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B.League Playoffs: Chiba Jets and Ryukyu Golden Kings Secure Final Spots in the Semifinals

Chiba beat the Utsunomiya Brex in 2OT and Ryukyu edged the Alvark Tokyo to join the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins and the Hiroshima Dragonflies in the B.League semis.



Chiba Jets captain Yuki Togashi (2) and his teammates celebrate a Togashi 3-pointer in overtime on May 13 against the Utsunomiya Brex in Game 3 of a B.League quarterfinal series. Chiba defeated Utsunomiya in double overtime at Nikkan Arena Tochigi to reach the semifinals. (B.LEAGUE)

Read the full story on SportsLook - B.League Playoffs: Chiba Jets and Ryukyu Golden Kings Secure Final Spots in the Semifinals

Four teams remain in the hunt for the B.League title.

The two final spots in the upcoming playoff semifinals were determined on Monday night, May 13 as the reigning champion Ryukyu Golden Kings and Chiba Jets emerged victorious in Game 3 showdowns against the Alvark Tokyo and Utsunomiya Brex, respectively. Which means they join the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins and the Hiroshima Dragonflies in the next round of the playoffs.

Ryukyu closed out its quarterfinal series against Tokyo with a hard-fought 58-57 win at Ariake Coliseum.

Later Monday night, Chiba triumphed 103-93 in double overtime over Utsunomiya, which had a league-best 51-9 record during the regular season, at Nikkan Arena Tochigi.

In the best-of-three semifinals, Nagoya will play host to Hiroshima. Games are scheduled for Friday through Sunday, May 18-20.

Ryukyu, meanwhile, returns to Okinawa Arena for a three-game showdown with Chiba on May 18, 19 and, if necessary, 21.

The Jets' Christopher Smith finished with a game-high 36 points. (B.LEAGUE)

Chiba Outlasts Utsunomiya in Epic 2OT Series Finale

On Monday night, the Jets' Christopher Smith scored a game-tying driving layup with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter. That gave Smith 36 points on the night and knotted the score at 74-74.

Overtime followed.

Chiba came up with a big play with time running down in OT. Point guard Yuki Togashi passed the ball to big man John Mooney, who nailed a jumper in the lane with 25 seconds left in OT. That tied it at 83-83.

Utsunomiya's DJ Newbill missed a 3-pointer with 9 seconds remaining in OT, thus forcing a second OT period.

And then the Jets pulled away, outscoring the Brex 20-10 the rest of the way.

Chiba's Yuki Togashi shoots a 3-pointer in overtime as former Jets teammate Gavin Edwards of the Utsunomiya Brex defends. (B.LEAGUE)

Togashi knocked down two big 3s in the second OT, firing up his team. He finished with 20 points, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range, 12 assists and three steals. Mooney had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Shuta Hara scored 11 points and Xavier Cooks pulled down 11 rebounds. Smith wound up with a game-best 36 points.

Brex guard Makoto Hiejima drives to the basket in Game 3. (BLEAGUE)

Newbill led Utsunomiya with 30 points, Makoto Hiejima poured in 20 and Grant Jerrett and Gavin Edwards both had 16.

"It was truly an epic battle," Jets head coach John Patrick said on the Amazon Prime Video interview after the game.


Patrick, whose team qualified for the playoffs as a wild-card team, noted that both squads made numerous big shots and had key defensive stops.

Before shifting his focus to the semifinals, Patrick complimented his opponent at the end of an intense series.

"Utsunomiya had a wonderful season," Patrick said.

Yuki Togashi (B.LEAGUE)

Players' Comments After Brex-Jets Series Finale

Speaking on Amazon Prime Video, Chiba captain Togashi reflected on his decisive role in the game. "I wanted the ball," he said of the high-pressure moments.

And Togashi, one of the best Japanese pro basketball players of the 21st century, delivered a big-time performance, adding to his legend.

At a loss for words after the game, Edwards said, "I don't know how to express the disappointment we (the Brex) all feel."

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven