For the Sendai 89ers, unselfish team play has been a key to their success this season.
That characteristic was once again on display on Saturday in the 89ers’ 100-78 home victory over the Toyama Grouses. With the win, coach Honoo Hamaguchi’s bj-league club extended its winning streak to eight games.
Sendai had eight players with two or more assists, led by Kenichi Takahashi’s four.
Josh Peppers scored 18 points for the 89ers, who improved to 25-12. The 89ers made 10 of 23 3-point shots, including 4-for-5 by Takahashi, who had a 17-point performance. Demetrius Guions added 15 points and Nick DeWitz and Gyno Pomare scored 13 apiece. All-Star center Chris Holm had 10 points and 16 rebounds.
The 89ers scored 62 second-half points.
At halftime, the scoreboard read Saitama 38, Toyama 38.
For the Grouses (14-23), Brian Harper had team-high totals in points (19) and rebounds (10).
Elsewhere Saturday, Mikey Marshall scored a game-high 34 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and made three steals and Gary Hamilton had 16 points, 20 boards and five assists in the Shiga Lakestars’ 93-75 home win over the Rizing Fukuoka.
From the get-go, it was a one-sided contest, as the Western Conference’s fourth-placed team overpowered the West’s second-place squad.
Marshall scored seven of the Lakestars’ first 10 points and the Rizing trailed 28-13 after one quarter and 54-28 at halftime.
Shiga (22-19) played without starting center Ray Schaefer, whose wife Sarah gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, on Saturday in Japan.
“I think the guys pulling together in Ray’s absence is why we won,” Lakestars coach Bob Pierce said. “No one wanted to have to apologize for losing on the day the twins were born.”
Masashi Joho chipped in with 16 points, Chris Schlatter had 11 and Luke Zeller added eight points and eight rebounds for the hosts.
Shiga made 19 of 25 free throws to help its cause.
For Fukuoka (23-16), Michael Parker scored 22 points and Thiago Cordeiro had 14, while Kohei Mitomo added 11 and six assists.
Ricky Woods scored 42 points and Matt Lottich and Mike Bell had 18 points apiece in the Oita HeatDevils’ 98-85 home win over the Takamatsu Five Arrows.
Woods, who had 37 points by the end of the third quarter, is the league’s second-leading scorer (25.4 points per game). He was 12-for-15 at the free-throw line and pulled down nine rebounds. Bell led the HeatDevils (19-22) with 20 boards. Center Rashaad Singleton added 10 rebounds and three blocked shots off the bench.
Jeffrey Price had a 28-point performance for the Five Arrows (11-28). Yu Okada scored 12 points, but was 5-for-21 from the field, including 2-for-13 from 3-point range.
Jason Klotz scored 17 points and Ryan Blackwell added 16 in the Osaka Evessa’s 80-61 win over the visiting Kyoto Hannaryz.
David Palmer and Lynn Washington each scored 11 for the Evessa (21-16).
The Hannaryz led 31-30 at the half, but Osaka pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the expansion club 28-13.
Washington, a two-time bj-league MVP, returned to rotation after a three-game absence due to a leg injury. He came off the bench and played 16 minutes. He had six rebounds, one steal and one block.
Nile Murry added nine points and five assists for Osaka, and Jun Nakanishi scored eight and made three steals.
For Kyoto, J.R. Inman was the top scorer (15 points), while Reda Rhalimi had 14 and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf pumped in nine. Naoto Takushi had eight points for the Hannaryz (14-23).
Kyoto made 18 turnovers and shot 22-for-64 from the field in defeat.