The Kanazawa Samuraiz made a pair of clutch baskets in the final minute, rallying to beat the visiting Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka by the slimmest of margins, 71-70, on Friday night.
Tsubasa Yonamine scored his only two points on a layup with 1 minute remaining. The Samuraiz still trailed 70-69 at that point.
And the Rizing didn’t score again in the final regular-season series for the second-division rivals.
Kanazawa big man Andrew Fitzgerald, a University of Oklahoma product, made an inside shot to put his team ahead for good with 29 seconds to play.
Wayne Marshall led the Samuraiz with 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Fitzgerald finished with 15 points and 10 boards, Masato Tsukino added 14 points and nine assists, Yusuke Inoue scored 12 points and Takaaki Kida had seven.
Kanazawa (27-32) registered 24 assists against eight turnovers.
Eric Jacobsen paced the Rizing (47-12) with 17 points, Faye Pape Mour contributed 15 points and 14 rebounds, Yuuki Kitamuki had 13 points and Josh Peppers added 10.
Fukuoka also did a solid job taking care of the basketball, finishing with 20 assists and eight turnovers.
The Samuraiz shot 49.2 percent overall, including 60 percent (27-for-45) from inside the 3-point arc. The Rizing shot 41.4 percent on the night.
Orange Vikings 102, 89ers 91
In Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, Nyika Williams’ 28-point, eight-rebound effort and Chehales Tapscott’s 22 points helped carry the hosts past Sendai.
Tapscott added seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in 27-plus productive minutes.
Yoshihiko Toshino and his older brother Tatsuhiko Toshino scored 17 points apiece for the Orange Vikings (32-27), who led 51-46 at halftime.
Ehime went to the foul line for 33 shots (20 makes); Sendai was 5-for-10 on free throws.
Tatsuhiko Toshino helped effectively direct the Orange Vikings offense, dishing out a game-high nine assists.
Marcus Cousin led Sendai (21-38) with 19 points and Texas Christian alum Craig Williams Jr. had 18 with 11 rebounds. Shuto Mizoguchi added 14 points and Taito Ishikawa and Angelo Chol both had 10. Ishikawa and retiring floor leader Takehiko Shimura handed out eight assists apiece.
Brex 84, Diamond Dolphins 80
In Nagoya, Tochigi overcame a 13-point deficit entering the fourth quarter and outplayed the hosts the rest of the way for a series-opening victory.
The Brex used an 11-0 run to pull within 70-66 with 6:32 remaining.
Star forward Ryan Rossiter sparked Tochigi (34-25) at both ends of the floor in the final stanza, scoring nine of his team-high 17 points in the fourth. Rossiter had five steals in the final quarter and finished with six overall.
Tochigi’s offense came alive in the fourth, when the defending champions made 11 of 16 shots from the floor.
The Brex, who trailed 68-55 after three quarters, outscored the hosts 23-3 on points from turnovers.
Nagoya (30-29) turned the ball over 22 times.
Tochigi’s Cedric Bozeman had 15 points and three steals and Kosuke Takeuchi poured in 12 points with six rebounds, three steals and a block. Yusuke Endo added 11 points and Seiji Ikaruga finished with 10. Hironori Watanabe handed out four assists.
For the Diamond Dolphins, Justin Burrell had 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Tenketsu Harimoto scored 16 points, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range, and Taito Nakahighashi added 15 points and five assists. Jerome Tillman contributed nine points.
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