The Gunma Crane Thunders had a solid first half to set the tone and a strong rebounding effort in Friday’s 76-68 series-opening victory over the Earthfriends Tokyo Z.
Gunma (2-1) led 42-32 at halftime at Ota City General Gymnasium.
The Crane Thunders outrebounded their second-division rivals 42-32, with Thomas Kennedy pulling down 11 rebounds and Masashi Obuchi snaring eight.
Kennedy added 18 points and five assists. Masaya Komaki contributed 11 points and Keita Shinkawa finished with 10 points and four assists. Crane Thunders teammate Hirotaka Kondo dished out seven assists.
For Tokyo (2-1), Teppei Kashiwagura had 17 points and 10 assists. Will Creekmore and Takumi Masuko scored 15 and 14 points, respectively, while Nigel Spikes chipped in with eight points and 11 rebounds.
The hosts were held to 38.5 percent shooting from the floor.
89ers 98, Storks 70
In Sendai, the hot-shooting hosts jumped out to a sizable lead in the first half en route to a convincing victory over Nishinomiya.
Tyler Harris, an Auburn University product, sparked the 89ers (2-1) with 22 points and 16 rebounds and Masato Tsukino contributed 17 points and five assists. Daniel Miller had a 14-point night and Keita Sawabe finished with 13. Takeshi Shingo was 4 of 4 from the floor and scored 11 points along with five assists and two steals.
Sendai made 36 of 58 shots.
Noriaki Dohara led Nishinomiya with 15 points and Randy White added 14.
The Storks (0-3) trailed 48-36 entering the third quarter.