Basketball / B. League

Grouses maintain composure in pivotal fourth quarter, defeat Sunrockers

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Toyama Grouses can’t play every game at home.

There’s, of course, the simple matter of their schedule, which won’t let that happen.

But coach Don Beck’s club has often been at its best at home this season, including during an 81-76 victory over the Sunrockers Shibuya on Saturday night.

It was the Grouses’ first game of 2019. They’ve now played 16 home games this season, winning 11 times.

In the fourth quarter of their latest home contest, backup point guard Tomokazu Abe had the hot hand, scoring 11 of his 16 points. He was 4-for-4 from the field in the fourth, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range. Teammate Naoki Uto dished out three assists in the fourth.

In the last quarter, Toyama shot 50 percent; Shibuya converted 38.1 percent of its shots.

Leo Lyons led the Grouses (17-13 overall) with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Yuto Otsuka poured in 16 points and Joshua Smith had 10. Uto finished with seven assists.

Ryan Kelly had 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Sunrockers (13-17). Robert Sacre scored 12 points and Kenta Hirose had 10, as did Leo Vendrame, who also handed out seven assists.

NeoPhoenix 79, Rizing Zephyr 67

In Fukuoka, Hayato Kawashima drained four 3s in a 20-point, four-steal performance and Tatsuya Suzuki dished out eight assists as San-en prevailed over the hosts.

The visitors secured the win with a 16-0 spurt that put them ahead 63-53 on a Kawashima 3-pointer with 7:31 remaining in the game.

Josh Childress had 18 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and a pair of steals for the NeoPhoenix (11-19), who held the Rizing Zephyr to 30 second-half points. William McDonald finished with 13 points and 18 boards and Atsuya Ota provided 12 points.

Eric Jacobsen paced Fukuoka (8-22) with 25 points and 12 rebounds, Benjamin Lawson had 13 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks and Daisuke Kobayashi scored 11 points. Yasuhiro Yamashita added eight assists.

Golden Kings 71, Evessa 48

In Okinawa City, Jeff Ayres’ double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds) helped guide the hosts past Osaka.

The Evessa (13-16) trailed 19-8 after the first quarter and never pulled ahead.

Narito Namizato had 11 points and seven assists for the Golden Kings (22-8) and newcomer Amanze Egekeze, a rookie who had suited up for the Yokohama B-Corsairs in October and November before being released, also scored 11 points in his Ryukyu debut.

The hosts chalked up 17 assists against four turnovers.

Rei Goda led Osaka with 14 points.

Brave Thunders 84, Northern Happinets 62

In Kawasaki, Nick Fazekas’ sparkling 30-point output ignited the hosts in a rout of Akita.

The former NBA big man made 10 of 13 shots from the floor and sank 7 of 9 foul shots. He corralled eight rebounds. Shane Edwards added 12 points and Vernon Macklin and Yuma Fujii both had 10, with Edwards dishing out a team-best six assists for the Brave Thunders (18-12).

Justin Keenan led the Happinets (11-19) with 24 points and Kadeem Coleby had 12.

The visitors shot 24-for-67 (35.8 percent) from the field.

Diamond Dolphins 106, B-Corsairs 99 (OT)

In Yokohama, Markeith Cummings scored 40 points and snared 10 rebounds and Craig Brackins had 18 points in Nagoya’s overtime triumph over the B-Corsairs.

Shuto Ando scored 12 points and Takaya Sasayama contributed 11 for the Diamond Dolphins (17-13). Taito Nakahigashi nearly notched a double-double, finishing with nine points and eight boards.

For Yokohama (7-23), Brandon Costner, a North Carolina State product, had 39 points and Takuya Kawamura added 22 and eight assists. Ryo Tawatari scored 16 points and Prince Ibeh contributed 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

Cummings tied the game on a free throw with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter. That made it 97-97. He missed his second foul shot.

Albirex BB 82, Hannaryz 61

In Kyoto, Niigata pounded the ball inside and dominated in the paint in a convincing win over the hosts.

The Albirex outscored the Hannaryz 48-20 in the paint, getting a big boost from Davante Gardner, who had 24 points, and Lamont Hamilton, who finished with 17.

Shinsuke Kashiwagi added 11 points and Jun Uzawa had 10 for Central Division-leading Niigata (20-10).

With Hamilton (11 rebounds) and Gardner (10) working effectively in the low post, the visitors collected 42 total rebounds and held Kyoto to 30. This included a 14-6 edge on the offensive glass.

The Albirex outscored the hosts 50-27 in the second half.

David Simon paced the Hannaryz (15-15) with 30 points and 13 boards. Teammate Julian Mavunga contributed 13 points and eight assists, while Tatsuya Ito had eight points and doled out five assists.

Jets 88, Lakestars 70

In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, five Chiba players reached double figures in points in a series-opening victory over the hosts.

Gavin Edwards led the Jets with 18 points, Michael Parker scored 17, Yuki Togashi had 15, Ryumo Ono poured in 14 and Kosuke Ishii 11.

Chiba (25-5) won its seventh straight game.

Parker grabbed 11 rebounds to complete the double-double and added three blocks and two steals.

Togashi and Ishii finished with six and five assists, respectively.

For Shiga (6-24), Marquis Blakely was the high scorer with 16 points on 6-for-25 shooting. Koyo Takahashi had 14 points and D’or Fischer put 11 points on the board and hauled in 13 rebounds.

Alvark 79, Brex 62

In Tokyo, the reigning champions raced out to a 29-9 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back in a victory over rival Tochigi.

Alex Kirk sparked the Alvark (20-10) with 18 points and 13 rebounds, game-high totals in both categories. Daiki Tanaka and Jawad Williams had 11 and 10 points, respectively, and Yudai Baba and Seiya Ando each had nine.

Ando registered five assists for Tokyo, which led 49-22 at halftime.

Yusuke Endo led the Brex (24-6) with 17 points, 12 of which he scored on 3s. Ryan Rossiter chipped in with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Kosuke Takeuchi and Andrew Naymick both had 10 points.

SeaHorses 69, Levanga 59

In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, Takanobu Nishikawa, who eclipsed his season-best scoring performance set on Friday, poured in 20 points to lead Mikawa to a series sweep of Hokkaido.

Nishikawa had 18 points in the series opener. A day later, he canned four 3s in another banner performance.

Kennedy Meeks contributed 16 points, 16 rebounds and five assists for the SeaHorses (16-15), Isaac Butts added 10 points and 11 boards and Shusuke Ikuhara had eight points and four assists.

Byron Mullens paced Hokkaido (8-23) with 18 points and David Doblas had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Yoshitake Matsushima dished out six assists.

Second-division update

Here are the results of Saturday’s B2 games:

89ers 71, Earthfriends 42

Brave Warriors 87, Bee Trains 85

Wat’s 82, Wyverns 71

Crane Thunders 100, Firebonds 81

Robots 88, Volters 78

Samuraiz 92, Orange Vikings 83

Fighting Eagles 88, Bambitious 59

Dragonflies 98, Five Arrows 89

Susanoo Magic 88, Storks 81

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