The Ryukyu Golden Kings jumped out to a huge early lead, then hold off the visiting Kawasaki Brave Thunders in their series opener on Friday night in Okinawa City.

Ryukyu improved to 8-1 on the season with a 68-60 triumph.

Trailing 29-6 after one quarter, Kawasaki (4-5) dominated the second stanza and pulled to within 34-25 by halftime. But the Brave Thunders never took the lead against the title-chasing hosts.

Ryukyu outrebounded Kawsaki 41-31 and held coach Takuya Kita’s team to 3-for-15 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.

Jeff Ayres finished with 11 points and nine rebounds and Josh Scott added 11 points and nine boards for the Kings. Takatoshi Furukawa and Narito Namizato had 10 and eight points, respectively.

For the Brave Thunders, former NBA big man Vernon Macklin scored 10 of his game-high 21 points in the second quarter. Macklin snared 12 rebounds to complete the double-double. Teammate Nick Fazekas poured in 15 points and Yuma Fujii added 12.

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