The Ryukyu Golden Kings stepped to the free-throw line for 30 shots on Saturday night.
The Golden Kings made 25, eight more than the Akita Northern Happinets did, and that proved to be a key factor in their hard-fought series opener.
Ryukyu earned an 80-76 victory in Akita.
Jack Cooley, who attempted a game-high 12 foul shots (and made more than anybody — nine), led the Golden Kings with 21 points and 19 rebounds. De’Mon Brooks scored 19 points, Shota Onodera chipped in with 13 and Yuki Mitsuhara and Narito Namizato both had nine.
Justin Keenan was the high scorer for Akita, finishing with 25 points. Kadeem Coleby provided 12 points and Takuya Nakayama had 11 with four steals for the Northern Happinets (17-21).
Brave Thunders 85, Susanoo Magic 76
In Kawasaki, Nick Fazekas’ 33-point, 14-rebound game and Yuma Fujii’s 18 points, eight assists and five steals provided a big boost for the hosts against Shimane.
Jordan Heath added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Brave Thunders (29-9).
Brian Qvale led the Susanoo Magic (11-27) with 22 points and nine rebounds. Robert Carter scored 19 points and hauled in 15 rebounds and Takuya Soma scored 14 points.
Lakestars 77, Levanga 76
In Sapporo, Yusuke Karino drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, and Hokkaido missed two attempts to win the game in the closing seconds.
After Karino’s bucket, Markeith Cummings’ shot was off the mark. Levanga teammate Kennedy Meeks grabbed the offensive rebounded. His putback also missed.
Jeff Ayres paced the Lakestars (20-18) with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Koyo Takahashi had 13 points, Karino and Takumi Saito added 11 apiece and Takuma Sato had 10. Craig Brackins led the squad in assists (six).
Meeks had a team-high 28 points for Hokkaido (13-25) and Cummings had 18 and nine boards. Akito Uchida finished with nine points.
Grouses 75, Hannaryz 73
In Toyama, four of the Grouses’ five starters reached double figures in points and coach Don Beck’s club dominated on the boards in a narrow win over Kyoto.
Leo Lyons led the Grouses (16-22) with 19 points and had nine rebounds and five assists. Isaac Butts produced a double-double (15 points, 14 boards), Naoki Uto poured in 16 points and five assists and Satoru Maeta scored 15 points.
Toyama outrebounded the out-of-towners 45-29.
“So obviously I’m very, very pleased to get the home win against Kyoto,” Beck told reporters after the game. “They are a very good team (with) a lot of guys that can shoot the ball and score the ball, and it was a good, good win for us.”
David Simon scored 21 points for the Hannaryz (18-20), Julian Mavunga contributed 17 points and nine assists. Ryo Terashima and Takeru Oba added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Diamond Dolphins 79, NeoPhoenix 64
In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, Jamel McLean’s 22-point, 11-rebound, four-steal effort helped carry Nagoya past San-en, which dropped its 14th straight game.
Takaya Sasayama contributed 14 points and Shuto Ando and Taito Nakahigashi each had 10 for the Diamond Dolphins (16-22). Hilton Armstrong chipped in with seven points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
Devin Ebanks led the NeoPhoenix (3-35) with 19 points, followed by Tomonobu Nishikawa’s 12. Yuki Kawamura and Atsuya Ota scored nine points apiece.
Alvark 69, Albirex BB 41
In Niigata, neither team shot the ball well, but Tokyo’s perimeter defense proved to be a big factor in the series opener.
The Alvark held the hosts to 1-for-17 from 3-point range.
Niigata shot 28.6 percent from the floor. Tokyo converted 40.6 percents of its attempts.
Daiki Tanaka, who sank 5 of 7 from beyond the arc, was the lone player to score 20 or more points. He had 21 points, six assists and two steals. Kevin Jones poured in 17 points and veteran forward Joji Takeuchi swatted five shots.
The Alvark (29-9) led 39-18 at halftime.
Xavier Gibson finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds for Niigata (13-25). Lamont Hamilton, who had a 12-point night, was the team’s only other double-digit scorer.
Jets 86, Evessa 73
In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, Xavier University alum Josh Duncan sparked the hosts with 26 points and 20 rebounds, including seven offensive boards, in a series-opening victory over Osaka.
Yuki Togashi scored 15 points and dished out five assists for the Jets (27-11), who led 48-25 at halftime. Michael Parker registered a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) and rookie guard Koh Flippin added nine points, three assists and three steals in 17-plus minutes off the bench.
A 15-0 Jets run, capped by a Flippin three-point play, put the team ahead 33-11 with 8:10 left in the second quarter.
Takuya Hashimoto scored 15 points for the Evessa (24-14), Ira Brown had 12 and Shota Konno 11. Richard Hendrix scored 10 points and Josh Harrellson had 10 with 16 rebounds and six assists.
Chiba made 20 of 24 foul shots; Osaka converted 9 of 14.
B-Corsairs 101, Sunrockers 90
In Yokohama, Reginald Becton and James Southerland combined for 48 points and the hosts outplayed Shibuya in the final quarter to pick up the win.
Trailing 71-63 after three quarters, the B-Corsairs (10-28) outscored the visitors 38-19 the rest of the way.
Becton finished with 26 points on 11-for-11 shooting from the floor, 11 rebounds and six assists. He was 4 of 9 at the free-throw line.
Southerland added 22 points, Aki Chambers scored 15, Naoaki Hashimoto had 12 and Ryo Tawatari scored 10 and doled out six assists.
Sebastian Saiz had 31 points and 18 boards for the Sunrockers (25-13). Ryan Kelly scored 18 points, but was 2 of 9 from 3-point range. Kenta Hirose and Kosuke Ishii each had 10 points.
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