Woods stamps name on HeatDevils victory

by Ed Odeven

Oita Prefecture is well-known for its abundance of hot springs. But that doesn’t mean than that swingman Ricky Woods, the Oita HeatDevils’ leading scorer, won’t become a major tourist attraction himself.

Woods’ 40 points led the host HeatDevils to an 83-75 victory on Sunday, a day after he torched the Niigata Albirex BB for 44 points in the series opener.

Oita (11-15) earned a series sweep and with it a boost in confidence and a reminder to the rest of the bj-league’s coaches they will need to pay attention to Woods at all times.

Woods was scoring option 1 and 1A for the HeatDevils in this clash of non-conference foes. He attempted 22 shots (14 makes from the field). He also spent a lot of time at the free-throw line (12-for-21) and finished with 15 rebounds and four steals. And by now, his fingerprints are probably permanently tattooed to the game ball.

Mike Bell finished with 22 points and 13 boards for Oita, which outscored Niigata 21-11 in the fourth quarter. Matt Lottich added nine points and four assists and Yukinori Suzuki handed out six assists.

For the Albirex (11-13), Paul Butorac was the top scorer with 18 points to go along with nine rebounds. Teammate Yuichi Ikeda had a 15-point, four-assist effort, Tyrone Levett scored 13 and Antonio Burks had 12.

Michael Parker’s routine brilliance — 26 points and 15 rebounds — steered the Rizing Fukuoka to a 95-76 road win over the Saitama Broncos.

Marlyn Bryant contributed 19 points for Fukuoka (18-10) and Richard Ford Jr. had a busy afternoon as well, finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Kohei Mitomo added 11 points, and the Rizing improved to 13-4 when he scores in double digits this season.

Terrence Roberts had a team-best 20 points and 12 rebounds for Saitama (10-14). Yasuaki Arai added 15 points and Taishiro Shimizu dished out eight assists.

Balanced scoring lifted the Ryukyu Golden Kings to a 76-63 road win over the Toyama Grouses.

In the series opener, the defending champion Golden Kings were held to 19 first-half points and a season-low 60 points. Their offense returned to form in the rematch as they jumped out to a 21-9 lead after one quarter.

Jeff Newton (20 points, 18 rebounds), George Leach (17 points, nine rebounds) and Anthony McHenry (12 points, 11 rebounds, five assists), Bryan Simpson and Tsubasa Yonamine (11 points apiece) delivered a classic treatise in a championship team showing its true mettle, aided ably by Yosuke Sugawara’s five-point, six-rebound effort. Ryukyu improved to 19-7, the best record in the Western Conference.

For Toyama, Kirby Lemons filled the stat sheet with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Teammates Takeshi Mito, Makoto Kato and Brandon Thomas added 10 points apiece for the Grouses (10-12).

Five Sendai 89ers players scored in double figures to lead the team to an 88-71 road win over the Shiga Lakestars.

Gyno Pomare paced the 89ers (16-10) with 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Demetrius Guions and Josh Peppers pumped in 14 points apiece, while Kenichi Takahashi and Chris Holm each had 12 and Takehiko Shimura scored 10.

Bobby Nash, a former University of Hawaii player, was Shiga’s leading scorer (19 points). Masashi Joho and Ray Schafer both scored 17 and Chris Schlatter had 16 for the Lakestars (13-15).

Shiga standout Gary Hamilton, the team’s starting power forward, served a one-game suspension due to a punching foul and ejection on Saturday.