FUNABASHI, CHIBA PREF. – Yuki Togashi’s spectacular offensive performance thrilled the mostly partisan supporters that congregated at a jam-packed Funabashi Arena on Sunday afternoon.
In the second half, Togashi found his comfort zone . . . and never cooled off. Time after time, the Chiba Jets Funabashi point guard darted left, he bounced right, he penetrated into the heart of the Alvark Tokyo defense, eluding lanky arms and long bodies, avoiding obstacles like a running back seeking to avoid being tackled on a football field.
The speedy 167-cm guard canned 11 3-pointers out of 15 attempts. He scored 30 points in the second half, burying jumper after jumper after jumper with a beautiful release on his shot, and nearly every time the ball sailed through the net without hitting the backboard; swish, swish, swish — you get the picture.
It was a mesmerizing display of confidence, a shooter’s rhythm working like a clock. Togashi led all scorers with 42 points.
But it wasn’t enough as the Alvark held off the Jets 77-67, avenging a 95-59 defeat in Saturday’s series opener.
In that loss, the Alvark trailed 46-29 at halftime and 72-37 entering the fourth quarter.
The red-hot Togashi carried the Chiba offense in the fourth quarter, scoring all 16 of the team’s points. The Jets trailed throughout the second half, falling behind by as many as 12 points, including at the 4:40 mark of the fourth quarter when Alex Kirk provided a dunk for the visitors.
Togashi kept firing away, though, and making his shots. He sank four 3s in the fourth quarter alone and eight in total in the second half.
After the loss, Togashi said “it was regrettable the team didn’t win.” He didn’t appear pleased that his banner performance was not a victory-producing one.
While Togashi stayed hot, his teammates had an inconsistent game on offense. Consider: The rest of the Jets made 1 of 10 3s.
Stacking up Togashi’s 11 3-point outing with the recent wave of perimeter-scoring brilliance in the NBA, his total came close to the latter league’s top individual games, but didn’t top it. Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry has had 10, 11, 12 and 13 3-pointers in games, and he’s the only one to nail 13 3s, a record he set on Nov. 7, 2016.
Tokyo improved to 13-2, while Chiba fell to 10-5.
Alvark coach Luka Pavicevic eloquently summed up the significance of the need for his team to regain its focus in the series finale.
“We needed to come back and win for three reasons,” he told reporters. “The first and most obvious one is we need to win and keep winning if we want to be in the playoffs and compete for a championship.
“Second, it was very important that after getting beat by 30-something points that the team shows the power of character and focus, and comes back and wins a strong game like this. . .”
Playing without an absent star over the weekend was also key, according to Pavicevic.
“And the third for us, (floor leader) Daiki Tanaka is a very important player. If we are a truly strong team, we are going to feel the lack of such a person in our roster,” Pavicevic said. “But we need to shift responsibilities and find a way on offense and keep our defense steady.”
Pavicevic likened Togashi’s performance to a video game and described it as “an unbelievable night.”
The coach said, “First, we don’t give anything. He finds those shots. You saw it. It’s like a Sony video game. . . . But our goal was no ball movement, no game for others. We certainly hoped that he wasn’t going to pick 40 (points).”
But the Alvark strategy paid off.
Ryumo Ono, who had 10 points, was Chiba’s only other double-digit scorer. Gavin Edwards added seven points.
The Alvark defense held the Jets to 42.4 percent shooting from the field.
Williams, a former Cleveland Cavaliers player who also suited up for the Rera Kamuy Hokkaido in the JBL (2007-08), said he’d never seen a Japanese player deliver an electrifying scoring performance quite like Togashi’s. He also said he was impressed with Togashi’s poise and focus to carry his team.
Kirk paced Tokyo with 20 points and blocked a pair of shots. Zack Baranski scored 15 points off the bench, with Seiya Ando contributing nine points and six assists. Williams also came off the bench and had nine points, including six in the fourth quarter. Yudai Baba, who turned 22 on Nov. 7, chipped in with seven points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks in his first start of the season
SeaHorses 98, Albirex BB 84
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, title-chasing Mikawa excelled on offense and cruised to its 14th straight victory.
The SeaHorses (14-1) closed out the game with a stellar 30-point fourth quarter.
Sharpshooter Kosuke Kanamaru led Mikawa with 26 points, canning 4 of 6 3s. Longtime teammate J.R. Sakuragi added 20 points on 10-for-10 shooting with seven rebounds and seven assists. Daniel Orton and Makoto Hiejima each scored 13 points and Sunao Murakami contributed eight points and six assists.
The SeaHorses doled out 25 assists against seven turnovers. Equally impressive, they shot 67.3 percent from 2-point range.
Masashi Joho had 26 points for Niigata (6-9) and Davante Gardner added 19 and six rebounds. Jun Uzawa and Jared Berggren both scored 11 points, with Kei Igarashi finishing with seven points and eight assists.
B-Corsairs 83, Grouses 78
In Yokohama, Tanzanian big man Hasheem Thabeet, the No. 2 pick (Memphis Grizzlies) in the 2009 NBA Draft, scored 24 points on 11-for-13 shooting (with three dunks), pulled down 14 rebounds, swatted five shots and collected three steals to lead the hosts to a bounce-back victory over Toyama.
With the 221-cm Thabeet dominating inside, the B-Corsairs (4-11) outrebounded the Grouses 40-25.
Yokohama newcomer William McDonald added 16 points and seven rebounds. Teammates Ken Takeda and Ryo Tawatari contributed 10 points apiece, with the latter also dishing out five assists. Takuya Kawamura chipped in with five assists and four steals on a day when he struggled to make shots (1-for-8 from the field, five points).
Drew Viney paced Toyama (6-9) with 21 points and Naoki Uto, who scored 30 in the series opener, finished with 16 points and seven assists. Dexter Pittman had 14 points and Yuki Ueta scored 10. Sam Willard nearly notched a double-double (nine points, 10 rebounds).
The B-Corsairs led 24-15 entering the second quarter.
Lakestars 78, Susanoo Magic 69
In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, balanced scoring helped coach Shawn Dennis’ club pick up its fourth win in a row.
Tomonobu Hasegawa had a team-high 17 points for the Lakestars (8-7) and Omar Samhan scored 15 and collected 10 rebounds. Koyo Takahashi added 10 points and Narito Namizato delivered a nine-point, five-assist outing, with Yutaka Yokoe matching Namizato’s scoring total.
Shiga’s latest victory, its seventh in eight contests, was also secured at the defensive end. D’or Fischer, who finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, blocked five shots.
Josh Scott’s 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists sparked Shimane (4-11). Takuya Soma and Brendan Lane had 10 points apiece, while, Shota Watanabe chipped in with nine points and six assists.
Diamond Dolphins 78, NeoPhoenix 59
In Nagoya, Jerome Tillman’s 23-point performance, including five 3-pointers, helped spark the hosts to their second triumph in as many days over San-en.
Craig Brackins supplied 17 points and 12 boards and Takaya Sasayama poured in eight points for the Diamond Dolphins (6-9). Yoshiaki Fujinaga handed out five assists.
Cartier Martin paced the visitors with 23 points and nine rebounds. Tatsuya Suzuki scored 13 points for the NeoPhoenix (6-9) and Scott Morrison had 10 points and seven boards. Starting center Atsuya Ota was held to two points on 1-for-6 shooting.
Golden Kings 77, Storks 70
In Sanda, Hyogo Prefecture, the hosts’ spirited fourth-quarter comeback fell short, and West-leading Ryukyu completed a two-game sweep.
Shota Tsuyama scored 20 points and Hilton Armstrong had 10 for the Golden Kings (10-5). Takumi Ishizaki and Hassan Martin both put eight points on the board. Ishizaki drilled 2 of 3 from long range, while Martin raked in nine rebounds.
Draelon Burns, who made 12 of 13 free throws, scored 32 points and dished out six assists for Nishinomiya (4-11) and Connor Lammert added 11 points and 16 rebounds.
The Storks trailed 45-27 at halftime. They poured in 34 fourth-quarter points after both had only nine in the third period.
Hannaryz 81, Evessa 75
In Kyoto, Yusuke Okada’s 17 points and Tatsuya Ito’s 15 point, five-steal effort were among the key factors in the hosts’ second weekend win over Osaka.
Julian Mavunga added 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and Joshua Smith scored 12 point and grabbed seven rebounds for the Hannaryz (9-6). Yuya Nagayoshi chipped in with 10 points, seven boards and five assists.
Naoya Kumagae sank 7 of 10 3-pointers in a 31-point performance for the Evessa (3-12). Hiroyuki Kinoshita had 11 points and seven assists and Gyno Pomare provided 10 points.
Brave Thunders 80, Brex 71
In Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Nick Fazekas and Josh Davis both produced double-doubles as Kawasaki secured a win over Tochigi to earn a series split.
Fazekas provided 23 points and 10 rebounds and Josh Davis had 12 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. Naoto Tsuji and Takumi Hasegawa added 10 points apiece for the Brave Thunders (10-5).
The Brex (5-10) trailed 29-12 after the opening stanza.
Cedric Bozeman led Tochigi with 16 points and Ryan Rossiter followed with 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Yuta Tabuse contributed 12 points and four assists, while Kosuke Takeuchi added 10 points and seven boards.
In the series finale, Fazekas, a former University of Nevada star and NBA post player, became the first player in B. League history to score 2,000 total points in the circuit, which is now in its second season.
Here are Sunday’s scores:
Fighting Eagles 63, Brave Warriors 62
Northern Happinets 66, Big Bulls 60
Rizing Zephyr 87, Five Arrows 64
Wyverns 88, 89ers 83
Robots 70, Bambitious 65
Earthfriends 95, Samuraiz 90