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White, Knight ignite Phoenix to easy win

by Ed Odeven

Sometimes nicknames are created in the blink of an eye.

While watching the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix defeat the Tokyo Apache earlier this season, one veteran sports journalist called it the “White and Knight Show.”

Wendell White and William Knight — the Phoenix’s dynamic duo — provided a spark again on Saturday, leading the visitors to a 102-88 win over the Niigata Albirex BB.

Knight, a former UCLA player, finished with a game-high 32 points and eight rebounds and White, a UNLV product, added 25 points, 14 boards and five steals as Hamamatsu improved to 8-1, the best record in the bj-league’s Eastern Conference. Shingo Okada scored 11 points and handed out five assists and Johann Collins had a 10-point game.

The Phoenix controlled the tempo after intermission, outscoring the Albirex 62-39.

Yuichi Ikeda paced Niigata with 21 points, followed by Paul Butorac (15 points, 11 boards) and Tyrone Levett and Akitomo Takeno (13 points apiece).

The Albirex fell to 2-7.

Elsewhere in the bj-league, the host Saitama Broncos recorded their fourth straight victory by beating the Tokyo Apache 76-72.

Andrew Arnold finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds for Saitama (4-7), while Terrence Woodyard chipped in with 13 points and 10 boards and Yuki Kitamuki had an 11-point outing.

For the Apache, who lost their third straight game, Julius Ashby had a team-best 25 points. Rasheed Sparks added 16 points and 11 rebounds for Tokyo (4-7) and Cohey Aoki had a 13-point, five-assist effort. Veteran big man Nick Davis did not play. In his absence, forward Tomoya Nakamura pulled down a season-high 13 rebounds— he had entered the game with six total rebounds this season in limited playing time — to go along with eight points.

Michael Parker scored 34 points and hauled in 11 rebounds and Tsuyoshi Kawazura’s 13-point, eight-rebound, five-assist effort guided the Rizing Fukuoka to an 80-74 home win over the Takamatsu Five Arrows.

Isaiah Fox made his presence felt in the paint, collecting 14 boards for the Rizing (6-5).

Takamatsu’s Yu Okada had 23 points and backcourt mate Michael Gardener flirted with a triple-double (13 points, nine boards, nine assists), while Antoine Broxsie grabbed 17 rebounds and scored nine points.

The Five Arrows fell to 2-9.

Takeshi Mito’s go-ahead basket with 13 seconds remaining propelled the visiting Toyama Grouses to a 66-63 win over the Sendai 89ers.

Mito’s basket gave the Grouses (5-2) a 64-63 lead. Teammate Kevin Steenberge sank two free throws with 2 seconds left to account for the game’s final points.

Jason Arbet was Toyama’s No. 1 scorer, finishing with 16 points. Mito had 14, Steenberge pumped in 12 and Jason Underwood had 10. Brandon Thomas provided a seven-point, 16-board, eight-assist, six-steal effort.

Kenichi Takahashi finished with 19 points for Sendai (8-3), which lost its first home game of the season. Center Chris Holms added 14 points and 16 boards and Demetrius Guions dished out 11 assists in defeat.

The Osaka Evessa, meanwhile, improved to 5-4 with an 87-85 triumph over the visiting Kyoto Hannaryz.

Lynn Washington paced the Evessa with 21 points and 11 boards and Nile Murray had an 18-point, 10-assist effort.

Reda Rhalimi was the top scorer (22 points) for Kyoto, Jun Iwasa had 20 points and Taizo Kawabe 18. Ex-NBA guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, the expansion Hannaryz’s leading scorer at 18.1 points per game, missed his first game of the season.

Kyoto (3-6) lost its fourth straight game.

Also Saturday, the Oita HeatDevils defeated the host Shiga Lakestars 73-63.

Mike Bell had 22 points in the win and Ricky Woods scored 21 for Oita (4-5).

Masashi Joho finished with a team-high 21 points for Shiga, which dropped to 1-4 without point guard Takamichi Fujiwara, who sustained a shoulder injury last month.

Bobby Nash and Gary Hamilton added 10 points apiece for the Lakestars, who fell to 7-6 overall.