The Toyama Grouses fell short once again in their quest for a breakthrough win as the visiting Ryukyu Golden Kings ran away in the clutch with a 95-88 victory in the Japan B. League on Saturday, October 23.
With the win, the powerhouse Kings rose to 5-2 in the standings as they kept the Grouses winless at 0-7, making them the only Division 1 team still searching for a breakthrough after the Ibaraki Robots upset Thirdy Ravena and the San-En NeoPhoenix earlier in the day.
Ryukyu import Dwayne Evans led the clutch rally with a game-high 25 points and 7 rebounds on 10-of-17 shooting, while Allen Durham, former import of the PBA’s Meralco Bolts, added 12 markers in just 16 minutes off the bench.
On the losing side, Gilas Pilipinas hotshot Dwight Ramos reset his B. League career-high with 16 points, 9 in the third quarter alone, on 5-of-11 shooting, but was held scoreless in the crucial final frame.
In that fourth quarter, Toyama was actually just trailing by a point, 88-89, up until the final minute of regulation despite the Ramos shutdown.
However, Ryuichi Kishimoto gave Ryukyu a safer 91-88 gap off a jumper at the 38-second mark, which he followed up with a dagger layup for the 93-88 lead with just 13 ticks left after Ramos missed a crucial trey in the previous possession.
Toyama import Julian Mavunga, who had a game-high 10 assists to go with 5 points and 7 rebounds, bungled his final play as Evans intercepted his pass leading to one last Ryukyu bucket to set the final score.
Despite the loss, the Grouses can still regroup with some positives after six players breached double-digit scoring, led by former TNT Tropang Giga import Joshua Smith’s 19 points on a near-perfect 8-of-9 shooting.
Their search for their first win continues with an early Sunday afternoon rematch at 12:05 pm.
Ryukyu 95 – Evans 25, Imamura 12, Cooley 12, Durham 12, Namizato 9, Maki 9, Tashiro 7, Kishimoto 7, Kotera 2.
Toyama 88 – Smith 19, Ramos 16, Matsui 14, Kamisawa 11, Uto 11, Johnson 10, Mavunga 5, Hareyama 2.
Quarters: 22-23, 46-45, 68-65, 95-88.