Basketball / B. League

Balanced scoring helps NeoPhoenix defeat B-Corsairs

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The San-en NeoPhoenix built a cushion in the third quarter and cruised past the Yokohama B-Corsairs in Friday’s series opener, winning 80-69.

San-en outscored the hosts 21-11 in the pivotal third quarter in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

The NeoPhoenix (17-20) also sank 13 of 17 free throws; the B-Corsairs were 2 of 6 from the foul line.

Veteran center Atsuya Ota scored eight of his team-best 17 points in the fourth to help the visitors maintain control of the game. Ota was 4-for-5 from the floor in the final stanza. He nearly matched his season-high point total of 20, which came against the SeaHorses Mikawa on Jan. 23.

San-en’s William McDonald finished with 14 points and seven boards against his former club, while former NBA forward Josh Childress had 14 points, 12 boards, three assists and three steals. Hayato Kawashima chipped in with 12 points and four assists and NeoPhoenix playmaker Tatsuya Suzuki added nine points and six assists.

Takuya Kawamura paced Yokohama (9-28) with 24 points. Arthur Stepheson poured in 15 points and snared 18 rebounds and Edward Morris also had a 15-point game.

Early on, Kawamura had the hot hand for the B-Corsairs. He scored 12 of his team’s first 20 points, with a 3-pointer giving Yokohama a 20-19 lead with 2:25 to play in the first quarter.

Grouses 82, Diamond Dolphins 80 (OT)

In Nagoya, Naoki Uto nailed an outside jumper with one second left in overtime to lead Toyama past the hosts.

The Grouses snapped a five-game losing streak.

Joshua Smith registered an assist on the game-winning shot.

In a game of big momentum swings, Nagoya led 25-10 after one quarter.

Toyama (19-18) outscored the hosts 30-17 in the third to take a 57-53 lead entering the fourth, helping set the stage for a dramatic finish.

Leo Lyons sparked the Grouses with 26 points and corralled seven rebounds. Smith added 15 points and 10 boards, while Uto and Takeshi Mito scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Shuto Ando had 22 points and seven assists for the Diamond Dolphins (20-17) and Markeith Cummings matched his teammate’s scoring output. Takaya Sasayama scored 12 points and dished out five assists and Hilton Armstrong grabbed 11 rebounds.

Alvark 69, Rizing Zephyr 59

In Fukuoka, Tokyo held the hosts to 33.3 percent shooting while limiting the effectiveness of Rizing Zephyr big men Eric Jacobsen and Benjamin Lawson on offense.

Jacobsen scored 21 points on 8-for-19 shooting. Lawson, who had four points and 13 rebounds, made 2 of 13 shots from the field.

Alex Kirk led the Alvark (25-12) with 25 points and 14 rebounds. Kirk sank 9 of 12 free throws as Tokyo extended its winning streak to four. Teammate Seiya Ando scored 13 points, Genki Kojima had nine and Jawad Williams put eight on the board.

The Alvark, who shot 35 percent overall, took a 49-40 lead into the fourth quarter.

Daisuke Kobayashi had 14 points and seven boards for Fukuoka (9-28) and Shota Tsuyama contributed 13 points.

B2 update

In Friday’s lone second-division game, the Gunma Crane Thunders routed the visiting Kanazawa Samuraiz 101-47.

Gunma led 30-5 after one quarter.

Thomas Kennedy scored a game-high 35 points for the Crane Thunders, who improved to 26-10.