Levanga Hokkaido soared high off a strong start at home to score an 88-75 breakthrough win at the expense of Kobe Paras and the Niigata Albirex BB in their first game of a back-to-back slate in the Japan B. League on Saturday, October 16.
Levanga captain Ryoma Hashimoto led five other teammates in double figures with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 4-of-8 from three in just 22 minutes off the bench.
Through this balanced attack, they buried Niigata with an early 31-10 blitz after the first quarter, and consistently kept their distance with a peak of 23 points, 84-61, in the final 4 minutes of regulation.
Although Paras led the losing cause with 11 points in the first half, he got clamped for just 2 markers in the latter two frames to finish with a team-high 13 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block on a subpar 4-of-13 clip in just 27 minutes.
Incidentally, his lone field goal in the second half pushed Niigata to its closest gap at 12 points, 41-53, midway through the third period before Hokkaido regained full control in the final frame to seal the deal.
Top Albirex import Rosco Allen was also clamped to just one point in the first half, and 12 markers overall after coming in with averages of 20.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists.
They will now try to avoid a weekend sweep with a 1:05 pm rematch on Sunday, October 17, still on Hokkaido home turf.
Hokkaido 88 – Hashimoto 20, Nakano 13, Brooks 13, Terazono 12, Long 11, Maki 11, Kuzuhara 6, Yamaguchi 2, Miller 0, Sakurai 0, Tamaki 0.
Niigata 75 – Paras 13, Allen 12, Nephawe 10, Kimura 10, Sato 7, Ayres 7, Ikeda 5, Watanuki 4, Ohya 3, Okamoto 2, Nohmi 2, Hoshino 0.
Quarters: 31-10, 45-29, 67-49, 88-75.