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Williams provides spark as Takamatsu beats Fukuoka

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Away from the bright lights in the big city, big man Paul Williams honed his skills at St. Bonaventure University in upstate New York.

The institute of higher learning is located in Allegany, a town in the Empire State’s western region.

And it’s been said the town’s name is derived from the Native American tribe Allegewi’s word for “lovely” or “beautiful.”

Indeed, Williams’ performance on Sunday must have triggered similar descriptions in Japanese, too.

The Takamatsu Five Arrows center converted 12 of 15 shots from the field for 24 points in the hosts’ 83-68 bounce-back victory over the Rizing Fukuoka in a matchup of bj-league Western Conference teams.

The 30-year-old Williams, whose career has also included stops in the United Kingdom, Spain and the Dominican Republic, hauled in 14 rebounds for the Five Arrows, who got 15 points apiece from Yusuke Kodera and Andrais Thornton.

Kodera sank 5 of 6 3-point shots. Teammate Tsubasa Yonezawa added 14 points, including a trio of 3s. Dexter Lyons contributed 12 points, six rebounds and six assists.

The Five Arrows made significant strides last season, going 20-32 after an epic disaster (2-50 campaign) in 2011-12, and have built their team around the all-around skills of Lyons and Williams and a Japanese veteran corps, including Makoto Kita, Masaaki Suzuki, Hiroyuki Kikuchi and Kodera.

For Fukuoka, led by first-year coach Mack Tuck, forward Michael Dale topped the scoring charts with 18 points and grabbed 14 points. Reggie Warren also notched a double-double with 17 points and 11 boards. Jun Nakanishi provided 12 points and three steals, Seth Tarver scored eight points and Cohey Aoki had seven.

Rizing standout Akitomo Takeno was held to zero points on an 0-for-10 shooting afternoon. Fukuoka, meanwhile, missed all but four of its 21 3-point shots.

Albirex BB 69, 89ers 65

In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, Nile Murry scored 15 points to lead a balanced scoring attack and the hosts completed a season-opening sweep over Sendai.

Rodney Webb, Takamichi Fujiwara and Patrick Sullivan all scored 11 points for the Albirex. Kimitake Sato poured in eight points.

Webb collected 11 rebounds and Sullivan raked in 10.

Wendell White was the 89ers’ top scorer with 16 points. James Hughes had 11 and Dzaflo Larkai 10. Takehiko Shimura dished out eight assists.

Big Bulls 80, Wat’s 57

In Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, Iwate coach Dai Oketani’s club delivered a dominating performance in its second game of the season, salvaging a series split against its new Tohoku rival, an expansion squad.

Josh Peppers led the scoring charge for the Big Bulls, finishing with 19 points. The veteran star also supplied nine rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Iwate guard Kenichi Takahashi contributed 15 points and six assists and Gyno Pomare had 15 points, nine boards and four steals. Masato Tsukino wound up with a 14-point afternoon. Lawrence “Trend” Blackledge added 12 points, three blocks and two steals. Yuki Yamaguchi handed out five assists.

For Aomori, Yuki Kitamuki, a former Saitama Broncos standout, and Eric May each had 14 points and Gordon Klaiber poured in 10. Post players Abdullahi Kuso and Anthony Kent both pulled down eight rebounds.

Northern Happinets 82, Phoenix 74 (OT)

In Akita, 20-year-old guard Yuki Togashi scored a game-best 27 points, including 8-for-9 at the charity stripe, and Richard Roby contributed 26 as the hosts prevailed over Hamamatsu Higashimikawa to improve to 2-0.

In other key contributions for the Happinets, newcomer Ruben Boykin, a Northern Arizona University product, filled the stat sheet with 12 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks, while Chas McFarland finished with seven points, eight boards, four assists and three blocked shots and Shigehiro Taguchi had an eight-point outing.

Aki Chambers led the Phoenix with 19 points and point guard Jamelle Barrett scored 16. Cyrus Tate added 10 points and 11 rebounds, Atsuya Ota had nine points and nine boards and Shinnosuke Oishi scored seven points.

Togashi was on the court for all 45 minutes of game time.

Evessa 96, Bambitious 78

In Osaka, Yosuke Sugawara scored 19 points, fellow newcomers Marcus Capers and Dillion Sneeed had 18 apiece and Kevin Galloway put his stamp on the series finale with 12 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and four steals, guiding the Evessa to a sweep over Nara.

Zach Andrews contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Evessa.

The Bambitious, an expansion squad, had no answer defensively for the 201-cm, 130-kg Sneed. He converted 19 of 26 shots from inside the 3-point arc over the weekend, including 9-for-12 on Sunday.

Jamar Abrams paced Nara with 18 points and Joe Chapman scored 16, including four 3-pointers (he knocked down 10 3s in the two-game series). Anthony Brown added 12 points, Jumpei Honda 10 and Tatsuya Suzuki nine.

Lakestars 77, Susanoo Magic 73

In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, new coach Chris Boettcher completed a satisfying opening weekend on the Shiga bench, steering the out-of-towners to their second straight triumph.

Dionisio Gomez led the Lakestars with 21 points. Shelton Colwell had 12 points, Brandon Fields chipped in with 11 points and five assists and Yutaka Yokoe scored 10 points. Jumpei Nakama added seven points.

Shiga forward Marshall Brown had a quiet afternoon in the scoring department (two points), but made an impact with seven assists, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

Center Jeral “Stretch” Davis had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Susanoo Magic and Thomas Kennedy scored 17 points. Shimane’s Tatsuhiro Yokoo added 13 points.

Broncos 80, Crane Thunders 76

In Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, Saitama edged the hosts and gave Takatoshi “Big Bashi” Ishibashi his first victory as Broncos coach.

Gunma won the series opener 72-71 on Saturday.

Reigning league scoring champ John “Helicopter” Humphrey had 18 points for the Broncos. Michael Joiner netted 15 points, Anwar Ferguson had 13 and Reina Itakura scored 10.

Marvell Waithe scored 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Gunma and Darko Cohadarevic chipped in with 12 points, five steals and four blocks. Masashi Obuchi finished with 10 points.

The Crane Thunders shot 11-for-24 at the free-throw line.

Gunma trailed 55-44 after three quarters, scored 32 points in the final stanza, but fell short in its comeback attempt.