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Newton leads the way as Ryukyu tops Osaka

by Ed Odeven

Jeff Newton, this season’s leading MVP candidate in the bj-league, lived up to his reputation on Saturday afternoon in Kansai.

Newton scored a buzzer-beater to lift the Ryukyu Golden Kings to a 91-89 triumph over the host Osaka Evessa.

The Golden Kings called a timeout with 3 seconds remaining to draw up a final play.

Newton posted his 19th double-double of the season, finishing with 17 points and 11 rebounds to help Ryukyu improve their record to a league-best 22-5.

The Golden Kings have now gone 5-0 against the three-time defending league champions this season. Newton previously played for Osaka before joining Ryukyu in the offseason.

Sharpshooter Shigeyuki Kinjo scored a team-high 23 points for the Golden Kings, while Anthony McHenry had 16 and Chris Ayer and Naoto Takushi added 12 apiece.

Lynn Washington’s 30 points were not enough for Osaka (17-10), which also got 17 points from Nile Murry and 13 from Kazuya Hatano.

The host Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix won their ninth straight game, routing the Tokyo Apache 115-78.

Michael Gardener fell one assist shy of a triple-double. He scored a game-high 24 points and also grabbed 14 boards. Takeshi Hotta added 18 points and Marcus Morrison had 17 in the runaway victory.

Hamamatsu (17-10) has won four of five meetings against Tokyo.

Nick Davis’ 16 points paced the Apache (18-9), who played their first game without scoring ace John Humphrey since he was diagnosed with a broken left wrist.

Led by Chris Holm’s 19-point, 17-rebound effort and All-Star Game MVP Bobby St. Preux’s 18-point output, the Sendai 89ers defeated the visiting Toyama Grouses 81-67.

All-Star forward Rodney Webb had 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists in his first game with Sendai (13-14), which had five players score in double figures. He previously played for the Grouses.

Jerod Ward pumped in 16 points for Toyama, which fell to 7-20.

Steve Horne scored 23 points and Taishiro Shimizu contributed 18 and six assists to lead the host Saitama Broncos to a 74-68 win over the Niigata Albirex BB.

Reggie Warren (17 points, 15 rebounds) and Antoine Broxsie (14 boards) provided the frontcourt production needed for the Broncos (12-16) to move back into the victory column after six straight defeats and salvage a split in the series.

Akitomo Takeno (17 points), Dokun Akingbade (14) and Yuichi Ikeda (14) were the top scorers for the Albirex (12-16).

The visiting Takamatsu Five Arrows, meanwhile, opened the second half of the season in style, edging the Shiga Lakestars 78-70.

Veterans Matt Garrison and Rasheed Sparks gave Takamatsu a big offensive boost, with 21 and 17 points, respectively. Garrison also collected 10 rebounds, while Kazuyuki Nakagawa had 14 points.

Garrison and Yu Okada hit back-to-back 3-pointers during a decisive run for the Five Arrows, putting them ahead 11 points with 1:56 to play.

Despite Ryan Rourke’s 20 points, Shiga fell to 11-16.

The host Rizing Fukuoka (12-16) handed the Oita HeatDevils (5-23) an 87-76 defeat.