Kobe Paras was limited to five points as Niigata Albirex BB continued to slump in the 2021-22 season of the B.League.
Niigata absorbed a 71-63 setback against the visiting Ryukyu Golden Kings on Sunday at the City Hall Plaza Aore Nagaoka, their eighth consecutive defeat in the league.
Niigata Albirex BB is now 2-9 for the season, with their last win coming against the San-En NeoPhoenix on October 9. They are in tenth place in the East District, just above newly-promoted Ibaraki (1-9).
In the low-scoring affair, Ryukyu took a slim 51-49 lead after the third frame off a Dwayne Evans jumper, and the Golden Kings would not relinquish their advantage.
Ryukyu opened the fourth quarter with nine unanswered points, with Allen Durham -- the former Meralco import -- accounting for six points including the dunk that pushed the Golden Kings ahead by 11, 60-49, with six and a half minutes to play.
A Paras layup finally ended the Niigata silence at the six-minute mark, but by then Ryukyu had gotten its rhythm. Keita Imamura's triple gave them their biggest lead, 67-54, with 4:24 to go, and the hosts were unable to threaten the rest of the way.
"Niigata is a hard-fighting team," said Ryukyu's Evans, who had 23 points, seven rebounds, and six assists in an all-around performance. "We were kinda short-handed today, but a lot of guys stepped up."
"I'm proud of our effort today," he added.
Durham had 16 points and 10 boards in 34 minutes for Ryukyu.
Meanwhile, Rosco Allen scored 15 points and pulled down 12 boards, while Yuto Nohmi had 13 for Niigata, which lost despite a 43-29 rebounding advantage.
The Golden Kings pounced on Niigata's miscues, turning their 19 turnovers into 22 points.
Ryukyu improved to 9-2 in the West.
Niigata will try to snap their slide against Kawasaki (8-3) on Wednesday at the Kawasaki Todoroki Arena.