ 18-12 edge in points from turnovers proved to be one of the deciding factors.

Kawasaki made 18 of 23 foul shots, while Kyoto sank 8 of 12.