Basketball / B. League

Kawasaki capitalizes on free-throw opportunities to beat Toyama

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

When a team scores three times as many points as its opponent at the free-throw line, it’s usually a good sign for the team getting fouled repeatedly.

Exhibit A: The Kawasaki Brave Thunders converted 21 of 24 foul shots in Friday’s B. League series opener.

The result? The Brave Thunders defeated the visiting Toyama Grouses 86-79 on Friday night at Todoroki Arena.

Toyama made 7 of 13 free throws.

Nick Fazekas scored a game-high 25 points for Kawasaki (36-17), making 5 of 6 at the charity stripe and 10 of 20 from the floor. He also snared 11 rebounds. Naoto Tsuji poured in 15 points, Vernon Macklin scored 13 and Ryusei Shinoyama and Takumi Hasegawa each had 10. Shinoyama led the victors with eight assists.

An 8-0 fourth-quarter run gave the hosts their biggest lead of the game, 72-61.

Joshua Smith led the Grouses (27-26) with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Leo Lyons and Yuto Otsuka added 19 and 14 points, respectively.

Brex 87, Alvark 83

In Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, inside scoring help carry the hosts past Tokyo in a battle of two East Division heavyweights.

The Brex (43-10) outscored the visitors 44-26 in the paint in a game featuring nine lead changes and nine ties.

Jeff Gibbs paced Tochigi with 23 points on 8-for-10 shooting. He also contributed eight rebounds and six assists. Teammate Yusuke Endo poured in 21 points, while Seiji Ikaruga and Ryan Rossiter both had 11. Rossiter nearly notched a triple-double, finishing with nine boards and 11 assists along with two steals and two blocks.

For the Alvark (40-13), Alex Kirk and Milko Bjelica both scored 20 points. Joji Takeuchi had 11 points. Kirk led the club in rebounds (10), while Seiya Ando and Yudai Baba both dished out six assists.

NeoPhoenix 83, B-Corsairs 81

In Toyohashi, William McDonald’s 26-point, nine-rebound effort helped cary San-en past Central Division foe Yokohama.

McDonald made 11 of 17 shots from the field.

Teammate Cedric Simmons, a North Carolina State product, added 15 points and blocked five shots, while Shuto Tawatari canned three 3s in an 11-point performance. Hayato Kawashima chipped in with 10 points and eight assists and Atsuya Ota finished with nine points.

The NeoPhoenix (20-33) led 44-38 at halftime.

For the B-Corsairs (14-39), Arthur Stepheson led the way with 27 points and 10 boards. Ryo Tawatari, Shuto’s older brother, scored 18 points and dished out seven assists. Brandon Costner contributed 12 points and Takuya Kawamura finished with eight points and six assists.

Stepheson scored the game’s final two points on an inside bucket with 1:20 remaining.

Second-division update

In Friday’s lone B2 game, the visiting Kumamoto Volters routed the Shimane Susanoo Magic 97-60.

Yoshihiko Toshino paced the Volters with 25 points, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range. Forward Chehales Tapscott had 21 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, while Takumi Furuno dished out 10 assists, registering that exact total for the third time in the past five games.

Kumoto improved to 40-15; Shimane fell to 40-15.

GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5