Alvark exhibit poise in down-to-the-wire triumph over Hannaryz

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

November has been an unpredictable month for the defending champion Alvark Tokyo.

Entering Saturday’s series finale against the visiting Kyoto Hannaryz, the Alvark’s up-and-month had done this way: loss, loss, win, loss, win, win, loss, loss.

So what happened next?

Tokyo coach Luka Pavicevic’s team earned an 85-82 bounce back victory over Kyoto in Tachikawa.

On Friday, the Hannaryz recorded an 87-85 win.

This time, Alvark center Alex Kirk (21 points on 8-for-11 shooting, 14 rebounds), Yudai Baba (18 points) and Daiki Tanaka (16 points, nine assists) all had a big impact on the final outcome. Tokyo teammates Joji Takeuchi (nine points, 10 boards), Milko Bjelica (nine points) and Genki Kojima (seven assists) also left their imprint on the game.

Tokyo (12-7) outscored the visitors 48-32 in the paint.

The Hannaryz (11-8) trailed 48-39 and mounted a comeback attempt in the second half.

Julian Mavunga led Kyoto with 41 points and eight assists. He sank five 3-pointers and 12 of 13 foul shots. David Simon had a 17-point game and Yusuke Okada chipped in with 14 points.

Perhaps the biggest statistic of the game: Kirk blocked two shots in the fourth quarter.

Golden Kings 75, B-Corsairs 58

In Yokohama, Narito Namizato directed the Ryukyu offense with flair and precision, dishing out 14 assists as the Golden Kings routed the hosts and wrapped up a series sweep .

Josh Scott scored 20 points, Jeff Ayres had 13 and Ira Brown 10 for Ryukyu (14-5).

Javon McCrea had 21 points and 14 rebounds for Yokohama (4-15). He also committed seven turnovers. Masashi Hosoya and Ryo Tawatari each scored 13 points.

B-Corsairs coach Tom Wisman commended his foe after the game, calling Ryukyu “a superior team.” But Wisman added that he will challenge his players to compete against the league’s stronger teams, working to “fight equally,” he commented.

Brex 79, Brave Thunders 75

In Kawasaki, Yusuke Endo scored a team-high 22 points and standout forward Ryan Rossiter notched a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds as Tochigi edged the hosts.

The Brex (17-2) picked up their eighth straight victory.

Tochigi’s Jeff Gibbs had 15 points, nine boards and seven assists for the visitors, while Kosuke Takeuchi, who came off the bench, snared 10 rebounds in 21 minutes.

In the third quarter, the Brex used a 13-0 spurt to pull ahead 64-57.

Vernon Macklin was Kawasaki’s top scorer with 22 points. He also led the club with nine rebounds. Nick Fazekas had 16 points and Yuma Fujii provided 15 points, nine rebounds and four steals for the Brave Thunders (11-8).

Evessa 90, Levanga 76

In Osaka, five Evessa players scored in double figures, including Xavier Gibson and Josh Harrellson with 13 points apiece, as the hosts routed struggling Hokkaido.

Harrellson grabbed 15 rebounds for Osaka (7-11), which led 43-22 at halftime. Teammate Faye Pape Mour had 12 points and Shunki Hatakeyama finished with 11 and six assists.

Marc Trasolini scored 28 points and David Doblas had 16 for the Levanga (4-14), who have dropped six consecutive games. Asahi Tajima distributed seven assists.

Grouses 98, Diamond Dolphins 89

In Toyama, Leo Lyons’ 21-point, 14-rebound effort sparked the hosts against Nagoya as coach Don Beck’s squad salvaged a series split.

Naoki Uto and Joshua Smith each had 19 points for the Grouses (10-9), while Yuto Otsuka scored 14.

In essence, the game was determined at the free-throw line. Toyama made 24 of 30 foul shots; Nagoya drained 4 of 9.

Justin Burrell had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Diamond Dolphins (13-6) and Shuto Ando poured in 19 points, burying five 3s. Takaya Sasayama finished with 15 points. Markeith Cummings, who had 42 points in the series opener, scored 11 points.

Jets 95, NeoPhoenix 74

In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, University of Connecticut alum Gavin Edwards’ 30-point afternoon ignited Chiba, which won its fifth straight game.

Josh Duncan had 24 points and eight rebounds and Michael Parker contributed 13 points for the Jets (15-4), while Yuki Togashi added nine points.

Parker led all players with four steals and two blocks.

Josh Childress paced San-en (7-12) with 23 points and 13 rebounds. William McDonald and Shota Tawatari contributed 15 and 12 points, respectively, while Tatsuya Suzuki dished out seven assists.

Northern Happinets 81, SeaHorses 61

In Akita, the hosts outscored Mikawa 25-8 in the pivotal third quarter and completed a series sweep.

Justin Keenan was the Happinets’ high scorer, putting 29 points on the board and Ryuto Yasuoka drained 6 of 12 3s in an electrifying 23-point outing. Takuya Nakayama handed out six assists and made four steals for Akita (7-12).

Yasuoka, a 23-year-old shooting guard, entered the game with seven 3-pointers made in the season’s first 18 games.

James Southerland paced the SeaHorses (9-10) with 15 points, newcomer Kennedy Meeks scored 13 and Shusuke Ikuhara had 10.

Meeks, a 208-cm power forward who played on the University of North Carolina’s 2017 NCAA title-winning squad (he pulled down 10 rebounds against Gonzaga in the final), added eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and a pair of blocks.

Last season, Meeks appeared in 45 games for the 905 Raptors (Toronto’s NBA G League affiliate) and averaged 12.8 points and 9.6 rebounds.

Sunrockers 81, Lakestars 78

In Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly provided a dynamic one-two punch for Shibuya in a narrow victory over the Lakestars.

The Sunrockers (8-11), winners of three in a row, got 29 points and nine boards from Sacre and 20 points and 14 rebounds from Kelly. Leo Vendrame supplied seven points and seven assists, while Morihisa Yamauchi registered eight assists without a turnover.

Gani Lawal had 21 points and 14 rebounds for Shiga (4-15). Koyo Takahashi scored 15 points and Kohei Ninomiya and D’or Fischer both had 13. Fischer pulled down a game-high 20 rebounds.

Albirex BB 73, Rizing Zephyr 69

In Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, Niigata star Davante Gardner made 11 of 14 shots in a 25-point performance to lead the visitors to a bounce-back win.

Gardner’s all-around effort in 40 minutes of court time included 12 rebounds and six assists.

Shinsuke Kashiwagi scored 16 points and Kei Igarashi had 11 points and 10 assists for the Albirex (13-6).

Eric Jacobsen scored 26 points for Fukuoka (4-15). Benjamin Lawson and Masashi Joho had 14 and 13 points, respectively. Yasuhiro Yamashita, who was held scoreless, delivered a double-double of 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

B2 update

Saturday’s second-division scores:

Volters 84, Samuraiz 82

Firebonds 86, Bee Trains 75

Fighting Eagles 92, Dragonflies 67

Robots 97, Storks 81

Wyverns 79, Five Arrows 69

89ers 90, Orange Vikings 80

Susanoo Magic 88, Wat’s 65

Crane Thunders 88, Earthfriends 75

Bambitious 83, Brave Warriors 72