For whatever reason, the Tokyo Apache have had the Sendai 89ers’ number this season.
That trend continued on Saturday.
The visiting Apache routed the 89ers 103-83 and improved to 6-1 against their Eastern Conference rival.
Six Tokyo players scored in double figures, led by Cohey Aoki and Julius Ashby with 18 apiece, and eight Apache players had two or more assists, including John Humphrey with five.
Five Sendai players reached double digits in points, including Josh Peppers with 24 and Bobby St. Preux with 17. Six 89ers had two or more assists in this crowd-pleasing bj-league contest.
Tokyo (31-18), the No. 2 team in the East, outscored the hosts 26-10 in the opening quarter and took a 52-36 lead into halftime.
The Apache, who led by as many as 30 points in the final quarter, held Sendai center Chris Holm, the league’s leading rebounder, to 10 points and 10 boards. Ashby also pulled down 10 rebounds.
Sendai, the East’s third-place team, dropped to 28-21.
In Saturday’s other game involving second- and third-place teams entering the weekend, Lynn Washington scored 35 points and Nile Murry added 28 to lead the host Osaka Evessa to a 109-83 win over the Takamatsu Five Arrows.
The teams now have identical 32-17 records.
Ryan Blackwell chipped in with 11 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Evessa and Shota Konno had a season-best 14-game performance.
Babacar Camara paced the Five Arrows with 29 points and 12 boards, while Rasheed Sparks scored 17.
Elsewhere, Michael Parker finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds and Kohei Mitomo added 20 points in the Rizing Fukuoka’s 74-67 road win over the Shiga Lakestars.
Marcus Morrison had a season-best 45-point performance in the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix’s 87-84 home win over the Saitama Broncos.
Michael Gardener, who had scored 40 more more points in three of the previous five games, added 13 points for Hamamatsu (33-16).
Taishiro Shimizu led the Broncos (19-30) with 28 points and eight assists.
Saitama played without All-Star power forward Reggie Warren, who broke his nose last weekend in a game.
Also Saturday, led by Chris Ayer’s 22-point, 13-rebound effort, the Ryukyu Golden Kings beat the host Oita HeatDevils 82-71.
Sharpshooter Shigeyuki Kinjo added 14 points, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range, for Ryukyu. Naoto Takushi dished out seven assists in the win.
Jerod Ward scored 47 points and Terrence Woodyard scored the go-ahead basket with 19 seconds remaining in the Toyama Grouses’ 88-85 road win over the Niigata Albirex BB.
Ward also had 13 rebounds.