Between them, the Chiba Jets Funabashi and Tochigi Brex have won a remarkable 85 of 102 regular-season games this season.
What’s more, the Jets completed an Emperor’s Cup three-peat in January, while the Brex have stayed on their rivals’ heels all season long.
The latest chapter of the East Division teams’ heated rivalry took place on Saturday afternoon at Funabashi Arena, where the Jets recorded an 95-86 victory.
It was Chiba’s third win in five regular-season games to date against Tochigi.
The Jets (44-7) led 41-30 at halftime and by as many as 21 points in the series opener en route to their 11th straight win.
Five Chiba players scored in double digits: Michael Parker (25 points, 11-for-14 shooting), Yuki Togashi (18 points, 4 of 7 on 3-pointers), Josh Duncan (16), Gavin Edwards (13) and Shigehiro Taguchi (10).
Togashi, a former NBA Development League player, also dished out seven assists. Parker collected 10 rebounds to complete the double-double and blocked three shots.
For Tochigi (41-10), Ryan Rossiter and Jeff Gibbs had 20 points apiece, while Yusuke Endo poured in 19.
Japan basketball icon Yuta Tabuse, who made his first appearance since Oct. 20 in Wednesday’s game (he had four points in about 7:30 of court time against Akita) due to a lower back injury, had 3-plus minutes of playing time in this one. But the 38-year-old veteran point guard did not record any other statistics against the Jets.
Chiba helped seal the win by scoring points on the run. The Jets’ 18 fast-break points trumped the Brex’s eight in that category.
Both teams finished with 35 rebounds and 10 free throws made, as well as five steals apiece and three blocks apiece.
Hannaryz 90, Diamond Dolphins 78
In Kyoto, macho forward Julian Mavunga notched his third triple-double in the past five games as the Hannaryz jumped out to a big lead and beat Nagoya.
Mavunga scored 24 points, pulled down 12 boards and handed out 13 assists. He also swatted six shots while playing all 40 minutes. The Miami (Ohio) University product now has a league-best seven triple-doubles this season.
For Kyoto, Yusuke Okada pumped in 15 points, Masaharu Kataoka had 13, Kevin Hareyama scored 12 and Atsuki Kishida, a 23-year-old guard, added a season-best 11, including 3 of 3 from beyond the arc, with David Simon contributing 10 points.
The Hannaryz (28-23) were ahead 25-11 entering the second quarter. Coach Honoo Hamaguchi’s club never trailed.
Justin Burrell paced the Diamond Dolphins (26-25) with 22 points and 11 boards. Craig Brackins added 19 points and Shuto Ando scored 12.
Kyoto held the visitors to 4-for-22 shooting from 3-point range.
After the game, Mavunga tweeted, “Good win today … @kyotohannaryz boosters are amazing!”
Alvark 84, Northern Happinets 69
In Tachikawa, star center Alex Kirk’s 24-point, 10-rebound outing helped guide the defending champions past struggling Akita.
Kirk made 11 of 15 shots from the floor. Frontcourt mate Milko Bjelica had 17 points, knocking down 3 of 4 3s. Alvark playmaker Daiki Tanaka chipped in with six points and six assists in the team’s sixth consecutive win. Zack Baranski and Seiya Ando scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Tokyo (38-13) made 13 steals, including Yudai Baba’s six.
The Alvark outscored the Northern Happinets 56-38 in the second half.
Dwight Coleby led Akita (15-36) with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Kadeem Coleby, Dwight’s older brother, scored 19 points and Takuya Nakayama provided 10 points, five assists and six steals.
Sunrockers 67, Levanga 58
In Hakodate, Hokkaido, Shibuya relied on its starting five to set the tone, and that proved to be enough in a win over the Levanga, who suffered their 13th straight loss.
Staring power forward Ryan Kelly sparked the Sunrockers (24-27) with 21 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals. Leo Vendrame had 15 points and five assists, while fellow starters Robert Sacre and Kenta Hirose had 13 and 11 points, respectively.
The Shibuya bench had just seven points in the series opener.
Takehiko Orimo led Hokkaido (10-41) with 17 points. David Doblas had 14 points and 11 boards and Asahi Tajima chipped in with 10 points and five assists.
SeaHorses 96, Grouses 77
In Toyama, Masaaki Morikawa led Mikawa with 21 points and Kosuke Kanamaru scored 20 as the visitors cruised past the Grouses.
Kanamaru’s outing included 8-for-11 on 2-point attempts, while Morikawa sank 5 of 7.
As a team, the SeaHorses drained 34 of 54 (63 percent) from inside the arc.
Kennedy Meeks contributed 15 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in the win. Mikawa big man Isaac Butts had 10 points and 16 boards and J.R. Sakuragi put his stamp on the game with nine points and nine assists in 21-plus minutes.
Mikawa (26-25) rang up 51 second-half points.
Leo Lyons and Joshua Smith each had 21 points for Toyama (27-24).
Albirex BB 76, NeoPhoenix 55
In Hamamatsu, Niigata, one of the league’s better road teams, received a big boost from Davante Gardner and Lamont Hamilton in a convincing win over San-en.
The dynamic frontcourt duo combined for 47 points and 19 rebounds. Gardner, who’s No. 1 in the league in scoring (27.5 points per game), had 29 points. Hamilton contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds. Kei Igarashi initiated the offense with a game-high six assists.
Niigata (35-15 overall, 19-6 in away games) outrebounded the hosts 44-35. The Albirex held their foe to 32.8 percent shooting, including 3 of 19 from deep, as well.
For the NeoPhoenix (20-30), Atsuya Ota and William McDonald both scored 13 points. Cedric Simmons added 12 points and 13 rebounds, with Hayato Kawashima finishing with eight points and five assists.
Golden Kings 70, Rizing Zephyr 59
In Fukuoka, Narito Namizato’s 17-point, eight-assist effort ignited Ryukyu in a victory over the hosts.
The veteran point guard, who’s No. 2 in the league in assists (6.8 per game), made 7 of 8 shots from the floor and directed the offense with panache.
Ryuichi Kishimoto scored 12 points and Naoki Tashiro and Takatoshi Furukawa both had 11 for the Golden Kings (32-18). Ira Brown chipped in with eight points and 12 boards.
Ryukyu outrebounded Fukuoka 42-29.
Benjamin Lawson had 18 points and nine rebounds and Eric Jacobson added 16 points and eight boards for the Rizing Zephyr (11-39).
Brave Thunders 87, B-Corsairs 77
In Yokohama, Kawasaki’s jaw-dropping assist-to-turnover ratio played a pivotal role in a triumph over the hosts.
Coach Takuya Kita’s squad registered 27 assists and turned the ball over just three times.
Ryusei Shinoyama dished out eight assists and Naoto Tsuji doled out seven for the Brave Thunders (34-17). Vernon Macklin had 24 points and nine boards and Nick Fazekas supplied 20 points and 10 boards, while Yuma Fujii poured in 13 points.
Yokohama’s Arthur Stepheson had 17 points and 23 rebounds. Takuya Kawamura scored 14 points with six assists, Brandon Costner put 12 points on the board and Alexis Minatoya added 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting off the bench. Masashi Hosoya and Ryo Tawatari each had nine points, with the latter also dishing out six assists.
The B-Corsairs (14-37) had 13 turnovers in the loss.
Lakestars 84, Evessa 81 (OT)
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Yusuke Karino made a pair of free throws with 5 seconds left in overtime as the Lakestars held off Kansai rival Osaka.
The Evessa forced overtime on Josh Harrellson’s 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in the fourth quarter. That made it 72-72.
Allen Durham was Shiga’s high scorer with 33 points, and also led the club in rebounds (13) and assists (eight). Henry Walker scored 27 points, though he connected on only 4 of 15 3s. Teammate Junki Kano scored 14 points, including 3 of 3 from long range, while Karino had 10 points for the Lakestars (14-37).
Harrellson led Osaka (18-33) with 19 points and 15 boards. Satoshi Nagano scored 15 points, Trevor Mbakwe had 14 with 12 rebounds and Hiroyuki Kinoshita contributed 13 points and seven assists. Kinoshita recorded his 500th career assist in the game, according to a B. League news release issued on the same day.
Here are the results of Saturday’s B2 games:
89ers 76, Firebonds 66
Volters 75, Bambitious 70
Fighting Eagles 84, Storks 74
Five Arrows 94, Orange Vikings 92
Brave Warriors 78, Earthfriends 66
Bee Trains 90, Samuraiz 63
Crane Thunders 107, Wat’s 73
Robots 85, Wyverns 81
Dragonflies 75, Susanoo Magic 58
B2 notes: Sendai (34-19), led by first-year bench boss Dai Oketani, collected its eighth straight win by beating Fukushima. . . . Shinshu big man Wayne Marshall, a Temple University alum, scored 32 points on 11-for-12 shooting against Tokyo, and teammate Kaito Ishikawa dished out nine assists. . . . Hachioji’s Cleanthony Early and Alexander Jones put 22 and 21 points, respectively on the board in a victory over Kanazawa. Early scored 41 points in a series-opening defeat on Friday. . . . B2 scoring leader Thomas Kennedy of Gunma had 55 points on 20-for-33 shooting, including 8 of 14 3s, in a rout of Aomori. He leads the second flight with 27.9 ppg. . . . Ibaraki’s Scootie Randall nearly produced a triple-double, finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists in a triumph over Yamagata. . . . Former University of Kansas post player Jamari Traylor sparked Hiroshima with a 23-point, nine-rebound, six-assist, seven-block performance against Shimane.