Thirdy Ravena’s B.League debut was a success as he was instrumental in San-En’s 83-82 triumph over Shimane, Saturday evening at Yonago Industrial Gymnasium.
Clinging to a 63-62 lead heading to the final frame, the 6-foot-2 Asian import took over, scoring eight of NeoPhoenix’s first 14 points of the quarter to give his side a 77-69 lead.
“I think we showed character and great heart. I want to congratulate my boys for doing that. Very special group of guys,” said San-En head coach Branislav Vicentic.
Ravena had 13 points, three rebounds, and three assists.
Not having his usual legs, Ravena had to be taken off the court by Vicentic with four minutes left in the game.
With Ravena out, the Susanoo Magic made a huge run, leading 82-81 with 19 seconds left after a couple of free throws by De’Mon Brooks.
Atoning for his questionable three-pointer earlier, Hayato Kawashima was able to draw a foul from Brooks and sinking both of his charities to avert a meltdown and hand Ravena a winning debut.
“We thought the game was over the last two minutes. It’s a lesson for us,” expressed Vicentic.
Stevan Jelovac had 22 points and eight rebounds while Kyle Hunt added 15 markers and nine boards.
Shuto Terazono added 13 points built on three triples while Kawashima had 13 markers as well.
This is just San-En’s second win in 11 games.
Ravena’s first-ever point in the Japanese league came via a free throw a minute and 19 seconds into the game. The athletic 6-foot-2 winger followed it up with a baseline drive for a jam with 6:06 left in the opening stanza.
San-En was playing without Nenad Miljenovic, who was averaging 13.2 points and 5.5 assists per game, due to a strained right hamstring.
Brooks paced Shimane with 19 points and eight rebounds while fellow Travis Reid had 17 points and two boards.
Susanoo Magic dropped to 5-6.
Next up for San-En is another showdown with Shimane on Sunday at 12:35PM at the same venue.
San-En 83 – Jelovac 22, Hunt, 15, Terazono 13, Kawashima 13, Ravena 13, Suzuki 4, Nishikawa 2, Ota 1, Yamamoto 0, Kitahra 0, Okada 0.
Shimane 82 – Brooks 19, Reid 17, Sugiura 12, Williams 11, Buford 8, Kitagawa 6, Abe 3, Hashimoto 3, Yamashita 2, Kosaka 1, Shirahama 0, , Kamizato 0.
Quarterscores: 22-19, 41-42, 63-62, 83-82.