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Evessa maintain lead in Western Conference

by Ed Odeven

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.

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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.