In a rematch of last season’s inaugural bj-league title game, the host Osaka Evessa topped the Niigata Albirex BB 85-84 in overtime on Saturday night.
Osaka (20-9) outscored Niigata 29-17 in the fourth quarter, overcoming a 68-61 deficit with 2:02 left to force overtime. Lynn Washington scored a team-high 22 points, David Palmer had 21 and Jeff Newton added 18 and 17 rebounds for the Evessa, who improved to 1-2 against the Albirex this season.
Matt Garrison scored 24 points and cleared 18 boards to lead Niigata (17-12), while Jack Hartman had 23, Naoto Kosuge 11 and Takamichi Fujiwara nine. In other games Saturday, the Toyama Grouses topped the visiting Tokyo Apache 105-102 in overtime as Nate James scored 29 points and Nile Murry added 27.
Tokyo’s John “Helicopter” Humphrey had his third 40-point game of the season. The Sendai 89ers defeated the visiting Oita HeatDevils 94-88 as Michael Chappell scored 29 and Mamadou Diouf had a splendid all-around game (25 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists), while Kenichi Takahashi (11 points) and Hikaru Kusaka (eight points, 11 assists) also made major contributions.
The host Takamatsu Five Arrows defeated the Saitama Broncos 97-84. Saitama slipped to 9-20 despite scoring 40 points in the fourth quarter.
The Five Arrows, led by Isaac Sojourner and Yu Okada, who scored 19 points apiece, and Rasheed Sparks, who made 10 assists, built a 70-44 lead entering the fourth.