There were two 30-point scorers in Saturday’s series opener in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, exciting the home fans and the away supporters.
The Shiga Lakestars, however, dominated on the boards and capitalized on second-chance scoring opportunities in an 81-75 victory over the San-en NeoPhoenix.
The Lakestars (4-12) snapped a four-game losing streak on a day when Georgia Tech alum Gani Lawal had 30 points and 13 rebounds, including a game-high nine offensive boards.
Shiga’s D’or Fischer added 14 points and 14 boards and Yusuke Karino poured in 11 points. Junki Kano and Koyo Takahashi each had eight points, while University of Portland product Taishi Ito dished out a game-best six assists.
The Lakestars, who led 41-26 at halftime, outrebounded the hosts 42-27, including 14-7 on the offensive glass. This helped them put 19 second-chance points on the board and limit San-en to four.
Former NBA forward Josh Childress made his season debut for the NeoPhoenix and started. In 34-plus minutes, Childress had 30 points on 8-for-12 shooting and drained 11 of 13 free throws. He added four rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks. Teammates Robert Dozier and Atsuya Ota finished with 17 and 10 points, respectively.
Shuto Tawatari chipped in with seven points and five assists for San-en (6-10).
Jets 88, Evessa 58
In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, the hosts’ high-powered offense built a 20-point lead by halftime and cruised past Osaka.
The Jets (12-4) shot 59.1 percent from the floor, including 32 of 49 from 2-point range.
Michael Parker was Chiba’s high scorer with 20 points, followed by Josh Duncan with 13, Yuki Togashi with 12 and Shigehiro Taguchi with 11.
Gavin Edwards and Togashi each dished out five assists. Duncan had a team-high nine rebounds and Parker grabbed eight. Edwards also made four steals.
Josh Harrellson, who had a 10-point, nine-rebound performance, was the lone Evessa player to reach double digits in points. Faye Pape Mour added nine points and Hiroyuki Kinoshita supplied eight for Osaka (6-10).
Brave Thunders 85, Levanga 69
In Obihiro, Hokkaido, Shane Edwards led all scorers with 21 points and Kawasaki teammate Nick Fazekas made a big impact with 17 points, 16 rebounds and five assists in a series-opening win.
Vernon Macklin chipped in with 15 points, Yuma Fujii scored 10 and Naoto Tsuji nine. Ryusei Shinoyama was the team leader in assists (six) as the Brave Thunders (10-6) moved the ball effectively, chalking up 23 assists against nine turnovers and taking a 44-25 lead into the second half.
Marc Trasolini finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Levanga (4-12). David Doblas had 14 points, 10 boards and six turnovers, while Ryota Sakurai scored 10 points. Asahi Tajima handed out eight assists.
Hokkaido missed 17 of 21 3-point attempts.
SeaHorses 76, Diamond Dolphins 65
In Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, balanced scoring carried Mikawa past Nagoya as coach Kimikazu Suzuki’s club completed a series sweep.
Grant Jerrett led the SeaHorses with 24 points and 14 rebounds and Kosuke Kanamaru had 19 points. James Southerland added 19 points and seven boards along with five assists and two steals and J.R. Sakuragi contributed 10 points for Mikawa (9-8), which opened the season with five straight losses.
Justin Burrell paced the Diamond Dolphins (12-5) with 19 points and 11 rebounds and Shuto Ando scored 10 points.
Nagoya was held to 38.1 percent shooting from the floor in a back-and-forth game that had 16 lead changes.
Hannaryz 65, Sunrockers 64
In Tokyo, Kyoto’s David Simon put the finishing touches on his game-high 26 points by scoring the final basket with 2 seconds left, a turnaround jumper over Shibuya’s Robert Sacre.
After a timeout, the Sunrockers’ Ryan Kelly missed a shot just before the final buzzer sounded.
Kevin Hareyama added 12 points for Kyoto (10-6), with Tatsuya Ito contributing eight points and eight assists, including the dish to Simon for the game-winning shot. Shaquille Morris and Simon both corralled 10 rebounds.
Kelly led Shibuya (5-11) with 22 points and 16 boards. Sacre had 11 of his 21 points in the fourth and pulled down 12 rebounds. Leo Vendrame contributed 11 points and Kenta Hirose had seven.
Brex 96, Grouses 70
In Toyama, Tochigi delivered an impressive offensive performance in a runaway win over the hosts.
Five Brex players reached double figures in points: Ryan Rossiter (17), Jeff Gibbs (15), Yusuke Endo (13), Kosuke Hashimoto (11) and Ryo Yamazaki (10).
Gibbs snared 18 rebounds and dished out seven assists, with Rossiter adding six assists.
Tochigi (14-2) led 49-30 at halftime and 76-52 after three quarters
Leo Lyons scored 25 points for the Grouses (9-7) and Daichi Kuzuhara had 13 points.
Alvark 57, Golden Kings 54
In Okinawa City, Tokyo edged Ryukyu in a defensive battle that went down to the wire.
The Alvark (11-5) shot 36.8 percent and held the hosts to 32.2 from the field.
Alex Kirk was Tokyo’s high scorer with 18 points, and Jawad Williams, who made a rare start, had nine points and nine boards. Seiya Ando and Yudai Baba finished with eight points apiece.
For the Kings (11-5), Josh Scott scored 16 points and Jeff Ayres had 12.
Albirex BB 65, Northern Happinets 58
In Noshiro, Akita Prefecture, 3-point shooting carried Niigata past the hosts in a low-scoring contest.
The Albirex (12-4) buried 9 of 23 3s, and they held Akita to 2 of 13.
Yuki Ueta had 16 points, including four 3s, and Davante Gardner scored 15 for Niigata. Lamont Hamilton notched a double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds) and Kei Igarashi scored 10 points. Kenta Morii provided 10 assists.
Kadeem Coleby had 19 points and 15 boards for the Happinets (4-12) and Justin Keenan scored 14 points.
Rizing Zephyr 78, B-Corsairs 71
In Yokohama, Dexter Pittman and Masashi Joho combined for 54 points to spark Fukuoka in a victory over the hosts.
Pittman had 36 points on 16-for-22 shooting. He had a shot at reaching 40 points, but made 4 of 9 free throws.
In his 18-point outing, Joho sank three 3s and also doled out four assists.
Benjamin Lawson added eight points and nine boards and Satoshi Ishitani had five assists for the Rizing Zephyr (3-13), who outscored the B-Corsairs 40-26 in the paint. Pittman set the tone as the top inside scorer.
In the fourth quarter, Fukuoka sealed the victory with a 10-0 run to pull ahead 76-68 with 28 seconds remaining.
Takuya Kawamura scored 16 points for Yokohama (3-13). Guard Taishi Nakamura, who saw one game apiece with the SeaHorses Mikawa in 2016-17 and one more with the Toyama Grouses last season, had 14 points. Nakamura was scoreless in his previous four games this season. Javon McCrea had 12 points and Ryo Tawatari scored nine, while Amanze Egekeze led the club with nine rebounds.
Here are the results of Saturday’s second-division games:
Orange Vikings 90, Samuraiz 86
Dragonflies 89, 89ers 86
Robots 95, Bee Trains 50
Wyverns 92, Earthfriends 86
Storks 70, Susanoo Magic 54
Five Arrows 74, Wat’s 68
Brave Warriors 92, Firebonds 87
Bambitious 85, Crane Thunders 65
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5