Basketball / B. League

Brave Thunders extend win streak to 16; Golden Kings halt Brex's 15-game unbeaten run

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Kawasaki Brave Thunders built a big lead in the first half on Saturday against the visiting Toyama Grouses.

In the second half, they never let the Grouses chip away at that lead.

The result? An 83-60 victory.

Kawasaki (24-3) rolled to its 16th consecutive win with a balanced offensive attack and a stellar defensive performance.

For the Brave Thunders, Jordan Heath scored 16 points and blocked four shots. Teammates Yasunori Aoki and Nick Fazekas had 12 points apiece, while Naoya Kumagae chipped in with 11 points and Takumi Hasegawa and Naoto Tsuji each had nine, with Yuma Fujii dishing out six assists.

“What I have accumulated this season is definitely my self-confidence and experience,” Aoki, a 24-year-old point guard, told reporters after a 5-for-5 shooting effort, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range.

Kawasaki drained 16 of 38 3-point attempts. Toyama, which trailed 46-31 at halftime, made 4 of 18.

Leo Lyons scored 21 points and Josh Peppers had 12 for the Grouses (10-17).

Golden Kings 84, Brex 82

In Okinawa City, one impressive run was extended and another came to an end as Ryukyu held off Utsunomiya’s spirited comeback in the final moments.

The Golden Kings (19-7) won their ninth straight by ending the Brex’s 15-game win streak.

Utsunomiya trailed 77-66 with 4:05 remaining. The Brex (22-5) cut it to 83-80 on a Ryan Rossiter 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining.

Ryukyu guard Narito Namizato missed one foul shot with 8 seconds left. Then he sank the second attempt, pushing the lead back to four.

Brex forward Jawad Williams made a bucket with 1 second left to account for the final score.

Ryukyu center Jack Cooley scored 13 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth and hauled in 12 rebounds. Namizato came off the bench and scored 15 points while dishing out five assists. De’Mon Brooks poured in 11 points, Takumi Ishizaki scored nine and Ryuichi Kishimoto had eight.

Rossiter had 28 points and 10 rebounds. Williams scored 17 points and Makoto Hiejima had 15. Jeff Gibbs led the club in assists (five).

Evessa 89, Albirex BB 61

In Osaka, Kyle Barone scored 23 points on 10-for-14 shooting and snared 16 rebounds and the Evessa held Niigata to under 20 points in all four quarters.

Takuya Hashimoto poured in 20 points, knocking down 4 of 5 from 3-point range, Ira Brown added 14 points and center Josh Harrellson chipped in with eight points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks for Osaka (17-9). Hiromu Nakamura matched Harrellson’s scoring output.

The Evessa chalked up 26 assists against five turnovers.

Nick Perkins paced the Albirex (8-19) with 25 points, while Keita Imamura had 11.

Niigata shot 35.9 percent from the field.

SeaHorses 86, Northern Happinets 78

In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, Mikawa earned its fifth consecutive victory by beating Akita in the teams’ first game of 2020.

SeaHorses small forward Masaaki Morikawa sank 4 of 5 3s en route to a season-high 20 points, Davante Gardner provided 18 points and eight assists and Ko Kumagai added 13 points. Takuya Kawamura scored nine points and J.R. Sakuragi and Cedric Simmons both had eight. Simmons also corralled 10 boards.

The SeaHorses (10-17) were 22 of 29 on free-throw attempts; the Northern Happinets made 6 of 10.

Justin Keenan led Akita (12-14) with 23 points. Kadeem Coleby scored 13 and Takatoshi Furukawa had 12.

Lakestars 65, Levanga 64

In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Koyo Takahashi nailed an inside shot with 4 seconds left to lift the hosts past Hokkaido.

The Levanga had taken a 64-63 lead with 8 seconds to play on a Kennedy Meeks jumper.

Shiga (11-16) then called a timeout.

Point guard Takumi Saito delivered an on-target pass to Takahashi for his third and final assist of the afternoon.

Jeff Ayres notched a double-double (17 points, 14 rebounds) for the Lakestars. Craig Brackins had a 13-point effort and Takahashi finished with nine points. Masaya Karimata handed out five assists.

Meeks was the high scorer (21 points) for Hokkaido (11-16) and also hauled in 13 rebounds. Markeith Cummings poured in 16 points, Tsukasa Nakano contributed nine points and Asahi Tajima had seven.

Hannaryz 91, Diamond Dolphins 61

In Nagoya, Kyoto dominated the first quarter and cruised past the struggling Diamond Dolphins.

The Hannaryz (11-16) took a 27-9 advantage into the second quarter.

Julian Mavunga energized Kyoto with 25 points, seven assists and three steals. David Simon had 21 points and 15 rebounds, while Keijuro “K.J.” Matsui and Yuya Nagayoshi scored 13 points apiece.

The visitors outrebounded Nagoya 53-26.

Taito Nakahigashi led the Diamond Dolphins (11-16) with 14 points. Justin Burrell and Makoto Kinoshita both scored 12 points for Nagoya, which has dropped seven straight.

Susanoo Magic 68, NeoPhoenix 57

In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, University of Montana alum Brian Qvale had 28 points and 13 rebounds to lead the hosts past San-en.

Robert Carter scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Nagomu Kamizato doled out five assists for the Susanoo Magic (9-18).

Shuto Terazono and Mickell Gladness had 13 points apiece for the NeoPhoenix (3-24). Robert Dozier added 10 points and Tatsuya Suzuki had eight with four assists.

Jets 73, Alvark 65

In Tokyo, Chiba made a few more big plays than its Kanto rival en route to a series-opening victory.

The Jets dominated on the glass, outrebounding the hosts 44-30 and ending the Alvark’s eight-game win streak.

Gavin Edwards had 21 points for Chiba (17-10) and eight rebounds, one shy of Michael Parker’s team-high total. Yuki Togashi scored 16 points, Koh Flippin had 12 and Nick Mayo added 10.

Alex Kirk finished with 17 points and nine boards for Tokyo (21-6). Yutaro Suda scored 13 points, Kevin Jones added 12 and Zack Baranski had eight.

Sunrockers 87, B-Corsairs 66

In Tokyo, Shibuya built a 37-20 lead by halftime, then overwhelmed the visitors in the third quarter, cruising to its third straight victory.

Ryan Kelly led the Sunrockers (18-9) with 28 points and Charles Jackson finished with 21 and a game-high 17 rebounds. Yusei Sugiura and Kaito Morizane added eight and seven points, respectively.

The 22-year-old Morizane rejected two shots.

Yokohama (7-19) trailed 73-44 entering the final stanza.

Edward Morris, James Southerland and Zen Maki all had 10 points for the B-Corsairs, who have lost nine in a row. Ryo Tawatari dished out seven assists.