Basketball / B. League

Albirex control overtime period to secure victory over Sunrockers

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Nick Perkins and Lamont Hamilton provided a potent one-two punch to carry the Niigata Albirex BB to a gritty 97-92 overtime victory over the Sunrockers Shibuya on Sunday afternoon.

Perkins, a rookie forward from the University at Buffalo, scored seven of his game-high 34 points in OT. Chiseled veteran Hamilton, a St. John’s University product, added six OT points and finished with 29, a game-high 16 rebounds and five assists. The duo had 13 of the team’s 17 points in the 5-minute bonus period, and combined for five dunks in the game.

Floor leader Kei Igarashi contributed 16 points and handed out eight assists as Niigata (5-9) ended the Sunrockers’ four-game win streak.

Niigata had an 8-0 run to start the overtime period. Perkins drained a pair of jumpers and a free throw after the second one to make it 85-80. Igarashi extended the lead to eight on a foul shot at the 3:09 mark.

Hard-charging Shibuya (9-3) cut it to 95-92 on a Vendrame 3 with 3 seconds left in OT. Hamilton was then immediately fouled to stop the clock, and he made both shots to account for the final score.

“Staying aggressive and just going with what works for us (was key),” said Perkins, who mentioned that Shibuya big man Ryan Kelly fouled out in the fourth.

He added: “I think we had a size advantage inside and kind of just took advantage of that on the inside and tried to get it inside to me and Lamont, and I think it worked.”

Sunrockers coach Tsutomu Isa commended his players for their hustle and determination, citing defense as a key to the comeback. “I felt we had the ability to make a comeback again. . . . I will not forget about today’s game,” he said.

The Sunrockers never led in OT.

Albirex coach Kazuhiro Shoji said his team displayed mental toughness in the series finale. He also credited his players for their solid rebounding and effective offense.

Vendrame had a quiet first three quarters (three total points), but heated up in the fourth with 11 points to ignite the hosts’ comeback attempt. Vendrame lamented the loss, noting his team missed several layups. But he said the game could be an “overall lesson” for his squad.

In the third, Jun Uzawa gave the Albirex their largest lead (59-44) on a 3-pointer at the 1:50 mark.

But with 1 second left in the quarter, the Sunrockers’ Ryunosuke Watanabe buried a 3 to make it 61-52, setting the stage for a dramatic fourth quarter.

The Sunrockers trailed 80-78 after Hamilton made 1 of 2 free throws with 15 seconds to play. Vendrame’s layup was off the mark, but Yusei Sugiura grabbed the offensive board and scored on a putback to tie it 80-80 with 3 ticks on the clock, forcing OT.

Sebastian Saiz led Shibuya with a team-best 27, followed by Vendrame’s 17 and reserve center Faye Samba’s 16.

Evessa 88, B-Corsairs 78

In Osaka, the hosts closed out the game with a dominant performance in the fourth and completed a weekend sweep of Yokohama.

After trailing 27-14 in the first quarter, the Evessa (9-4) found their rhythm at both ends of the floor. They outscored the visitors 53-34 in the second half, including 28-16 in the fourth.

Guided by Josh Harrellson and Rei Goda (18 points apiece), Osaka had five double-digit scorers. Harrellson also finished with 18 rebounds, six assists and three blocks.

Gyorgy Goloman led the B-Corsairs (5-8) with 17 points and 11 boards.

Brex 84, Levanga 70

In Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, a 13-point deficit did not cause the hosts to panic. Instead, they regrouped and powered past Hokkaido again.

Ryan Rossiter produced a 23-point, 10-rebound, seven-assist effort for the Brex (10-4), who held the Levanga to 25 second-half points.

Kennedy Meeks led Hokkaido (7-7) with 25 points and 12 boards.

Jets 83, Diamond Dolphins 74

In Nagoya, Chiba’s extra effort on the offensive glass paid off in its second win in as many days over the Diamond Dolphins.

The Jets outscored the hosts 24-8 in second-chance opportunities.

Josh Duncan paced Chiba (8-6) with 21 points and 13 rebounds and Gavin Edwards grabbed 11 boards.

Takaya Sasayama, who had 15 points, was the top scorer for Nagoya (8-6).

Brave Thunders 81, NeoPhoenix 79

In Kawasaki, struggling San-en pulled within one down the stretch, but couldn’t get over the hump in another defeat to the Brave Thunders.

Kyle Barone paced the NeoPhoenix (0-14) with 22 points and 14 boards.

Nick Fazekas sparked the Brave Thunders (11-3) with 26 points, including going 5-for-6 from beyond the arc. Kawasaki sank 14 of 27 3s.

Alvark 83, Golden Kings 71

In Tachikawa, the two-time defending champions outscored the visitors 31-14 in the third and completed a series sweep.

The Alvark (9-3) were 20-for-20 at the foul line. Milan Macvan had a team-best 23 points, followed by Daiki Tanaka’s 17 and Seiya Ando’s 16.

Jack Cooley led the Kings (8-5) with 30 points and 16 boards.

Northern Happinets 98, Hannaryz 58

In Kyoto, the Northern Happinets (8-5) forced 29 turnovers and collected 20 steals in their second win in as many days.

Akita’s Masashi Hosoya canned 5 of 5 3s in a 19-point outing.

Kyoto (8-6) finished the weekend with 50 turnovers.

Susanoo Magic 81, SeaHorses 76

In Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, Hiromu Kitagawa had a season-best 16 points and six assists to help the hosts defeat Mikawa for the second straight day.

Brian Qvale finished with 24 points and Robert Carter provided 21 and 11 rebounds for the Magic (5-9).

Kosuke Kanamaru and Davante Gardner each scored 16 points for the SeaHorses (3-11).

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