Basketball / B. League

SeaHorses smash Grouses to remain in playoff hunt

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

After two wildly successful regular seasons, the SeaHorses Mikawa have experienced the normal ups and downs that teams endure during a long pro basketball season.

Coach Kimikazu Suzuki’s club completed a series sweep of the host Toyama Grouses on Sunday, winning 97-83.

Now the SeaHorses (27-25) have one fewer loss than they had in the combined 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns, when they earned 94 wins.

But more importantly, they kept themselves in the hunt for a B. League playoff spot by trouncing the Grouses.

Mikawa sharpshooter Kosuke Kanamaru put a game-high 31 points on the board, including 11 in the fourth quarter. He made 4 of 5 shots from the floor in the fourth, and also sank 10 of 11 free throws in the game. He’s a 91.5 percent shooter from the line this season.

Teammate Yuta Okada poured in 18 points, former University of North Carolina forward Kennedy Meeks delivered a 16-point, nine-rebound, six-assist effort and Ko Kumagai chipped in with 13 points and eight assists. J.R. Sakuragi finished with 10 points as the SeaHorses collected their third straight win.

Leo Lyons had 22 points and eight assists along with five turnovers for the Grouses (27-25). Joshua Smith added 16 points and Seiya Funyu had 15 on a perfect shooting day (5 of 5 from the field, 4-for-4 at the line). Tomokazu Abe contributed 10 points and four assists.

Alvark 79, Northern Happinets 63

In Tachikawa, Tokyo controlled the fourth quarter, defeating Akita and extending their winning streak to seven.

After the game, injured Alvark star forward Jawad Williams tweeted, “Another great win! Keep in going fellas!”

Tokyo center Alex Kirk had 20 points and eight boards in the series finale. Seiya Ando poured in 13 points, Daiki Tanaka provided 11 points and six assists and Yudai Baba and Zack Baranski both scored eight points for Tokyo (39-13). Baba also handed out five assists.

Justin Keenan paced the Northern Happinets (15-37), who have dropped seven straight, with 30 points. Kadeem Coleby had 13 points.

Brex 72, Jets 70

In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, Tochigi’s effective defense limited the hosts to 34.9 percent shooting in a bounce-back triumph.

What’s more, the Brex halted the Jets’ 11-game win streak.

Ryan Rossiter led Tochigi (42-10) with 15 points, Makoto Hiejima and Hironori Watanabe both scored 13 and Kosuke Takeuchi had 12 points and seven boards. Hiejima doled out seven assists.

Josh Duncan scored 18 points for Chiba (44-8). He was 12 of 14 at the foul line. Jets guard Yuki Togashi had 13 points and five assists, Gavin Edwards chipped in with 11 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double and Michael Parker followed with 10 points and 10 boards.

Golden Kings 86, Rizing Zephyr 70

In Fukuoka, a balanced scoring attack ignited Ryukyu in its second victory in as many days against the hosts.

Jeff Ayres was the Golden Kings’ high scorer with 18 points and corralled 12 rebounds. Takatoshi Furukawa and Ryuichi Kishimoto each had 17 points, with Kishimoto dishing out six assists. Kevin Jones scored 11 points, while Ira Brown added eight along with 10 boards.

Ryukyu (34-18) took a 37-28 lead into halftime.

The Kings were 13-for-13 at the line; the Rizing Zephyr made 5 of 15.

Marqus Blakely had 18 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for Fukuoka (11-41). Benjamin Lawson and Masashi Joho scored 16 and 11 points, respectively.

Diamond Dolphins 85, Hannaryz 68

In Kyoto, Nagoya raced out to a 49-31 lead by halftime and held on to earn a series split with the Hannaryz.

Former NBA big man Hilton Armstrong sparked the Diamond Dolphins (27-25) at both ends of the floor, supplying 16 points and 15 rebounds. Justin Burrell added 12 points and 10 boards. Shuto Ando and Takaya Sasayama both scored 15 points, making three 3-pointers apiece. Sasayama finished with nine assists.

Kyoto floor leader Julian Mavunga had mixed success in Sunday’s rematch. He scored 19 points and handed out 10 assists, but also committed eight turnovers.

David Simon had 15 points and nine rebounds and Yusuke Okada contributed 13 points for the Hannaryz (28-24).

Evessa 65, Lakestars 58

In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Trevor Mbakwe and Josh Harrellson both etched double-doubles in the record book as the Evessa avenged Saturday’s overtime defeat.

Osaka recovered from a poor start. Trailing 12-2 after one quarter — they shot 1 of 14 from the field in that span — the Evessa trimmed the lead to 21-19 entering the second half.

Mbakwe finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Harrellson had 14 and 11, while Satoshi Nagano provided 11 points and six assists for Osaka (19-33).

Henry Walker paced the Lakestars (14-38) with 25 points and Allen Durham had 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Shiga shot 31.3 percent from the field, including 5 of 26 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Albirex BB 74, NeoPhoenix 70

In Hamamatsu, Davante Gardner’s 38-point, 13-rebound performance helped Niigata (37-15) complete a weekend sweep of San-en.

Lamont Hamilton, competing for all 40 minutes, made his mark with 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Albirex (37-15). Yuichi Ikeda scored nine points and Kei Igarashi had eight points and seven assists.

Josh Childress had 23 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for the NeoPhoenix (20-32). Cedric Simmons added 10 points and 12 boards and Hayato Kawashima scored nine points.

Brave Thunders 92, B-Corsairs 78

In Yokohama, Kawasaki seized momentum in the third quarter en route to its sixth consecutive victory.

The B-Corsairs led 41-38 at halftime, and the Brave Thunders flipped the script by outscoring the hosts 30-19 in the third.

Nick Fazekas had 22 points and Shane Edwards supplied 17 for Kawasaki (35-17). Ryusei Shinoyama poured in 15 points. Naoto Tsuji dished out eight assists and Takumi Hasegawa had seven. As a team, the visitors rang up 29 assists against nine turnovers.

Arthur Stepheson scored 26 points on 13-for-18 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds for the B-Corsairs (14-38). Brandon Costner canned five 3s in a 25-point outing and Takuya Kawamura had 11 points and eight assists.

Sunrockers 89, Levanga 85

In Hakodate, Hokkaido, the Levanga’s season-long struggles continued on Sunday as they dropped a down-to-the-wire game against Shibuya.

As a result, Hokkaido (10-42) saw its losing streak stretch to 14 games.

The Sunrockers’ Ryan Kelly scored the final two points of the contest at the foul line with 6 seconds to go.

Shibuya’s Tomoya Hasegawa then recorded a steal on the final play of the game, snatching the ball away from Hokkaido’s Tsukasa Nakano.

Robert Sacre topped the scoring chart for the Sunrockers (25-27) with 27 points. Leo Vendrame, who recorded his 500th career assist in the win, added 23 points and five helpers. Kelly had 22 points, seven boards and eight assists.

Levanga big man David Doblas finished with 26 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. Asashi Tajima scored 12 points and Takehiko Orimo had 10.

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