Basketball / B. League

Energized Evessa cruise past Jets

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Balanced scoring played a pivotal role in the Osaka Evessa’s series-opening victory over the Chiba Jets on Saturday afternoon.

What’s more, center Josh Harrellson secured the 84-69 win with a 13-point, 20-rebound, eight-assist, three-steal, two-block performance. For the former University of Kentucky and NBA player, it was a season-high total for rebounds.

The Evessa had seven players score eight or more points, including Takuya Hashimoto (14 points), Ira Brown and Shunki Hatakeyama (12 apiece) and Soichiro Fujitaka (11). Sean O’Mara contributed nine points and Tatsuya Ito finished with eight.

Osaka (13-6) led 41-32 at halftime.

Michael Parker paced the Jets (12-8) with 23 points, while Josh Duncan had a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds).

The West Division-leading Evessa held Chiba star Yuki Togashi to six points, including 0-for-6 from 3-point range. Togashi handed out seven assists.

Osaka finished with a 46-39 edge in rebounds.

Sunrockers 84, Lakestars 76

In Tokyo, Shibuya jumped out an 18-2 lead in the first quarter and held off Shiga’s spirited comeback in the final period.

Sebastian Saiz’s 17-point, 16-rebound effort and Ryan Kelly’s 16 points helped the Sunrockers (15-5) win the weekend opener.

Kelly struggled to knock down long-range shots. He was 1 of 9 on 3s. Teammate Leo Vendrame scored 10 points and handed out five assists.

In-the-paint scoring played a key role in the game’s outcome; Shibuya had 40 points in the painted area and limited Shiga to 22.

Takumi Saito paced the Lakestars (8-12) with 22 points and six assists. Jeff Ayres contributed 19 points and 14 rebounds.

Diamond Dolphins 77, Northern Happinets 67

In Akita, Nagoya shot 61.3 percent (19-for-31) from 2-point range and never trailed against the hosts.

Taito Nakahigashi led the Diamond Dolphins (11-9) with 17 points and hauled in eight rebounds. Toshihiro Nakatsuka added 14 points and Takaya Sasayama had 12 points and six assists. Hilton Armstrong corralled a team-best 12 rebounds.

Justin Keenan scored 17 points and Kadeem Coleby had 15 points and 15 boards for the Northern Happinets (10-9), who missed 28 of 32 3-point attempts.

Golden Kings 82, Levanga 69

In Sapporo, Ryuichi Kishimoto sparked Ryukyu with 25 points in a rout of Hokkaido.

The Golden Kings (12-7) also got 17 points from De’Mon Brooks, 15 from Naoki Tashiro and 14 from Jack Cooley, who also snared 11 rebounds. Narito Namizato contributed eight points and five assists.

Marc Trasolini, who had 17 points, was the only double-digit scorer for the Levanga (9-11).

Brex 87, Hannaryz 67

In Kyoto, four of Utsunomiya’s five starters reached double digits in points and the Brex moved the ball with impressive effectiveness against the hosts, who lost their ninth consecutive game.

Utsunomiya (16-4) registered 25 assists against 10 turnovers. Ryan Rossiter dished out seven assists and Jeff Gibbs and Hironori Watanabe both had six as the Brex extended their winning streak to nine.

Makoto Hiejima was the Brex’s high scorer with 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting. Rossiter added 15 points and nine rebounds. Gibbs and Watanabe scored 10 points apiece.

Kyoto trailed 32-8 after the first quarter.

For the Hannaryz (8-12), newcomer Jessie Govan, who was released by the San-en NeoPhoenix on Dec. 6, had 20 points and nine rebounds. Julian Mavunga scored 14 points and handed out seven assists and Keijuro Matsui chipped in with 11 points.

The Brex capitalized on Kyoto’s miscues, scoring 22 points off turnovers.

Grouses 78, Susanoo Magic 75

In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, Leo Lyons’ double-double (28 points, 10 rebounds) and five assists energized Toyama in a narrow victory over the hosts.

The veteran power forward made all five of his 3-point shots against Shimane.

Naoki Uto added 17 points and eight assists for the Grouses (7-13). Josh Peppers and Satoru Maeta scored 14 and 12 points, respectively.

Robert Carter had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Susanoo Magic (6-14), while Takuya Soma poured in 16 points. Former NBA forward DaJuan Summers, who suited up for the Detroit Pistons, New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers between 2009 and 2013, had 14 points, three rebounds and two assists in 25-plus minutes in his Shimane debut.

Alvark 78, B-Corsairs 58

In Yokohama, the two-time defending champions score the game’s first nine points and held onto the lead for the entire contest.

Alex Kirk was Tokyo’s top scorer with 17 points, Kevin Jones poured in 15, Joji Takeuchi added 11 and Daiki Tanaka had 10. Seiya Ando, Takeki Shonaka, Yutaro Suda and Tanaka all doled out four assists for the Alvark (15-5).

Jones and Takeuchi shared the team lead in rebounds (nine).

Aki Chambers led Yokohama (7-12) with 15 points, followed by Shusuke Ikuhara with 13 and James Southerland with 12.

Second-division spotlight

The Gunma Crane Thunders handed the Hiroshima Dragongflies a 93-81 defeat in a matchup of marquee B2 squads on Saturday.

Fumiya Sato led Gunma (16-9) with 24 points, Masaya Komaki scored 22 and Rosco Allen had 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

For Hiroshima (21-5), Gregory Echenique had a team-high 16 points.

The Dragonflies won the series opener 85-81 on Friday.