Ryukyu takes Game 1 of the Finals after a second overtime battle with Chiba.
The Ryukyu Golden Kings defeated the Chiba Jets 96-93 in Game 1 of the B.League 2022-2023 Finals at Yokohama Arena in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan on March 26.
Alan Durham, who played for Busan KT (now Suwon KT) in the 2019-2020 season, led the way with 26 points and 14 rebounds, while fellow foreign players Jack Cooley (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Josh Duncan (15 points, 13 rebounds) also recorded double-doubles. Among the homegrown players, Keita Imamura (14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) was the standout. After taking Game 1, Ryukyu needs just one more win to clinch the championship.
After leading 41-36 at halftime, Ryukyu struggled in the second half. They gave up points to Vic Law and Gavin Edwards under the basket, and then to Yuki Togashi. A Cooley basket gave them a respite, but a John Mooney free throw put them back in front (48-50). After Imamura and Watanabe Hyuga scored, Ryukyu narrowly held on to a 56-54 lead before Durham scored in the final minute of the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, it came down to the final possession. Ryukyu got baskets from Durham, Hayato Maki, and Cooley, but Mooney and Togashi were unable to pull away. With 48 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Durham hit a hook shot following a nice individual move under the basket to give Ryukyu a 76-73 lead, but Law hit a three-pointer to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, Ryukyu had a crunch time. They gave up points to Hara Shuta and Roh to lose the lead, but they didn’t give up. Durham answered with a free throw and then a layup to tie the game again. At the end of the first overtime, the score was 82-82, and the game continued into the second overtime.
In the second overtime, Ryukyu’s determination to win was evident. Imamura hit a mid-range shot and Durham continued his scoring streak. They then gave up goals to Mooney and Togashi, but they didn’t falter. Imamura scored again, followed by Durham’s game-winning free throws to seal a thrilling victory.메이저놀이터
Meanwhile, Chiba was led by Togashi (31 points, 2 rebounds, 8 assists) and Mooney (26 points, 22 rebounds), but was outplayed by Ryukyu in the final minutes. Ryukyu had been dominant in the regular season, setting a new B.League record for most consecutive wins (24), but the loss puts them in a precarious position.