Sharpshooter Shigeyuki Kinjo’s 3-pointer with 1:29 to play in the fourth quarter tied the game. Then the Ryukyu Golden Kings outlasted the host Takamatsu Five Arrows in overtime, 88-87, to remain the bj-league’s lone unbeaten team.
The Golden Kings (7-0) trailed 82-77 with 1:59 left in the fourth, but Bryan Simpson cut the deficit to three at the 1:51 mark and Kinjo nailed the clutch basket seconds later to score the final points of regulation.
Jeff Newton was a big presence for Ryukyu in the frontcourt, scoring 20 points and pulling down 15 rebounds. Teammate Anthony McHenry added 19 points, followed by Kinjo’s 16 and point guard Naoto Takushi’s eight-point, eight-rebound, nine-assist effort.
For the Five Arrows (5-2), George Leach was the No. 1 scorer with 21 and Gordon James posted a double-double (20 points, 17 boards).
Elsewhere, a strong third-quarter sparked the Sendai 89ers to a 64-63 victory over the visiting Saitama Broncos.
Sendai outscored Saitama 18-6 in the third and led 49-42 entering the final period.
Bobby St. Preux scored a game-best 26 points for the 89ers, who improved to 3-4. Kenichi Takahashi added 13 points to help the Tohoku club snap a three-game losing streak.
The Broncos (5-2) dropped their second straight contest. Power forward Reggie Warren paced Saitama with 19 points, Antoine Broxsie poured in 12 and Taishiro Shimizu and Steve Horne scored 11 apiece. Yuki Kitamuki, who had scored 90 points in the past four games, was held to two points.
The Oita HeatDevils, meanwhile, improved to 2-5 by beating the host Shiga Lakestars 66-65. Shooting guard Kimitake Sato drained a buzzer-beating shot to give Oita the win.
HeatDevils coach Tadaharu Ogawa called a 60-second timeout with 9 seconds remaining and his team trailing 65-64.
Sato was Oita’s top scorer with 18 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds. David Reichel added 16 points and Jeffrey Price finished with a double-double (13 points, 18 rebounds) in the series opener.
Shiga (2-5) staged a spirited comeback. The Lakestars trailed 58-48 with 6:52 to play in the fourth, but tied it at 64-64 on the first of two Bobby Nash free throws. Nash was the top scorer for Shiga with 21 points, while Ryan Rourke contributed 13 and Takamichi Fujiwara had 10.
The Niigata Albirex BB won their third straight game, topping the visiting Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix 99-90. Both teams are 4-3, or one game behind Saitama in the Eastern Conference standings. The idle Tokyo Apache, who have a bye week, are 3-3.
Center Dokun Akingbade, a native of Nigeria, had his best game in an Albirex uniform, scoring 30 points and grabbing a season-high 19 boards. He has scored 26 or more points in four of the last five games. Akitomo Takeno added 23 points, Calvin Chitwood had 18 and Yuichi Ikeda 11 for the victors.
For the Phoenix, Michael Gardener had a 24-point, nine-assist effort, while Josh Peppers chipped in with 22 points and 236-cm center Sun Ming Ming had his second straight 15-point game.
Led by two-time MVP Lynn Washington’s 30-point, nine-rebound, seven-assist performance, the host Osaka Evessa downed the Rizing Fukuoka 95-84.
Osaka (5-2) also received a 13-rebound effort from hard-nosed forward Kazuya Hatano, who also had nine points. Nile Murry added 21 points and eight assists, while Naoto Nakamura (11 points) and Nick DeWitz (10) helped coach Kensaku Tennichi’s team have a well-balanced offense attack in the opener.
The Rizing fell to 1-6 despite 22 points from Michael Parker and 21 from guard Marlyn Bryant in his bj-league debut. Tsuyoshi Kawazura added 12 points and Toshiyuki Chijiiwa 10 in defeat.