The Yokohama B-Corsairs faced a 58-43 deficit at halftime in Friday’s series opener against the Toyama Grouses.
They dominated the third quarter, pulling in front by three points entering the final stanza.
The fourth quarter, ultimately, came down to free throws. The Grouses sank 10 of 16; the B-Corsairs made 1 of 4.
Toyama triumphed 99-97 at Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium.
Yokohama got within 97-96 on a Takuya Kawamura 3-pointer with 23 seconds remaining.
And after Grouses veteran Tomokazu Abe sank the first of two foul shots with 12 ticks on the clock made it 98-96, the B-Corsairs again got within one on an Alexis Mintaoya free throw with 4 seconds left.
But Minatoya then missed his second attempt.
Toyama’s Joshua Smith grabbed the rebound (his 13th of the game), and Grouses teammate Seiya Funyu was fouled with 2 second to go. After missing his first shot, Funyu made the second of two attempts to account for the game’s final score.
Smith paced the Grouses (29-28) with 25 points and 13 boards. Leo Lyons had 23 points and six assists. Yuto Otsuka scored 15 points and Naoki Uto had 10 with six assists.
Arthur Stepheson led the B-Corsairs (14-43) with 23 points, 19 rebounds and five assists. Brandon Costner scored 22 points, Kawamura added 19 and Taichi Nakamura contributed 11.
Toyama finished 28-for-42 at the foul line. Yokohama drained 12 of 16.
Five B-Corsairs players shared the team lead in fouls (four).
Storks 95, Bee Trains 73
In Hachioji, Nishinomiya took a commanding 47-36 lead into halftime and maintained its big advantage in the second half to rout the hosts in the series opener.
Saint Mary’s (California) College alum Bradley Waldow paced the Storks (31-26) with 24 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. Draelon Burns, a DePaul University product, finished with 23 points and 10 assists, while Noriaki Dohara poured in 15 points.
Center Jordan Richard, who completed his college career at Cal State LA, led the Bee Trains (11-46) with 18 points and 16 boards and Hiroya Ogane poured in 16 points.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5