Plain and simple, this much we know: The Osaka Evessa still possess the heart of a champion.
With veteran point guard Matt Lottich out with a leg injury for the next two to three weeks, small forward Mikey Marshall picked up the slack over the weekend. And this was a team already missing power forward Lynn Washington, its captain and the 2005-06 bj-league MVP.
Marshall posted his second triple-double in as many games on Sunday, leading the Evessa to a statement-making 88-76 victory over the host Ryukyu Golden Kings.
Marshall, a former Texas Tech University player under the legendary Bobby Knight, had 22 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists as Osaka (24-6) completed the two-game sweep. Jeff Newton added a double-double for the two-time defending champions with 23 points and 15 rebounds.
Kazuya Hatano added 13 points and eight rebounds, Naoto Nakamura chipped in with 10 and Shotta Konno had a season-high 10.
For the Golden Kings (7-23), Eric Walton had a team-high 29 points.
The Takamatsu Five Arrows edged the host Tokyo Apache 99-95 in overtime at Ariake Colosseum.
Reggie Warren led the way with 25 points and 13 boards, Steven Horne scored 14 and George Leach and Rasheed Sparks had 11 apiece for the Five Arrows (21-9).
Tokyo, which slipped to 15-15, got 30 points apiece from Dameion Baker and John Humphrey and 15 from Cohey Aoki.
In Beppu, Oita Prefecture, the Oita HeatDevils earned an 89-88 overtime triumph over the Saitama Broncos.
Jason Braxton was one assist shy of a triple-double (14 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists) for the HeatDevils, who improved to 13-17. Andy Ellis scored 31 for the hosts.
Gordon James, a monster on the boards, pulled down 18 rebounds and scored 23 for the Broncos (15-15), while Andrew Feeley also had 23 and Mamadou Diouf 21. Taishiro Shimizu added 11.
Elsewhere, the Sendai 89ers routed the host Toyama Grouses 95-75.
The 89ers (22-8) pulled away in the second half, scoring 25 in the third quarter and 33 in the fourth.
Ryan Blackwell (23 points), Nick DeWitz (21) and Patrick Whearty (19) carried the scoring load for Sendai.
The Grouses’ Masayuki Kabaya had a team-best 29 points and Robby Joyner had 24, but Toyama fell to 4-28.
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) A day after Indiana bought out coach Kelvin Sampson’s contract and players threatened to boycott, Armon Bassett scored a season-high 24 points and the No. 15 Hoosiers escaped with an 85-82 victory over Northwestern on Saturday night.
The game seemed like a fitting conclusion to one of the most difficult weeks in the storied program’s history. The Hoosiers had to hang on against a team still searching for its first Big Ten win.
D.J. White deflected a potential go-ahead layup by Northwestern’s Michael Thompson, then hit two free throws to make it 85-82 with 5 seconds left. Thompson missed a pull-up 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the Hoosiers moved into a three-way tie for first with Wisconsin and Purdue.