Dwight Ramos and the Toyama Grouses squandered a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and lost to the Ryukyu Golden Kings anew, 83-80, in the 2021-22 Japan B.League on Sunday at the Toyama Prefectural West Sports Center.
Ramos had 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting along with six rebounds, while Julian Mavunga put up 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Center Josh Smith had 16 points and 12 rebounds.
But Toyama couldn't get the job done, wasting a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter to fall to 0-8 in the season. They remain the only winless team in Division 1.
The Grouses led 67-55 a minute into the fourth period after two free throws from Mavunga, and maintained a five-point lead into the final five minutes of the contest, 71-66. But Ryuichi Kishimoto sparked a late Ryukyu run, with his three-pointer knotting the count at 71 with four minutes left.
A Smith jumper gave Toyama back the lead, but an and-1 by Jack Cooley and a triple by Naoki Tashiro pushed the Golden Kings in control, 77-73, with 2:23 left.
Ramos hit a pair of clutch buckets that kept Toyama within striking distance, with his jumper making it a two-point game, 79-77, with a minute and a half to play. But misses by Toshiki Kamisawa and Keijuro Matsui in their ensuing possessions kept the Grouses from tying the game, and Kishimoto extended the lead to four points at the free throw line with 31 seconds left.
Toyama still had a chance when Kamisawa made three free throws for an 82-80 count with 11 seconds left, and Cooley left the door open when he split his own charities on the other end. But in their final possession, Kamisawa bricked a triple, and Ramos' last-ditch attempt from beyond the arc also misfired at the buzzer.
Hayato Maki led Ryukyu with 15 points, while Tashiro finished with 12. Allen Durham, the Meralco import, had 10 points on 1-of-6 shooting along with five rebounds and three assists.
Ryukyu improved to 6-2 in the season.