DEFENDING champion Chiba Jets proved too much for struggling Niigata Albirex BB, scoring a 88-83 win on Sunday for a weekend sweep in the Japan B.League at Funabashi Arena.
The visitors could not hold on to its 79-76 lead in the final 3:55 with Gavin Edwards bringing the home team ahead before Shuta Hara and Christopher Smith gave Chiba an 86-81 lead with 52 seconds left.
Jeff Ayres kept Niigata in the game, but Yuki Togashi quickly doused that rally with a pair of free throws in the last nine ticks to send the Albirex to their 11th straight loss.
Smith powered Chiba with 21 points on a blazing 5-of-9 clip from downtown, to go with three rebounds and two assists, as Togashi produced 17 points and six dimes.
Hara also fired 14 points and five rebounds as the Jets rose to a 10-4 record.
Kobe Paras and Niigata are in the bottom of the standings.
On the flipside, it was another heartbreaker for Niigata as this was its sixth loss to be decided by five points or less in its recent skid.
Rosco Allen led the Albirex with 26 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, as Ayres got 14 points and eight boards.
Kobe Paras contributed 15 points on 3-of-5 clip from deep, on top of four assists and three rebounds in the loss.
It was a tough loss for Niigata, which lost hold of a 14-point first half lead and saw it wiped out thanks to Chiba's 25-6 third quarter run to take the 67-60 lead heading into the payoff period.
The Albirex are hoping that the extended break could change their fortunes when they go back home on Dec. 4 against the Akita Northern Happinets at City Hall Plaza Aore Nagaoka.