The Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix chalked up their league-best 25th victory of the season on Saturday night, beating the host Saitama Broncos 79-69.
Wendell White scored a team-high 29 points,including 10-for-12 at the foul line, and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Eastern Conference’s best team, which outscored Saitama 24-7 in the fourth quarter to put an emphatic finish to its 31st game of the 2009-10 bj-league season.
Wayne Arnold added 12 points and Jermaine Green and Masahiro Oguchi scored nine apiece for the Phoenix.
The Broncos (11-18) were led by Terrance Woodyard’s 18-point, eight-rebound effort. Kwbana Beckles had 10 points and Mario Jointer dished out seven assists for struggling Saitama, which is on pace to miss the playoffs for the fifth straight.
The Broncos led 29-18 after the first quarter and 44-40 at halftime, but didn’t have enough offensive firepower in the second half to hold off ultra-tough Hamamatsu.
Elsewhere Saturday, Gyno Pomare scored 22 points on 10-for-12 shooting, All-Star center Chris Holm finished with 16 points, 18 boards, three steals and two blocks and Kenichi Takahashi pumped in 14 points in the visiting Sendai 89ers’ 75-58 win over the Toyama Grouses.
Sendai improved to 19-12, the second-best record in the East.
Coming off an 85-45 loss to the Phoenix on Feb. 14, the Grouses again struggled to put points on the board. They trailed 49-27 with 6 minutes remaining in the third quarter against Sendai, with Jason Arbet’s seven points leading the team at that point.
Kirby Lemons and Arbet both scored 11 points for Toyama (12-17), while Kenya Tomori had 10.
The Grouses failed to score 20 or more points in all four quarters, getting 11, 15, 13 and 19 in this one-sided contest. And they missed 10 of their 19 free throws to make matters worse. The visiting Takamatsu Five Arrows won an old-fashioned fourth-quarter shootout en route to a 106-97 win over the Oita HeatDevils.
Takamatsu (10-21) outscored Oita 35-30 in the final period.
High-energy guard Michael Gardener paced the Five Arrows with 36 points and 14 assists, Yu Okada scored 21 and Terrance Farley had 17 points and 18 rebounds. Satoshi Takeda scored 16 and corralled seven rebounds and Kazuhiro Shoji and Antoine Broxsie had eight points apiece for veteran bench boss John Neumann’s club.
Ricky Woods was the high scorer for the HeatDevils with 26 points. He also had 14 rebounds and six assists. Teammate Mike Bell had 20 points, 11 boards and five assists, while Matt Lottich scored 19, Kimitake Sato added 15 and Yukinori Suzuki had nine.
Oita slipped to 14-19.
Michael Parker scored a game-high 28 points in the Rizing Fukuoka’s 78-67 home win over the Kyoto Hannaryz.
Parker had 16 first-quarter points, helping the Rizing build a 28-8 cushion entering the second period.
Marlyn Bryant, Thiago Cordeiro and Sylvester Morgan each had eight points apiece for Fukuoka (20-13), while Tsuyoshi Kawazura handed out five assists and Masahiro Kanou had four.
For Kyoto (11-18), Taizo Kawabe scored 13 points, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf finished with 12 and seven assists and Naoto Takushi had an 11-point outing.
A strong fourth-quarter offensive effort carried the visiting Niigata Albirex BB to a 94-81 win over the Ryukyu Golden Kings.
Antonio Burks led the Albirex (17-14) with 27 points, including 5-for-11 from 3-point range, and Akitomo Takeno scored 18, while Tyrone Levett had a 15-point, nine-rebound effort and Uche Echefu chipped in with a double-double (13 points, 12 boards).
Yuichi Ikeda scored nine points and Calvin Chitwood hauled in 10 rebounds in Niigata’s well-rounded victory.
The Albirex outscored the defending champions 25-12 in the decisive fourth quarter.
Niigata also held a 52-39 edge in rebounds.
Point guard Tsubasa Yonamine scored a season-high 25 points for the Golden Kings (21-12). He drained 5 of 10 3-point shots.
Yosuke Sugawara added 17 points and Bryan Simpson scored 11 for Ryukyu.