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Washington sets tone for dominant Evessa

by Ed Odeven

The three-time defending champion Osaka Evessa completed a weekend sweep on Sunday with an 88-83 home triumph over the Takamatsu Five Arrows.

As expected, two-time MVP Lynn Washington, a former Indiana University player under Bob Knight, the NCAA’s winningest Division I coach, set the tone for the Evessa. Washington had 28 points and 10 rebounds in this marquee bj-league matchup.

Nile Murry added a triple-double (19 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) and Ryan Blackwell scored 20 and grabbed 10 boards for Osaka (33-17), while Shota Konno scored 11 and Jun Nakanishi contributed eight.

Babacar Camara paced the Five Arrows with 25 points. Yu Okada had a 21-point, six-assist afternoon for Takamatsu (32-18).

The host Sendai 89ers, meanwhile, earned a weekend split, topping the Tokyo Apache 82-71.

All-Star forward Bobby St. Preux led all scorers with 26 points and added five rebounds and five assists for good measure, while 89ers teammate Josh Peppers poured in 19 points. Rodney Webb had 12 points and Kenichi Takahashi scored 11 and handed out six assists for Sendai (29-21).

For Tokyo (31-19), John Humphrey had a team-best 17 points, Dameion Baker finished with 16 and Masashi Joho 12.

Also Sunday, the Ryukyu Golden Kings defeated the host Oita HeatDevils 94-72 to complete a two-game sweep.

Veteran forward Taketo Aoki scored a team-best and season-high 18 points for Ryukyu (39-11). Aoki was 6-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Bryan Simpson added 16 points and 14 boards, Naoto Takushi had 15 points and versatile forward Anthony McHenry provided 11 points, 14 rebounds and six assists for the league’s best team.

James Wilkinson led Oita (8-42) with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Swingman Marcus Morrison scored 32 points and pulled down 15 rebounds in the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix’s 92-78 win over the visiting Saitama Broncos.

Morrison had a 45-point performance in the series opener. Hamamatsu, the Eastern Conference’s first-place team, won both games and improved to 34-16.

The Phoenix received plenty of scoring from other players, too. Shingo Okada had 16 points, Stanley Ocitti contributed 14 and Michael Gardener added 12 and dished out eight assists.

Steve Horne was the No. 1 scorer for Saitama (19-31), finishing with 27 points. Teammates Kazuhiro Shoji and Daiki Terashita had 13 and 12 points, respectively.

The host Niigata Albirex BB bounced back from Saturday’s three-point loss and beat the Toyama Grouses 101-82 in the series finale.

Antonio Burks (19 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists) and Yuichi Ikeda (18 points) led five Albirex scorers in double figures.

Niigata improved to 24-26.

Former University of Michigan player Jerod Ward, coming off a 47-point game, had 29 points in the loss. Terrence Woodyard added 24 points and Takeshi Mito had 15 for Toyama (11-39).

Bobby Nash had a game-high 30 points in the Shiga Lakestars’ 97-64 win over the visiting Rizing Fukuoka.

Ryan Rourke added 20 points for Shiga, an expansion team, which went 10-16 at home in its inaugural season. Coach Bob Pierce’s team is 19-31 entering the final week of the regular season.

Marlyn Bryant finished with a team-best 24 points for Fukuoka, which slipped to 21-29.

Rizing All-Star forward Michael Parker, the league’s leading scorer at 26.8 points per game, did not play