Basketball / B. League

Big second-half run seals Evessa victory over Diamond Dolphins

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Point guard Tatsuya Ito provide a big spark for the Osaka Evessa in a pivotal stretch of the fourth quarter on Saturday afternoon.

Ito’s dynamic play coincided with Osaka’s most dominant stretch of the game — a 13-0 run that began late in the third quarter and extended into the final stanza — against the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium.

Osaka extended its winning streak to five with an 81-61 rout of Nagoya.

The Evessa, who led 64-52 entering the fourth, received a big boost from Ito to begin the final period, when he scored nine of his 16 points.

Ito made an inside jumper and buried a 3-pointer to put Osaka (10-4) ahead 69-52 with 9:12 left in the game. Moments later, he sank an outside jumper to extend the lead to 73-52.

The aforementioned spurt gave the Evessa a 75-52 lead, their biggest advantage of the game.

Richard Hendrix, a University of Alabama alum, led Osaka with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Ira Brown, who attended Gonzaga University, contributed 19 points and Josh Harrellson and Shota Konno both had nine.

Shuto Ando scored 11 points for Nagoya (8-7), followed by Taito Nakahigashi and Hilton Armstrong with 10 apiece.

After the game, Evessa coach Kensaku Tennichi reflected on his team’s overall performance in its first 14 games of the season.

“I think we have been able to step up more than when (the season) opened, and I think it will be even better in the future,” Tennichi told reporters. “The season is just beginning, so the whole team will fight for the top.”

SeaHorses 106, Grouses 99 (OT)

In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, Davante Gardner poured in 42 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as Mikawa ended a six-game slide by beating Toyama in overtime.

The two-time defending B1 scoring champion had a busy afternoon. He made 14 of 24 shots from the field and sank 13 of 16 free throws.

SeaHorses guard Takuya Kawamura knocked down four 3s in a 25-point performance. J.R. Sakuragi had 12 points for Mikawa (4-11).

There were 19 ties in the back-and-forth duel.

Toyama (4-11) forced overtime on Leo Lyons’ 3-pointer with 2 seconds to play in the fourth, with Naoki Uto dishing out his eighth assist of the contest. That knotted the score at 90-90.

Josh Peppers paced the Grouses, who had five double-digit scorers, with 27 points and Lyons had 25 points, 12 boards and seven assists. Uto added 20 points and 11 assists.

Jets 86, Levanga 82

In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, the Jets had the highest-scoring quarter by either team in the fourth (32 points) to seal a narrow victory over Hokkaido.

Josh Duncan notched a double-double (24 points, 11 rebounds), Yuki Togashi poured in 19 points and nine assists and rookie Nick Mayo contributed 12 points for Chiba (9-6).

Kennedy Meeks led the Levanga (7-8) with 24 points and four steals. Marc Trasolini had a 23-point, 10-board outing and Ryohei Kawabe finished with 17 points, while Asahi Tajima chipped in with 10 points and eight assists. Playmaker Yoshitake Matsushima dished out nine assists.

Brave Thunders 75, B-Corsairs 63

In Yokohama, Kawasaki held the hosts to 26 first-half points and took a 13-point advantage into the fourth quarter in the Kanto rivals’ series opener.

Nick Fazekas paced the Brave Thunders (12-3) with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Jordan Heath added 16 points, nine boards and four steals. Rysuei Shinoyama and Yuma Fujii had 15 and 11 points, respectively. Fuji also doled out a team-best five assists.

B-Corsairs guard Ryo Tawatari scored 17 points, Aki Chambers netted 13 and Gyorgy Goloman supplied 10. Jason Washburn snared 11 rebounds, while Shusuke Ikuhara provided seven assists for Yokohama (5-9).

The Brave Thunders had 22 second-chance points and held the hosts to seven.

Alvark 82, NeoPhoenix 67

In Tachikawa, the two-time defending champions delivered an efficient offensive performance en route to victory against San-en.

Tokyo’s Yutaro Suda went 4-for-6 from 3-point range and had 16 points and Alex Kirk scored 15 and collected 10 rebounds. Kevin Jones and Daiki Tanaka finished with 14 points apiece, with Seiya Ando and Tanaka supplying seven and six assists, respectively.

The Alvark (10-3), who never trailed, did a stellar job taking care of the basketball: 28 assists and eight turnovers.

For the NeoPhoenix (0-15), Hayato Kawashima scored 17 points, Kyle Barone had 16 and Jessie Govan 13.

Brex 80, Albirex BB 63

In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, Ryan Rossiter energized Utsunomiya with a 19-point, 14-rebound, six-assist performance along with two steals and a block against the hosts.

Hironori Watanabe, who was 3-for-6 from 3-point range, poured in 15 points, Seiji Ikaruga had 11 and Kosuke Takeuchi scored 10 on 5-for-5 shooting for Utsunomiya (11-4).

Albirex big man Lamont Hamilton led his club with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Kei Igarashi (11 points) and Shinsuke Kashiwagi (10) also scored in double digits for Niigata (5-10).

The Brex outrebounded the Albirex 40-30.

Sunrockers 90, Hannaryz 68

In Tokyo, ex-Duke University player Ryan Kelly ignited Shibuya with 39 points, including 6-for-8 from 3-point range, in a runaway victory over Kyoto.

Kelly, a former Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks forward, tied Ryunosuke Watanabe for the team lead in steals (three) and rejected three shots. Charles Jackson added 19 points and 10 boards and Leo Vendrame dished out nine assists.

The Sunrockers (10-3) outscored the out-of-towners 29-12 in the third quarter.

Rashaan Holloway had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Hannaryz (8-7), who committed 17 turnovers and lost their fourth in a row.

Northern Happinets 98, Susanoo Magic 55

In Akita, the hosts’ defensive forced 23 Shimane turnovers in a rout, winning their fourth straight game.

Takuya Nakayama, who had nine points and five assists, spearheaded Akita’s effort to dismantle the visitors’ offense. The speedy guard had a team-high five steals. Justin Keenan led the Northern Happinets (9-5) with 18 points, Masashi Hosoya scored 17, including 5 of 8 on 3s, and Noboru Hasegawa and Ryuto Yasuoka both had 11.

Jun Abe and Robert Carter each scored 11 points for Shimane (5-10).

Golden Kings 63, Lakestars 56

In Okinawa City, home-court advantage paid off for Ryukyu in a win over Shiga.

The inspired Golden Kings (8-5) limited the Lakestars to 31.4 percent shooting from the field.

Jack Cooley (16 points, 11 rebounds) and De’Mon Brooks (15 points) were Ryukyu’s high scorers, with Narito Namizato handing out six assists. The Kings shot a woeful 9-for-20 at the free-throw line.

Craig Brackins had 14 points and Henry Walker scored 13 for Shiga (5-9).

B2 update

Former NBA forward Jawad Williams made his season debut with the Koshigaya Alphas on Saturday against the visiting Ehime Orange Vikings.

Williams, who suited up for the Alvark Tokyo the past two seasons, finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists in nearly 29 minutes in Koshigaya’s 97-84 loss.

The Alphas fell to 4-15.