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Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012

Five Arrows open season with victory

The Takamatsu Five Arrows lost 50 of 52 games last season.

They already have half of their victory total from that horrendous campaign, coming courtesy of an 80-66 road victory over the new-look Osaka Evessa on Saturday in the bj-league.

The Evessa's mass exodus of players and departure of bench boss Ryan Blackwell following the 2011-12 season sparked upheaval among several long-time supporters, many of which opted against attending the opener at Sumiyoshi Sports Center, sources have told The Japan Times.

One fan summed up the once-mighty Evessa's fall this way on Facebook: "Evessa is only (an) historic name now, just a toy of 'the man.' Toys can't beat passions. That's it."

Dexter Lyons' strong all-around game — 18 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists — guided Takamatsu to a rare win under coach Kenzo Maeda, beginning his second season at the helm.

Larry Cox and Masashi Obuchi each had 15 points for the Evessa. Cox also grabbed 19 rebounds, including nine off the offensive glass.

Jets 108, Cinq Reves 86

In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, the Jets opened their second and final second in the bj-league before defecting to the National Basketball League, the JBL's rebranded circuit, with a win over the new Tokyo expansion team.

Marquin Chandler had a team-best 27 points for Chiba, including 6-for-6 from 3-point range, while fellow newcomer Joe Werner poured in 23 points. Chiba shot 12-for-21 from 3-point range in Shinji Tomiyama's first game as head coach.

Five Cinq Reves scored in double figures, led by big man Jonathan Jones (22 points). Cohey Aoki, the longtime Tokyo Apache star who was in an Evessa uniform last season after the former team folded, finished with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Brave Warriors 101, Crane Thunders 88

In Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, Shinshu gave coach Takatoshi "Big Bashi" a victory in his first regular-season game in charge.

Gunma, an expansion team, fell to 0-3 under Tadashi Hayashi, losing its first-ever home game.

Brave Warriors center Wayne Marshall, a steady player for Osaka the past two seasons, scored 31 points and collected 13 rebounds for Shinshu. Teammates Jermaine Green and Edward Morris scored 22 and 17 points, respectively. Takanori Goya and Yosuke Saito each scored eight points apiece.

Tatsuhiko Toshino scored 20 points for the Crane Thunders, while Lewis Witcher had 19 on 9-for-11 shooting from the field.

Happinets 77, Grouses 70

In Akita, T.J. Cummings, son of longtime NBA player Terry, scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Yuki Kikuchi canned 6 of 12 3-point shots in an 18-point effort as the Northern Happinets opened their 2012-13 bj-league campaign by defeating visiting Toyama.

Dion Harris, a University of Michigan product, scored 14 points and Anthony Kent had 11 points, 13 boards and five assists for Akita, a third-year franchise.

Masashi Joho paced Toyama (2-1) with 20 points, while Takeshi Mito had 15 points and Angel Garcia scored 11 and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Akita, which trailed 33-30 at halftime, outscored the Grouses 27-19 in the final stanza. The Happinets limited their turnovers to seven on the afternoon, while dishing out 20 assists, with veteran forward Kazuhiro Shoji, who has played in the bj-league since its inception in 2005, matching Harris' team-high total of five.

B-Corsairs 115, Broncos 94

In Tokorozawa, the Tracy Williams era began with a lopsided loss to Yokohama.

The B-Corsairs went to the Final Four as an expansion team last season under Reggie Geary, the 2011-12, bj-league Coach of the Year.

Draelon Burns and Masayuki Kabaya both scored 24 points in the B-Corsairs' first game of the 2012-13 season. Kabaya canned seven 3s. Burns dished out eight assists and Kenji Yamada had seven.

For Saitama, John "Helicopter" Humphrey was the top scorer with 28 points.

HeatDevils 95, Phoenix 54

In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, Oita erupted for 31 second-quarter points en route to a one-sided win over Hamamatsu Higashimikawa in the HeatDevils' season opener.

Five Oita players scored in double figures: Matt Lottich (20 points), newcomer and ex-Miyazaki captain Taishiro Shimizu (18), former Stanford post player Taj Finger (16), UNLV product Wendell White (15 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists) and Cyrus Tate (13).

The HeatDevils finished with 30 assists on their 38 baskets.

Jeffrey Parmer was the Phoenix's lone double-digit scorer, finishing with 13 points.

Hamamatsu shot 6-for-36 from 3-point range and 15-for-46 from inside the arc.

Susanoo Magic 90, Rizing 75

In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, coach Zeljko Pavlicevic's team opened its third season with a comfortable victory over Fukuoka.

When it was over, 216-cm center Jeral Davis, the league's leader in blocked shots for the past two seasons, posted this message on Facebook: "Got that win. Gotta come harder tomorrow."

Big Bulls 67, 89ers 63

In Sendai, Iwate edged the hosts in the first bj-league game played at new Xebio Arena before 3,532 fans.

The Big Bulls improved to 3-0 under new coach Dai Oketani. The 89ers fell to 1-2.

"Not the way we wanted to open the Xebio Arena," 89ers coach Bob Pierce said. "We fought back to take the lead, 63-61, with three minutes remaining, but then missed a couple of shots with that two-point lead."

Carlos Dixon scored a team-high 18 points for Iwate, and added five rebounds, five assists and four steals for good measure. Teammate Reggie Okosa had 16 points with nine boards and Lawrence Blackledge contributed 15 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. Makoto Sawaguchi added seven points for the visitors, who out-rebounded Sendai 61-42.

Kevin Coble led the 89ers with 19 points, including three 3s, Sam Williard scored 15 points and raked in 16 rebounds and Takuya Komoda scored nine.

Shining Suns 87, Lakestars 85

In Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture, newcomer Marshall Brown scored 24 points and the hosts picked up a season-opening victory in coach Junichiro Hongo's debut.

Wayne Arnold was the high scorer for Shiga with 19 points.

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