The Chiba Jets led by the slimmest of margins at halftime on Sunday afternoon.
The Jets then found a higher offensive gear to operate in. They transformed a 35-34 halftime lead into a sizable advantage entering the final stanza, outscoring the Alvark Tokyo 23-8 in the decisive third quarter.
But two-time defending champion Tokyo’s improved scoring in the fourth quarter was too little, too late in a 72-64 loss to Chiba at Komazawa Olympic Park Gymnasium.
The Jets (18-10 overall, 7-3 in away games) held the hosts to 2-for-15 shooting in the third. Only Alvark veterans Joji Takeuchi and Alex Kirk made a basket in the 10-minute quarter.
The series finale was similar to Saturday’s encounter, a 73-65 Jets victory.
After the game, Chiba coach Atsushi Ono admitted that he had a good feeling about his team’s focus before the rematch.
“The expressions of the players were concentrated before the game, and I think that I was able to tell that we would play with patience as much as we could with our opponent for 40 minutes today,” Ono told reporters. “We just have to keep doing this.”
Tokyo coach Luka Pavicevic said: “(The Jets) showed up with a very strong desire to win and it paid off. They are going away with two important wins.
“For the moments that we could control the offensive rebounds and transition of Chiba, we were competitive for the win,” he added.
Without injured playmaker Daiki Tanaka (left hamstring), Tokyo lacked a big offensive spark against fierce rival Chiba.
Tokyo missed 15 of 17 3-point attempts and shot 35.4 percent overall. Kirk paced the Alvark (21-7) with 27 points and 14 rebounds. Seiya Ando scored 13 points and handed out seven assists and Milan Macvan added 12 points.
Jets forward Josh Duncan scored eight of his team-best 18 points in the third quarter. Gavin Edwards added 16 points and two blocks, energizer Yuki Togashi had 13 points and six assists, while persistently challenging the Alvark’s pick-and-roll defense, and rookie Koh Flippin scored 10.
The Jets seized control with a 13-0 third-quarter run, pulling head 49-38 on a Shigehiro Taguchi jumper at the 4:02 mark. A Flippin 3-pointer, courtesy of a Togashi assist, put the visitors ahead 58-42 with 32 seconds left in the quarter.
The Alvark pulled within 63-59 late in the fourth, but the Jets responded with a 9-0 spurt to seal the win.
Grouses 88, Brave Thunders 56
In Kawasaki, Toyama raced out to a 31-13 lead by the end of the opening period and earned a bounce-back victory, ending the Brave Thunders’ 16-game unbeaten run.
Leo Lyons scored 27 points with 12 rebounds, six assists and three steals, while Grouses teammate Josh Peppers had 21 points, seven assists and four steals. Satoru Maeta poured in 15 points for Toyama (11-17).
The Grouses were 16-for-16 at the foul line.
Jordan Heath scored 13 points and Nick Fazekas had 12 for Kawasaki (24-4), which was playing its second game without captain/point guard Ryusei Shinoyama, who dislocated his left elbow on Dec. 29 against the Shiga Lakestars.
Brex 83, Golden Kings 69
In Okinawa City, Utsunomiya avenged its Saturday defeat and halted Ryukyu’s nine-game winning streak.
The Brex (23-5) led 49-27 at halftime.
Veteran forward Jeff Gibbs led Utsunomiya with 22 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Jawad Williams’ 16-point effort. Ryo Yamazaki and Shuhei Kitagawa contributed 10 points apiece. Ryan Rossiter and Makoto Hiejima both dished out five assists.
For the Golden Kings (19-8), Jack Cooley netted 27 points, including 13 of 14 from the free-throw line, and snared 17 rebounds.
Hannaryz 75, Diamond Dolphins 68
In Kyoto, Julian Mavunga flirted with a triple-double and David Simon and newcomer Ryo Terashima provided 13 points apiece as the hosts won their fourth straight.
Mavunga finished with 21 points, 10 boards and eight assists, while Simon collected 13 rebounds.
The Hannaryz (12-16) outscored the visitors 49-30 in the second half.
Justin Burrell paced Nagoya (11-17) with 13 points and 15 rebounds.
SeaHorses 89, Northern Happinets 81
In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, Mikawa’s resurgence continued with another victory over Akita.
The SeaHorses (11-17) received a big boost from point guard Ko Kumagai, who had a season-best 12 assists. Davante Gardner and Kosuke Kanamaru scored 28 and 26 points, respectively,
Mikawa, which won its sixth straight, canned 27 of 30 foul shots.
Ryuto Yasuoka had 25 points for the Happinets (12-15).
Susanoo Magic 78, NeoPhoenix 56
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, led by frontcourt standouts Brian Qvale (20 points, 13 rebounds) and Robert Carter (19 points), the hosts completed a weekend sweep of San-en.
The Susanoo Magic (10-18) held the visitors to a combined 15 points in the second and third quarters.
For the NeoPhoenix (3-25), Viacheslav Kravtsov scored 15 points.
Sunrockers 91, B-Corsairs 69
In Tokyo, Shibuya hammered Yokohama, handing the B-Corsairs their 10th straight loss.
Ryan Kelly scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Sebastian Saiz chipped in with 21 points, 15 boards and three blocks. Morihisa Yamauchi dished out eight assists for the Sunrockers (19-9).
William McDonald had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Yokohama (7-20).
Lakestars 88, Levanga 80
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, macho forward Jeff Ayres’ physical strength and all-around effort helped carry the Lakestars past Hokkaido for the second day in a row.
Ayres scored 14 points and pulled down 20 rebounds for Shiga (12-16). Henry Walker finished with 19 points and five assists, with Takumi Saito also pouring in 19 points.
Markeith Cummings paced the Levanga (11-17) with 26 points and Tsukasa Nakano scored 18.
Evessa 78, Albirex BB 56
In Osaka, frontcourt mates Josh Harrellson and Richard Hendrix were tone-setters for the Evessa in their second weekend win over Niigata.
Harrellson led the way with 23 points, 18 rebounds and six assists, while Hendrix put 16 points on the board. Tatsuya Ito scored 10 points for Osaka (18-9).
Nick Perkins had 32 points on 13-for-17 shooting for the Albirex (8-20).