Basketball / B. League

Brex outplay Jets as B. League resumes season after long layoff; Kawasaki-Hokkaido game canceled

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

In a clash of title-chasing rivals, the Utsunomiya Brex outplayed the Chiba Jets on Saturday afternoon as the B. League held its first games since Feb. 17 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Brex’s 88-80 triumph, which was played without spectators at Funabashi Arena, was overshadowed by the news of the cancellation of the Kawasaki Brave Thunders-Levanga Hokkaido match later in the day.

Three Hokkaido players — Marc Trasolini, Kennedy Meeks and Sean Ichioka — were diagnosed with having a fever — prompting league and team officials to cancel the contest as a precautionary measure due to coronavirus fears. The match was called off shortly before the scheduled 6:05 p.m. tipoff. Trasolini remained at the team hotel, but Meeks and Ichioka traveled to Todoroki Arena with their team, according to published reports.

The B. League posted notices on social media and its website that it will provide an update on whether the teams can proceed to play Sunday’s game in Kawasaki.

In the day’s marquee game, sharpshooter Yusuke Endo paced Utsunomiya (31-9) with 26 points, knocking down 7 of 8 from 3-point range. Ryan Rossiter had 16 points, Makoto Hiejima scored 12 and Jeff Gibbs had 10. Hiejima had team-high totals in assists (six) and steals (four).

The Brex, who made 13 of 28 3s, led 42-40 at halftime.

For Chiba (28-12), rookie Nick Mayo scored 22 points, Michael Parker had 17 and nine rebounds and Yuki Togashi put 14 points on the board. Josh Duncan added 13 points.

Evessa 105, Susanoo Magic 87

In Osaka, Sean O’Mara’s 23-point effort and Ira Brown’s double-double ignited the hosts in a rout of Shimane.

Brown, who made 8 of 10 shots from the floor, provided 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Evessa (25-15), who jumped out to a 30-9 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Osaka’s Tomoya Hasegawa drained 5 of 9 3s in a 17-point performance and Richard Hendrix contributed 14 points, 10 boards, six assists and three blocks. Takuya Hashimoto added 16 points.

The Evessa outrebounded the Susanoo Magic 37-21.

Brian Qvale had 23 points for Shimane (11-29).

Golden Kings 91, Albirex BB 72

In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, Ryukyu center Jack Cooley dominated inside in a runaway victory over the hosts.

The Notre Dame alum scored 22 points and grabbed 20 rebounds (seven off the offensive glass).

Golden Kings floor leader Narito Namizato also had a 22-point afternoon. De’Mon Brooks added 17 points and five assists and Yuki Mitsuhara finished with 12 points.

“Great win!” Cooley tweeted.

Ryukyu (26-14) led 45-30 entering the second quarter and 78-52 entering the final stanza.

Lamont Hamilton paced the Albirex (13-27) with 21 points on 9-for-11 shooting. Nick Perkins and Keita Imamura each scored 13 points.

Grouses 95, NeoPhoenix 73

In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, Leo Lyons’ game-high 25 points, including 9-for-10 from 2-point range, powered Toyama past San-en.

Lyons hauled in 11 rebounds to complete the double-double. Isaac Butts contributed 19 points and 14 boards for the Grouses (17-23), who outscored the hosts 58-31 in the second half. Naoki Uto finished with 16 points and 10 assists, while Satoru Maeda poured in 13 points, including three 3-pointers.

Takanobu Nishikawa paced the NeoPhoenix (4-36) with 18 points. Yuki Kawamura scored 12 and handed out six assists, tying Tatsuya Suzuki for the team lead. Robert Dozier had 11 points.

Northern Happinets 87, Sunrockers 83

In Tokyo, Akita’s Masashi Hosoya and Justin Keenan scored 17 points apiece in a narrow win over Shibuya.

The Northern Happinets (19-21) made 13 steals in the series opener. Takuya Nakayama led the club with five steals. He also had seven points, five rebounds and six assists. Takatoshi Furukawa contributed 15 points and five assists.

Ryan Kelly led the Sunrockers (26-14) with 23 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. Charles Jackson chipped in with 15 points and eight boards, while teammate Kosuke Ishii had 13 points.

The game was tied 42-42 entering the second half.

Hannaryz 88, Diamond Dolphins 72

In Kyoto, balanced scoring propelled the hosts past West Division rival Nagoya.

Julian Mavunga’s 19-point night guided the Hannaryz (20-20), who had four double-digit scorers. Ryo Terashima and David Simon both poured in 18 points and Taichi Nakamura added 13. Simon grabbed a team-best 11 rebounds.

Jamel McLean had 20 points and Justin Burrell added 14 and 14 rebounds for the Diamond Dolphins (16-24). Tenketsu Harimoto chipped in with nine points.

Alvark 82, Lakestars 65

In Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture, two-time reigning champion Tokyo built a 17-point lead by the end of the first quarter and hammered the short-handed hosts.

Alex Kirk led the Alvark (31-9) with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Joji Takeuchi scored 13 points and Zack Baranski and Daiki Tanaka both had 10.

Tokyo used a 13-0 run in the first and second quarters to a take a commanding 36-12 lead with 7:16 remaining in the opening half.

Avi Koki Schafer had 16 points, 14 rebounds and six assists for the Lakestars (21-19), while Takumi Saito scored 14 points.

Shiga did not use any foreign-born players.

B-Corsairs 89, SeaHorses 82

In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, Yokohama had a stronger fourth quarter than Mikawa in a back-and-forth clash that featured 15 ties and 10 lead changes.

Reginald Beckton sparked the B-Corsairs (11-29) with 26 points and 13 rebounds. Shusuke Ikuhara supplied 19 points, including 4-for-5 from long range, and dished out four assists. James Southerland added 18 points and Aki Chambers finished with nine.

Davante Gardner led the SeaHorses (17-23) with 24 points. Chris Johnson put 19 points on the board and Kosuke Kanamaru had 13.

Mikawa shot 14-for-21 at the free-throw line; Yokohama made 9 of 10.

Levanga at Brave Thunders — canceled

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