The Sunrockers Shibuya delivered a gut-check performance on Sunday afternoon, ending a two-game losing streak.
Shibuya, which entered the week with a 5-0 record, got back on track with a 91-71 victory over the Kawasaki Brave Thunders at Aoyama Gakuin University Memorial Hall.
Sunrockers frontcourt dynamo Ryan Kelly had 22 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kelly, who sank three 3-pointers, called it the team’s “best overall game of the season.” Frontcourt mate Charles Jackson added 22 points and nine rebounds in a high-energy performance, with fellow newcomer Kosuke Ishii (14 points, 4-for-7 on 3-point attempts)and Morihisa Yamauchi (13 points) providing potent scoring punch from the perimeter. Captain Leo Vendrame dazzled at times with his playmaking skills, dishing out six assists.
On defense, Shibuya (6-2) was disruptive and intense. Coach Tsutomu Isa’s preferred man-to-man defense morphed into a stifling zone for portions of the game. Like Jackson, the team played at a rapid pace, especially over the final three quarters. The fiery defense led to 16 Brave Thunders turnovers. Isa’s club finished with 10 steals, with Vendrame, Jackson, Ishii and Kelly all making two.
“It feels great,” Jackson, a Tennessee Tech alum, said, summing up the win.
After an 81-74 loss on Saturday, “we had to come back with as much energy as we can and get the win,” he added.
Isa characterized the victory as one in which his team showed “a good fight” while rebounding well and playing effective defense.
Trailing 22-10 after a 13-2 run by Kawasaki, the Sunrockers regrouped and closed out the first quarter with back-to-back 3s by Ishii and Kelly, cutting the deficit in half to close out the quarter.
Over the next 20 minutes, Shibuya thrashed the Central Division-leading Brave Thunders (8-2).
The Sunrockers used quick passes and utilized good spacing to outscore the visitors 28-12 in the second, with Ishii making 3 of 4 3s in the quarter to ignite the big turnaround. Then they outscored the Brave Thunders 27-18 in the third.
A Jackson slam dunk energized Shibuya at the start of the fourth to make it 73-52. Shibuya took its largest lead (89-62) on a Kelly 3 with under 3 minutes left in the fourth.
Fueled by a 43-27 rebounding edge, the hosts had a 28-10 edge in second-chance points. Jackson had a game-high five offensive boards.
Jordan Heath led Kawasaki with 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
Nick Fazekas had 14 points. Floor leader Ryusei Shinoyama fouled out in the fourth with zero points.
Grouses 72, Brex 69
In Tonami, Toyama Prefecture, the Grouses held Utsunomiya to 11 fourth-quarter points and earned a weekend split.
Leo Lyons led Toyama (4-6) with 22 points. Daniel Orton had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Satoru Maeta scored 12 points.
Ryan Rossiter paced the Brex (7-3) with 22 points and 14 boards.
Yusuke Endo scored 13 points and Makoto Hiejima had 11 and six assists.
Northern Happinets 71, Lakestars 68
In Akita, the hosts’ dominance in two key scoring categories propelled them past Shiga for the second straight day.
The Northern Happinets (5-4) outscored the visitors 18-5 on the fast break and 25-4 in points from turnovers.
Justin Keenan sparked Akita with 24 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.
Yusuke Karino had 14 points for the Lakestars (2-8).
Hannaryz 71, Albirex BB 69
In Fukuchiyama, Kyoto Prefecture, David Simon’s 25 points and 16 rebounds and Julian Mavunga’s 20 points and eight assists guided the hosts to a bounce-back victory.
Sunao Murakami chipped in with nine points and five assists for the Hannaryz (7-3).
Keita Imamura had 17 points for Niigata (2-8).
Golden Kings 98, NeoPhoenix 87
In Okinawa City, Ryukyu sharpshooter Ryuichi Kishimoto, who had two first-quarter points, heated up in the second quarter and stayed hot for the rest of the game.
Kishimoto finished with 31 points, including 7 of 12 on 3s and 10-for-10 at the foul line. Jack Cooley had 16 points and 15 boards and Narito Namizato scored 14 and handed out nine assists for the Golden Kings (6-3).
Jessie Govan scored 27 points and Devin Ebanks had 24 for the NeoPhoenix (0-10).
Jets 101, Susanoo Magic 63
In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, the hosts jumped out to a 52-18 halftime lead and completed a series sweep of Shimane.
Gavin Edwards led Chiba (5-5) with 25 points on 11-for-14 shooting and Yuki Togashi scored 20. Josh Duncan (16 points, 13 boards) and Michael Parker (11 and 12) both notched double-doubles.
For the Susanoo Magic (2-8), Robert Carter scored 25 points and Ryo Abe had 12.
Alvark 99, SeaHorses 95
In Tachikawa, Milan Macvan sank a pair of free throws with 7 seconds remaining to seal Tokyo’s win over Mikawa.
The Alvark offense was led by Daiki Tanaka (27 points), Alex Kirk (26) and Macvan (23), with Seiya Ando handing out seven assists. Tokyo recorded 24 assists against five turnovers.
Kosuke Kanamaru had a game-high 35 points for the SeaHorses (3-7), who dropped both weekend games.
Levanga 69, Evessa 60
In Osaka, Hokkaido outscored the hosts 21-8 in the opening quarter en route to salvaging a series split.
Kennedy Meeks ignited the Levanga (6-4) with 19 points, 13 rebounds and four steals.
Josh Harrellson had 19 points and 12 boards and Takuya Hashimoto scored 12 for the Evessa (5-4).
Diamond Dolphins 77, B-Corsairs 74
In Nagoya, Ishmael Lane’s 19-point, 11-rebound effort and a big second quarter carried the hosts past Yokohama.
The Diamond Dolphins (8-2) had 36 points in the second while yielding 17 as they avenged their Saturday defeat.
Reginald Becton was the high scorer for the B-Corsairs (4-5) with 15 points.