The Alvark Tokyo built a 13-point cushion by halftime in Saturday’s series opener against the visiting Ryukyu Golden Kings.
Providing a boost from the get-go, star guard Daiki Tanaka scored nine of his 17 points in the opening quarter, and Tokyo triumphed 76-66 at Arena Tachikawa Tachihi.
Backcourt mate Seiya Ando poured in 17 points and tied Tanaka for the team lead in assists (four). Alex Kirk finished one rebound shy of a double-double (11 points, nine boards), while Takeki Shonaka, who was 3-for-3 from 3-point range, and Kevin Jones both scored nine points.
The Alvark (8-3) handed out 15 assists in a smart, calculated performance while limiting their miscues (five turnovers in total).
Ryukyu faced a 45-32 deficit at halftime, then trailed 59-49 after three quarters.
Shonaka nailed a pull-up 3 with 6:45 left in the game to extend the two-time defending B. League champions’ lead to 66-53.
Jack Cooley led the Golden Kings (8-4) with 24 points and 13 rebounds. De’Mon Brooks scored 16 points, Ryuichi Kishimoto had 12 and Tomonobu Hasegawa 10.
Lakestars 89, Grouses 69
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, veteran forward Henry Walker had 18 points and 13 assists and Craig Brackins poured in 25 points off the bench as the hosts completed a series sweep of Toyama.
Brackins buried four 3-pointers, while Walker and Takumi Saito each made three.
Shiga (5-9) finished with 27 assists and seven turnovers.
Naoki Uto had 14 points and eight assists for the Grouses (4-10), who had five double-digit scorers. Daichi Kuzuhara contributed 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting and Daiji Yamada and Leo Lyons both scored 11, with Lyons dishing out 10 assists.
Brex 102, Levanga 67
In Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, coach Ryuzo Anzai’s squad connected on 13 of 21 3-point attempts in a blistering shooting performance against Hokkaido.
The visitors, who never led, faced a 33-12 deficit after one quarter.
Makoto Hiejima paced the Brex (9-4) with 15 points. Five teammates also scored in double digits, including Jeff Gibbs, Ryan Rossiter and Ryo Yamazaki (all with 12 points).
Kennedy Meeks had a team-high 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Levanga (7-6).
Evessa 78, B-Corsairs 66
In Osaka, Richard Hendrix and Josh Harrellson both had double-doubles to guide the Evessa past Yokohama.
Hendrix scored 19 points and snared 13 boards while also swatting four shots. Harrellson put 16 points on the board and grabbed 11 rebounds with three steals and a pair of blocks. Ira Brown chipped in with 18 points for Osaka (8-4). Rei Goda handed out six assists.
The B-Corsairs (5-7), who shot 35.3 percent from the field, trailed 47-32 at halftime.
Jason Washburn paced Yokohama with 18 points and Kota Akiyama added 14.
Jets 73, Diamond Dolphins 59
In Nagoya, Chiba held the hosts to under 20 points in all four quarters in a series-opening victory.
Josh Duncan (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Michael Parker (12 points, 10 boards) both notched double-doubles for the Jets (7-6), who led 22-10 after the opening quarter. Gavin Edwards chipped in with nine points and Yuki Togashi had eight with six assists.
For the Diamond Dolphins (8-5), Makoto Kinoshita had 12 points. Jotaro Mitsuda and Takaya Sasayama added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Brave Thunders 97, NeoPhoenix 80
In Kawasaki, eight Brave Thunders players provided two or more assists in a strong all-around effort against San-en.
Yuma Fuji, who scored nine points, led the passing attack with seven assists. Ryusei Shinoyama added six assists and Naoto Tsuji and Nick Fazekas both had four. Fazekas was the high scorer for Kawasaki (10-3) with 24 points to go along with eight rebounds. Jordan Heath contributed 17 points and 10 boards in the win.
Devin Ebanks led the NeoPhoenix (0-13) with 36 points, including 7-for-8 from beyond the 3-point arc. Rookie center Jessie Govan added 17 points and nine rebounds and Hayato Kawashima supplied nine assists.
Susanoo Magic 81, SeaHorses 77
In Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, Robert Carter ignited the hosts with a 34-point, 13-rebound, six-assist effort in a narrow triumph over Mikawa.
Shimane’s Brian Qvale contributed 16 points and 10 boards and point guard Yasuhiro Yamashita had 14 points on the night.
The Susanoo Magic (4-9) trailed 37-31 entering the second half.
For the SeaHorses (3-10), Davante Gardner scored 22 points, Chris Otule had 16 with 14 rebounds and Kosuke Kanamaru finished with 10 on 5-for-16 shooting.
Northern Happinets 100, Hannaryz 78
In Kyoto, Akita’s defense caused fits for the hosts, especially in the fourth quarter, en route to a runaway win.
The Northern Happinets 7-5) made 16 steals in the series opener. They forced 21 turnovers, including nine in the fourth quarter. Justin Keenan, who scored a game-high 28 points, and Takuya Nakayama each had four steals. Ryuto Yasuoka had a 19-point outing and Javier Carter ignited the offense with 17 points, making 5 of 9 3s.
Rashaan Holloway and David Simon scored 19 points apiece for Kyoto (8-5). Taichi Nakamura added 12 points and 11 assists.
Sunrockers 83, Albirex BB 72
In Tokyo, big man Sebastian Saiz’s 22-point, 13-rebound, three-block performance helped carry Shibuya past Niigata.
Charles Jackson poured in 14 points, while Yusei Sugiura and Leo Vendrame each had 11 for the Sunrockers (9-2). Vendrame also doled out six assists.
Shibuya crashed the boards effectively and held a 12-5 advantage in offensive rebounds. This contributed to a 12-4 edge in second-chance points.
Nick Perkins had a team-high 17 points for the Albirex (4-9). Lamont Hamilton scored 11 points and pulled down eight boards.
Shiga’s Yusuke Karino canned 10 of 14 3-pointers in a 32-point outburst on Friday, leading the Lakestars to an 82-73 victory over the visiting Toyama Grouses.
Karino, the Shiga captain, is averaging 11.1 points per game. His previous season-high total was 17.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5