BASKETBALL | Utsunomiya hammers Chiba, forces a decisive match 3 in the final of the B League.




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YOKOHAMA ー Determined to extend their season until June, the Utsunomiya Brex delivered a powerful and quality performance in a must-see match against the Chiba Jets on Sunday, May 30.

Utsunomiya’s 83-59 victory in the second game of the B League final tied the series at one game apiece.

Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday night, also at Yokohama Arena, at 7 a.m.

Brex had the best League B record in the 2020-21 season (49-11) and beat the Jets three out of four times.

The Jets (43-14), who had the second-best winning percentage, beat Brex 85-65 in the Championship Series opener on Saturday May 29.

The two head coaches, Ryuzo Anzai from Utsunomiya and Atsushi Ono from Chiba, spoke about the importance of second chance points and rebounds after the first game. The Jets had the advantage in both statistical categories in Game 1. Chiba had 24 second chance points against six for Utsunomiya, while passing his foe 44-30.

In Game 2, Brexes were the aggressors and won both key categories.

Second Chance Points: A 21-7 advantage for Utsunomiya, who also passed Chiba 42-32.

Jets captain Yuki Togashi drained a 3-point pointer to give his club a 5-3 lead with 9:15 remaining in the first quarter.

Twenty-one seconds later, Brex star Ryan Rossiter grabbed an offensive rebound and scored from an out. Perfect positioning in this sequence.

Rossiter repeated this streak on his team’s next trip to the floor on offense, catching another offensive rebound and scoring at the low post.

Brex embarks on a 15-0 race

It was part of a 15-0 scoring streak that signaled Utsunomiya put their Game 1 loss in the mirror.

Moments later, Brex had taken an 18-5 lead midway through the first quarter.

Chiba came close to 19-14 on a Shannon Shorter layup, but Utsunomiya refused to back down, playing with relentless energy on both ends of the pitch.

Veteran Brex keeper Hironori Watanabe nailed a pull-up and fired a 3-point dagger to beat the shot clock. That made 24-16. Of these two possessions combined, Watanabe had more than doubled his goal production in the first game (two points). Big substitute Kosuke Takeuchi scored from a putout before the buzzer sounded at the end of the first, giving Utsunomiya a 26-16 advantage.

The Jets were limited to 16 points in each of the three quarters.

Brex, meanwhile, added 26 points on the board in the second quarter to take a 20-point lead at halftime. A day earlier, they were down 36-35 at the break before Chiba reversed the scenario in the second half.

Half-time leader

Utsunomiya’s 52-32 halftime lead and her marked increase in productivity in all aspects of the game proved too difficult for Chiba to overcome.

After three quarters, Brex led 68-48.

Ahead of Sunday’s rematch, Anzai said his team analyzed their Game 1 shortcomings, with each player taking stock of what was wrong with Brex.

The complete Brex victory in Game 2 is “the result of all the proud players re-examining their strengths,” commented Anzai.

Case in point: Ryan Rossiter of Utsunomiya put in a hard-hitting effort of 17 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals. He had a quiet eight-point exit in Game 1.

Josh Scott finished with 16 points, Jeff Gibbs scored 15 (after being limited to four points in Game 1) and Watanabe scored 10. LJ Peak and Yusuke Endo added eight and seven points, respectively.

Sebastian Saiz of Chiba scored 15 points and took nine rebounds. Gavin Edwards contributed 12 points and nine boards and Yuki Togashi had nine points. Josh Duncan, who scored 14 points in Game 1, was plagued with serious fouls on Sunday and was limited to four points before committing a foul in the fourth quarter.

Brex distributed 21 assists and returned the ball more than 12 times. The Jets have recorded 12 assists and 19 turnovers.

Thoughts on the game

Ono described Game 2 as the polar opposite of Game 1 of the series for his team.

“I think we’ve lost all the pieces [of the game] that we were able to win yesterday, like rebounds, loose balls and the ball [control]”Said the Jets coach. “I will use it as a food for thought, but I would like to prepare for the third game. “

Jets captain Togashi echoed his coach’s main point.

“[For Chiba], the game was exactly the opposite of yesterday, ”commented Togashi. “As a team, I think it was a difference in conscience and feelings rather than tactics, so I would like to especially prepare myself mentally for another chance.”

As both teams left the field after Game 2, the Jets wore a look of disappointment on their faces, while Brex shared a moment of glee.

“One more, one more,” said Yuta Tabuse, a longtime Brex guard and the first Japanese to play in the NBA. He entered the game at the end of the fourth quarter for the first time in the series and recorded an assist on a 3-point Gibbs at 2:08 left.

Tabuse’s message was a succinct reminder to his teammates of their only goal remaining this season.

Rossiter, who had total points, rebounds and assists and shared the team lead in interceptions with Seiji Ikaruga, said Brex rose to the challenge in Game 2.

“We did what we had to do,” said the former Siena (New York) College student.

“We played hard and we played the whole game together.”

For Rossiter, there is little time to savor Sunday’s victory.

He said what happened in Game 2 “doesn’t matter anymore”.

The reason?

“We have to prepare for Tuesday,” Rossiter concluded.

Author: Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward’s [Japan Sports Notebook] here Sunday, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter itsjaponen before.



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