SAN-EN NeoPhoenix turned the tables on Niigata Albirex BB as it held on for a 85-82 conquest and their first home win in the 2021-22 B.League season on Sunday at Hamamatsu Arena.
Robert Carter scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and added five assists and two rebounds as the hosts held on to the victory after nearly squandering an 11-point fourth-quarter lead.
Thirdy Ravena was all over the floor for San-En, nabbing 13 points, nine boards, and two assists to earn a split in his first Japan series with good friend Kobe Paras. A blot in his stats sheet was his 1-of-7 clip from deep.
The NeoPhoenix nearly lost a 61-50 advantage as the Albirex sliced the lead down to just two points, 77-75, after a Yuto Nohmi jumper with 42 seconds left.
Matsuwaki douses comeback
But Yoshiyuki Matsuwaki delivered the dagger three for the NeoPhoenix, before Carter canned his free throws in the final 15 seconds to make it an 82-77 advantage.
Elias Harris got a double-double with his 11 points and 12 rebounds, Justin Knox had his best game to date with 11 points and five rebounds, and Matsuwaki shot 3-of-6 from downtown for his 10 points and four assists as San-En improved to a 2-2 card.
The NeoPhoenix go back on the road next weekend to face the Hiroshima Dragonflies (3-0) at the Hiroshima Sun Plaza.
Rosco Allen refused to quit for Niigata, nailing a big trey in the last 12 seconds to make it an 82-80 game, but Carter once again was a cool customer from the line as San-En escaped with the win.
The Hungarian import led the way for the Albirex with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists as they dropped to an even 2-2 record.
Kobe Paras went 4-of-11 from the field for his 11 points, three boards, and three assists.
Former NBA player Jeff Ayres came off the bench for his 14 points, five rebounds, and four dimes, as Tshilidzi Nephawe got 12 points and six boards in the losing cause.
Niigata continues its road trip as it meets the winless Levanga Hokkaido (0-4) at Hokkai Kitayell next weekend.
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