Mikey Marshall scored 24 points, Matt Lottich had 18, Jeff Newton 16 and Naoto Nakamura 11 as the Osaka Evessa defeated the visiting Saitama Broncos 76-71 before 2,088 fans on Sunday.
With the win, the Evessa improved to 21-5, the best in the bj-league, and maintained their four-game lead over the Takamatsu Five Arrows in the Western Conference.
The Evessa held the Broncos (13-12) to 1-for-14 shooting from 3-point range. Mamadou Diouf had a team-best 22 points for Saitama. Teammate James Davis added 14 and Kazuhiro Shoji contributed 11, while Gordon James had a 10-point, 15-rebound, three-block, two-assist outing.
Elsewhere, the host Ryukyu Golden Kings completed their two-game sweep of the visiting Toyama Grouses, recording a 93-88 win. Danny Jones had 20 points, including a 10-for-12 effort from the free-throw line, and Shigeyuki Kinjo added 18 to lead the Golden Kings (7-19).
Kenya Tomori and Herb Gibson each dished out six assists for Ryukyu.
Robby Joyner’s season-high 33 points led the Grouses (4-24), who had five players score in double figures, a 2:1 assist/turnover ratio and made 10 of 18 3-point shots but were outscored 25-14 in the final quarter.
The Five Arrows, meanwhile, topped the visiting Tokyo Apache 98-86. Power forward Reggie Warren, the team’s go-to player, had 29 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, three steals, two blocks and two dunks in 40 busy minutes. Takamatsu (17-9) won this game at the charity stripe, where it was 17-for-29; Tokyo was 8-for-15.
John Humphrey’s 24 points led the Apache, who dropped to 14-12.
Before a packed house at Toki Messe, the Niigata Albirex BB picked up an 83-70 triumph over the Oita HeatDevils.
Andre Smith (25 points, 15 boards), Rodney Webb (12 points), Matt Garrison (10) and Kimitake Sato (nine) carried the well-balanced Niigata attack. Oita (11-15) attempted 31 free throws — the Albirex (17-11) took 17 — but shot a dismal 31.7 percent from the field.
For the HeatDevils, Andy Ellis was the top scorer with 21 points.
BASKETBALL CHAT: Ed Odeven will host The Japan Times’ basketball chat online on Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. Visit www.japantimes.co.jp/ for more information.