Ryan Rossiter nailed a 3-pointer with less than 2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter on Saturday afternoon as the Tochigi Brex edged the Kawasaki Brave Thunders 86-85.
Kawasaki called a timeout after Rossiter’s clutch shot to draw up a final play. Brave Thunders star Nick Fazekas missed a 3-pointer before the final buzzer.
Rossiter had struggled from 2-point range, making 2 of 10 shots in the series opener in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. But he sank 2 of 3 from beyond the arc, including Tochigi’s final shot of the game. Rossiter scored 10 points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
“Every win is an important win right now,” Rossiter told The Japan Times. “Kawasaki is a great team and they will be ready to go tomorrow. We’re happy we won but still have a lot to improve on in a short amount of time.
“I didn’t play well today but tried to stay in the game mentally and be ready when my team needed me.”
Looking back on the game-winning play, Rossiter pointed out that “the play was for CB (Cedric Bozeman), but Kawasaki covered him well and I had to take the shot.”
He added: “Fortunately it went in.”
The victory marked the first game in charge for Ryuzo Anzai, an assistant coach from 2013-17 who replaced Brex bench boss Kenji Hasegawa this week. The 57-year-old Hasegawa, in his first season at the helm, reportedly retired due to bad physical condition, the team announced on Friday.
Anzai turned 37 on Friday, when he was appointed head coach.
The defending champion Brex (5-9) trailed 45-37 at halftime against the team it faced in the inaugural B. League Championship final in the spring.
Former Phoenix Suns guard Yuta Tabuse scored 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting to lead Tochigi, which made exactly 50 percent of its field goals (37 of 74). Cedric Bozeman added 13 points and six assists and Kosuke Takeuchi and Yusuke Endo scored 11 points apiece.
Fazekas led the Brave Thunders (9-5) with 24 points and hauled in six rebounds. Josh Davis finished with 16 points and seven boards and Yuma Fujii and Naoto Tsuji each had 11 points. Tsuji swatted two shots.
Ryusei Shinoyama handed out five assists for Kawasaki, which shot 50.8 percent from the field.
Jets 95, Alvark 59
In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, the hot-shooting Jets pounded Tokyo in the series opener, getting double-digit scoring efforts from five players in the rout.
Star guard Yuki Togashi ignited the Chiba offense with 20 points, including 4 of 5 from long range, and doled out six assists. Gavin Edwards scored 14 points, Ryumo Ono had 13 and Tony Gaffney poured in 12, as did Fumio Nishimura, who also dished out six assists.
The Jets (10-4) led 46-29 at halftime. Sparked by a 15-0 run in the third quarter, the hosts took a 72-37 lead into the final stanza.
Chiba registered 26 assists against six turnovers. The hosts put 52 in-the-paint points on the board and held the visitors to 24.
Coach Atsushi Aono’s club collected 10 steals compared with Tokyo’s two.
Alex Kirk scored 20 points and hauled in 11 rebounds for the Alvark (12-2). Yudai Baba added 10 points, while Genki Kojima and Joji Takeuchi both had seven.
Diamond Dolphins 85, NeoPhoenix 57
In Nagoya, defense and rebounding propelled the hosts past San-en.
The Diamond Dolphins (5-9) outrebounded the NeoPhoenix 41-34, with five players grabbing five or more rebounds. Shuto Ando was the team leader with seven boards.
Former bj-league MVP Justin Burrell scored a team-best 14 points for Nagoya and Tenketsu Harimoto had 13, followed by Jerome Tillman and Taito Nakahigashi with 12 apiece. Former Iowa State star Craig Brackins contribute nine points and five assist with a pair of blocks.
Cartier Martin had 15 points to pace San-en (6-8). Scott Morrison and Junki Kano scored 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Nagoya held the NeoPhoenix to 36.2 percent shooting.
Lakestars 71, Susanoo Magic 65 (OT)
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Tomonobu Hasegawa’s 16-point effort helped guide the scrappy hosts past Shimane in overtime.
Hasegawa canned three 3s and made four steals. Teammate Narito Namizato added 13 points and eight assists.
Yusuke Karino, D’or Fischer and Omar Samhan all scored 10 points for the Lakestars (7-7).
Fischer made a big impact on defense, blocking five shots.
Shiga held a 47-46 edge in rebounds.
Takuya Soma led the Susanoo Magic (4-10) with 12 points. Josh Scott and Edward Yamamoto finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Brendan Lane grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds.
Hannaryz 84, Evessa 66
In Kyoto, the hosts capitalized on second-chance opportunities in a victory over Osaka.
Coach Honoo Hamaguchi’s squad outscored the visitors 13-2 in second-chance points. The Hannaryz (8-6) were active around the basket and aggressive on putbacks.
Kevin Hareyama sank 5 of 8 3s in a 17-point performance for Kyoto, while Tatsuya Ito had 14 points. Marcus Dove chipped in with 11 points and nine boards and Julian Mavunga added 13 points and seven assists.
For the Evessa (3-11), Rei Goda had 12 points and Greg Smith notched a double-double (11 points, 10 boards). David Wear added 10 points. Hiroyuki Kinoshita dished out six assists.
SeaHorses 84, Albirex BB 80
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, J.R. Sakuragi’s 23-point, 13-rebound, three-assist effort played a pivotal role in Mikawa’s 13th consecutive victory.
Kosuke Kanamaru scored 12 points, Takanobu Nishikawa had 10, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range, and Makoto Hiejima, Keijuro Matsui and Isaac Butts all had nine points. Hiejima dished out five assists, while Butts led all players with 14 rebounds (six offensive).
The SeaHorses (13-1) led 45-41 at halftime.
Niigata’s Davante Gardner, a Marquette University alum, scored 17 points on 6-for-15 shooting. He leads the top flight in scoring (29.2 points per game).
Kei Igarashi led the Albirex (6-8) with 18 points, knocking down 4 of 8 3s. Masashi Joho added 14 points and five assists. Shunki Hatakeyama also dished out five assists.
Grouses 92, B-Corsairs 87 (OT)
In Yokohama, floor leader Naoki Uto had 30 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds and four teammates also scored in double figures as Toyama held off the hosts in overtime.
Yuto Otsuka poured in 17 points, Drew Viney added 14, Sam Willard had 12 and Dexter Pittman 10 for the Grouses (6-8).
Uto made 12 of 21 shots from the floor in a game-high 42-plus minutes.
Takuya Kawamura led the B-Corsairs (3-11) with 21 points and six assists. Hasheem Thabeet added 16 points and seven rebounds and newcomer William McDonald, making his Yokohama debut, also scored 16 points.
Golden Kings 94, Storks 62
In Sanda, Hyogo Prefecture, Ryukyu raced out to a 27-9 lead by the end of the first quarter en route to a runaway victory over the hosts.
The Golden Kings (9-5) shot 65.6 percent from inside the arc.
Hassan Martin had 22 points and 14 boards for Ryukyu and Shota Tsuyama and Naoki Tashiro both scored 13 points and made three 3-pointers apiece. Kohei Ninomiya contributed 12 points and four assists off the bench.
Ryuichi Kishimoto supplied eight points and seven assists for the Kings. Ex-NBA big man Hilton Armstrong added eight points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
Ex-Kings star Draelon Burns scored 12 points for Nishinomiya (4-10). Jordan Vandenburg had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Tadahiro Yanagawa dished out six assists, a team-high total.
Ryukyu limited the hosts to 33.8 percent shooting.
Saturday’s second-division scores:
Volters 67, Crane Thunders 64
Fighting Eagles 69, Brave Warriors 62
Northern Happinets 67, Big Bulls 52
Wyverns 86, 89ers 74
Samuraiz 70, Earthfriends 64
Robots 78, Bambitious 70
Rizing Zephyr 85, Five Arrows 71