The Niigata Albirex BB earned a 90-86 victory over the host Osaka Evessa on Saturday, defeating the two-time defending bj-league champions in a playoff-like setting.
Yuichi Ikeda’s 18 points led the Albirex (21-12). Andre Smith added 17, Takamichi Fujiwara 14 and Naoto Kosuge 12. For Osaka (24-7), Matt Lottich, who missed the last two games with a leg injury, scored a team-high 26, Naoto Nakamura added 20 and Mikey Marshall had 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
The visiting Ryukyu Golden Kings edged the Toyama Grouses 76-74. Herb Gibson had a team-best 18 points for Ryukyu (8-23), Eric Walton had a 14-point, 14-board effort, Kevin Steenberge added 14 and Naoto Takushi had 13 and nine assists. Jamar Brown (23 points) and Masayuki Kabaya (19) led the Grouses (4-29).
The Sendai 89ers outscored the Tokyo Apache 33-5 in the second quarter in a 107-97 home triumph. The 89ers (23-8) had seven players with two or more assists, including Bobby St. Preux, who had six and 27 points, while Shinya Sato scored 21.
For Tokyo (15-16), John Humphrey had 30 points. The host Rizing Fukuoka routed the Oita HeatDevils 97-81 as Michael Gardener (27 points) and Jeffrey Price (26) sparked the offense.
The Rizing improved to 12-20. Oita slipped to 14-18 despite Andy Ellis’ 32 points.
The Takamatsu Five Arrows (22-9), meanwhile, recorded an impressive 85-72 road win over the Saitama Broncos. George Leach (20 points, 12 boards) and Steve Horne (14) were the Five Arrows’ leading scorers.
Three teammates scored eight points and Reggie Warren grabbed 13 rebounds. Mamadou Diouf had a 21-point outing for Saitama (15-16).