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Joho’s heroics carry Tokyo to OT triumph

by Ed Odeven

Clutch shooting never goes out of style.

Masashi Joho provided a perfect reminder of this timeless adage at Ariake Colosseum on Saturday night.

The Tokyo Apache shooting guard drained Three free throws with 2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to force overtime against the Saitama Broncos.

In the bonus period, Joho then nailed a key 3-pointer, shattering the deadlock and helping Tokyo defeat Saitama 98-92.

After Joho’s 3-pointer, the first points of OT, teammate John Humphrey made two foul shots to give the Apache an 86-81 lead at the 2:14 mark. Saitama never regained the lead.

Humphrey led all players with 29 points. Joho finished with 22, Nick Davis added 16 points and 18 rebounds and Cohey Aoki handed out six assists to his high-scoring teammates as the Eastern Conference leaders improved to 17-8.

Taishiro Shimizu scored 20 points for Saitama (11-14), while Reggie Warren had a double-double (19 points, 20 rebounds), Antoine Broxsie chipped in with 17, Kazuhiro Shoji had 14 and Yuki Kitamuki 13.

Also Saturday, the Shiga Lakestars improved to 2-1 against the Ryukyu Golden Kings this season, earning an 85-72 road win over the league’s top team.

Bobby Nash scored a game-high 24 points for the expansion Lakestars (11-14), who also got 16 points from Brayden Billbe, 13 from Ryan Rourke and 11 from Yosuke Machida. Takamichi Fujiwara provided steady production at the point, including five assists.

Shiga outscored the Golden Kings 32-20 in the fourth quarter.

Bryan Simpson was the No. 1 scorer for Ryukyu (20-5), finishing with 15 points. Chris Ayer had 14.

Defensively, the Lakestars did a fine job holding Naoto Takushi, coming off a 30-point game on Jan. 11, to 10 points, and All-Star center Jeff Newton to seven (he’s averaging 19.3).

Balanced scoring carried the Takamatsu Five Arrows to a 92-74 win over the visiting Rizing Fukuoka.

George Leach had a 23-point outing and was one of five double-digit scorers for the Five Arrows (16-9). Matt Garrison poured in 16 points and Kazuyuki Nakagawa added 15 points in his season debut.

For Fukuoka (10-15), Michael Parker had 20 points and Reo Logan contributed 17.

Elsewhere, Justen Naughton made a buzzer-beating shot to lift the Osaka Evessa to a 78-76 home win over the Oita HeatDevils.

The Evessa (16-9) trailed 63-53 early in the fourth quarter, but used an 11-0 run, capped by a Nile Murry 3-pointer, to regain the lead with 7:17 left.

Jeffrey Price, however, tied it at 76-76 with 10 seconds remaining. Osaka then called a timeout and set up its final possession.

Murry led the Evessa with 24 points, Lynn Washington had 23 and 10 rebounds, Eric Walton poured in 12 and Ryuichi Horikawa, who had five points all season prior to the game, added nine.

Price was Oita’s top scorer (19 points). David Reichel added 14 and Tsubasa Yonamine and Hiroki Sato had 11 apiece for the HeatDevils (5-20).

The Sendai 89ers cruised to a 91-79 road win over the Niigata Albirex BB and improved to 12-13.

Led by Bobby St. Preux’s game-high 23 points, four 89ers scored in double figures, including Chris Holm (17) and Kenichi Takahashi (15). St. Preux and Takahashi both knocked down three 3-pointers.

St. Preux also had eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. Holm, the league’s top rebounder, continued his stellar work on the glass, pulling down 18 rebounds and eight of the team’s 15 offensive boards. Takahashi dished out six assists, while Takehiko Shimura and Rashad Tucker had five apiece.

Sendai led 41-34 at halftime and extended its lead to 70-52 after three quarters.

For Niigata, which fell to 10-15 overall and 0-3 against the 89ers, big man Dokun Akingbade had a 22-point, 22-rebound effort.

The Albirex shot 6-for-24 from 3-point range and committed 15 turnovers.

Michael Gardener had 30 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix cruised to a 94-75 road win over the Toyama Grouses.

Hamamatsu (15-10) has won seven straight games.

Babacar Camara led Toyama (7-18) with 19 points.