The Sendai 89ers used a payoff period surge to zoom past the Tokyo Z Earthfriends and Juan Gomez de Liano, 82-64, in their second meeting in Division II of the Japan B.League at the Ota City General Gymnasium Monday night, Oct. 18.
Shota Watanabe led Sendai with 20 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals, Hayato Kantake added 15 markers and one rebound, and Jerome Meyinsse chipped in 14 points, six rebounds, two assists, and one steal.
Leading only by seven points at 55-48, Sendai capitalized on its mini 6-1 run to put a stop at Tokyo’s basket trades courtesy of Devin Oliver and Meyinsse to extend the gap at 61-49.
But Tokyo held on thanks to Mark Eddie Noelia’s effort with six straight points and a three-pointer from Tsubasa Kurihara to cut the deficit by nine, 67-58.
Sendai’s Kantake, however, responded with a three of his own as Keita Sawabe and Seiya Tanaka continued the offensive assault with back-to-back baskets to pull away for good at 74-58 with 3:07 left.
Shinya Takagi topscored with 20 points to go with six rebounds while Noelia fired 18 markers with six rebounds, three steals, one assist and one block.
De Liano fired blanks and went scoreless after missing four field goal attempts in limited playing minutes.
The 89ers are now tied with the Yamagata Wyverns at 4-2 record at the second spot in the East District. The Earthfriends, for their part, remained winless in six games.
Sendai will face West District’s lowest-seeded squad Ehime Orange Vikings (1-5) while Tokyo will battle East District’s top team Fighting Eagles Nagoya (5-1) next weekend.