After losing to the Ryukyu Golden Kings in the bj-league’s playoff semifinals last May, Osaka Evessa forward Lynn Washington, a member of the team’s three championship squads in the league’s first three seasons, spoke about the team’s desire to use that game as motivation for the coming season.
On Saturday, the Evessa gained a small measure of revenge against the defending champions in Okinawa.
Washington sank two free throws with 8 seconds remaining to lead Osaka to a 74-73 triumph over Ryukyu.
The Evessa (7-4) have won two out of three games against the Golden Kings this season, and this victory was a true test of mettle for coach Kensaku Tennichi’s club, which trailed 65-60 entering the fourth quarter but held Ryukyu to eight points in the decisive period.
Nile Murry and David Palmer each scored 15 points for Osaka. Washington finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, while Waki Williams and Jun Nakanishi scored nine apiece.
Shigeyuki Kinjo had a game-high 21 points for the Golden Kings (6-3). Reigning regular-season and playoff MVP Jeff Newton, who scored 50 points in that memorable playoff contest at Ariake Colosseum, scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, but was 1-for-4 from the free-throw line. George Leach had a nine-point, 16-board effort and Yosuke Sugawara scored 10 points and collected seven rebounds.
The Takamatsu Five Arrows, meanwhile, have pieced together their first winning streak of the season.
Spitfire guard Michael Gardener scored 35 points and backcourt mate Yu Okada poured in 22 as the Five Arrows topped the visiting Oita HeatDevils 100-94 in overtime.
With 54 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Oita point guard Darin Satoshi Maki’s clutch basket tied it at 88-88 and forced overtime.
For Takamatsu (4-10), Shuichi Takada finished with 16 points, Satoshi Takeda added 11 and Terrance Farley had a 10-point, 10-rebound effort.
Gardener had five steals in both games against Oita. Okada, meanwhile, made 6 of 11 3s in the series finale
The Five Arrows opened the season with five straight losses, but have upgraded their roster in recent weeks and climbed out of last place on Saturday.
Ricky Woods led the HeatDevils (5-7) with 31 points and 20 boards, Rashaad Singleton had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Kimitake Sato had an 18-point effort.
Elsewhere, the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix improved to 10-1 with a 92-70 road win over the Toyama Grouses.
Wendell White’s 26 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists and four steals helped coach Kazuo Nakamura’s team widen its lead in the Eastern Conference standings. William Knight added 23 points.
The Phoenix outscored the Grouses 33-17 in the second quarter and 31-18 in the final stanza.
Toyama dropped to 5-4.
Kirby Lemons led the hosts with 26 points and pulled down eight boards. Takeshi Mito finished with 11 points.
Kohei Mitomo and Marlyn Bryant scored 22 points apiece as the Rizing Fukuoka defeated the host Kyoto Hannaryz 91-85.
Richard Ford Jr. scored 18 points, Michael Parker had 14 and Isaiah Fox pulled down 12 rebounds to help the Rizing improve to 8-5.
Kyoto, an expansion team, lost its sixth straight game and shot 3-for-20 from 3-point range.
Josh Bostic paced the last-place Hannaryz (3-8) with 32 points and 11 boards. Reda Rhalimi finished with 18 points, Naoto Takushi had 12 and Taizo Kawabe 11.
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who missed last weekend’s games due to the flu, returned to the rotation for Kyoto but only had two rebounds and one assist in a scoreless outing. Entering the game, he was the team’s leading scorer (18.1 points per game). The 40-year-old former NBA guard was 0-for-7 from the field in 16 minutes.
Led by Kwbana Beckles’ 16-point effort and Terrence Roberts’ 14, the host Saitama Broncos edged the Sendai 89ers 74-67.
Andrew Arnold chipped in with 12 points and Yuki Kitamuki supplied 11 points and six assists for the Broncos (5-8).
Demetrius Guions scored a team-best 18 points for Sendai (9-4, including 2-3 on the road). Chris Holm had 13 points and Kenichi Takahashi 12.