January 10 - Funabashi Arena, Chiba, Japan
Chiba Jets finished their Group Stage campaign with a perfect, 6-0 record after beating Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters 115-98 at home this evening.
The B.LEAGUE side had to see off a spirited performance from Jung Kwan Jang, who led by five points at halftime. Despite keeping captain Yuki Togashi on the bench, the Jets were able to overhaul the deficit with a powerful second half performance.
1. Nishimura steps up
Chiba Jets kept their talisman captain Yuki Togashi on the bench for the entire game. In his absence, Fumio Nishimura stepped up with a Player of the Game performance at point guard.
Nishimura pulled the strings as Chiba Jets powered their way back into the game after a lacklustre first half. He scored 24 points, all from beyond the arc, hitting eight from 10. Twenty-three of his 24 points were dropped over a 20-minute span. He also contributed with seven assists.
2. Chiba show squad depth
While Player of the Game Nishimura stood out for Chiba Jets, he was ably supported by a number of teammates as the B.LEAGUE team showed the depth of talent on their roster.
Five players scored double figures: Xavier Cooks (28 points, as well as 13 rebounds and 8 assists), Nishimura (24 points), John Mooney (19 points, as well as 11 rebounds and five assists), Ren Kanechika (23 points) and Asato Ogawa (10 points).
Chiba's well-balanced, unselfish team dominated Group A and look like the side to beat as the Final Four starts to take shape.
- Carter shows promise
Anyang's new center Robert Carter was the outstanding performer for Jung Kwan Jang this evening. Carter scored a team-high 27 points this evening, also contributed two rebounds and two assists.
Carter was brought in last month to fill the gap left by Omari Spellman, who departed following a run of injury and poor form.
Spellman's exit left a big gap in the team. The American-Lebanese had been one of the stars of Jung Kwan Jang's successful 2022-23 season, including securing tournament MVP honors at EASL Champions Week last March.
Carter is clearly still bedding into his new team but this performance augurs well. Jung Kwan Jang can still qualify for the Final Four and will need all the firepower they can muster after a mediocre season to date across EASL and the KBL.
Player of the Game - Fumio Nishimura
Fumio Nishimura had scored a total of nine points in the three EASL games he'd played before this evening's game. In the absence of Chiba Jets' number one point Yuki Togashi this evening, Nishimura took the opportunity to show what he is capable of.
The 177cm guard scored 24, ripping off 23 of his total in a 20-minute span. All his scoring was done from beyond the arc, as he sank eight of 10 attempted threes.
The fact Chiba can rest Yuki Togashi and bring in players of Nishimura's quality as replacements will give opponents plenty to think about as the Final Four looms.
Stats of the Game
Chiba Jets dominated Jung Kwan Jang on rebounds this evening, getting 47 compared to just 23 for the KBL side.
Xavier Cooks led for Chiba with 13 rebounds, closely followed by John Mooney on 12. Both players recorded double-doubles this evening.
For Anyang, four players hit the team-high mark of three rebounds.
Postgame Press Conference
- Chiba Jets - No more games in the group stage; Chiba Jets' next game will be in the Final Four semifinals on March 8
- Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters - Away vs. TNT Tropang Giga (PBA), January 24, 2024