Basketball / B. League

Hannaryz edge Grouses in dramatic series opener

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

In an entertaining clash of unbeaten teams in Week 2, the Kyoto Hannaryz held off the Toyama Grouses by the slimmest of margins on Saturday night.

The Hannaryz defeated the Grouses 91-90 in the B. League series opener.

The final point of the game came on a Leo Lyons free throw with 3 seconds remaining. The Toyama star missed his previous attempt at Hannaryz Arena.

Therefore, Kyoto (3-0) was able to avoid playing overtime.

After Lyons pulled the Grouses within one, the Hannaryz called a timeout. Kyoto sharpshooter Keijuro Matsui turned the ball over with 1 second left. Toyama big man Joshua Smith made a steal just before the final buzzer, and didn’t attempt a desperation shot before the horn sounded.

Matsui, a Columbia University alum, ignited the hosts with 24 points, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range. He added eight rebounds and four assists in a banner performance, one that included 14 second-half points. Matsui scored eight fourth-quarter points, including two 3s in the down-to-the-wire contest.

The Hannaryz were far from a one-man show, though.

Kyoto center David Simon put a game-best 29 points on the board and had eight boards and three blocked shots. Taichi Nakamura netted 17 points with five assists and three steals for good measure. Starting power forward Yuya Nagayoshi also had a solid impact on the game, finishing with five points, six rebounds and six steals.

Toyama (2-1) led 48-38 at halftime.

The Hannaryz pulled ahead in the third quarter, outscoring the visitors 28-13 to take a five-point advantage into the final 10-minute period.

Lyons led the Grouses with 32 points and 13 rebounds. Smith had 18 points and eight boards, Satoru Maeta drained 4 of 6 3s in a 16-point effort and Naoki Uto chipped in with 14 points and five assists. Uto shared the team lead in assists with Takeshi Mito.

Brex 84, Lakestars 71

In Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture, Utsunomiya dominated the second half and collected its first victory of the season on a day when five Brex players scored in double figures.

Guard Hironori Watanabe led Utsunomiya (1-2) with 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range. Watanabe had a pair of six-point outings against the Kawasaki Brave Thunders last week. Teammates Jeff Gibbs, Yusuke Endo, Kosuke Takeuchi and Ryan Rossiter each finished with 10 points.

Gibbs also contributed 12 rebounds and five assists and Takeuchi hauled in 12 boards to complete the double-double. Makoto Hiejima made a team-high three steals.

For Utsunomiya, formerly known as the Tochigi Brex, a 10-0 run in the third quarter knotted the score at 52-52. The Brex outscored the hosts 50-33 in the second half.

Veteran big man Charles Rhodes, a Mississippi State product, had 15 points, 16 rebounds and five assists for the Lakestars (0-3). Koyo Takahashi and Takumi Saito added 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Levanga 75, Susanoo Magic 53

In Sapporo, the hosts took a 10-point lead into the second quarter and put the game out of reach in the third to complete a series sweep of Shimane.

The Levanga led 19-9 after the opening period. They extended their advantage to 54-34 after three quarters.

Kennedy Meeks supplied 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocks for Hokkaido (4-0) and Marc Trasolini contributed 13 points. Asahi Tajima and Akito Uchida both had 11 points, while Yoshitake Matsushima dished out 11 assists.

Brian Qvale had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Susanoo Magic (0-4).

Robert Carter also produced a double-double (12 points, 15 boards) and Ataru Sakata was 3-for-3 from 3-point land in a 13-point performance.

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