Ryukyu Golden Kings point guard Tsubasa Yonamine, one of the bj-league’s most cerebral floor leaders, is playing at a high level these days. He has dished out 35 assists in the past four games, including nine on Saturday as coach Dai Oketani’s club defeated the visiting Rizing Fukuoka 106-95 to collect its third win in that span.
All-Star Jeff Newton paced Ryukyu (23-14) with 24 points and 15 rebounds and Carlos Dixon added 22 points, eight boards and three blocked shots, while Anthony McHenry’s all-around effort (16 points, eight boards, five assists) and Shigeyuki Kinjo’s 16 points helped the Golden Kings stay tied with rival Osaka Evessa atop the Western Conference standings.
Yonamine also scored 10 points and Ryukyu led by 20 points entering the fourth quarter in Uruma, Okinawa Prefecture.
Brazilian big man Thiago Cordeiro scored 19 points along with 11 rebounds and Jun Nakanishi and Michael Parker each had 16 points for the Rizing (21-16). Nile Murry added 13 points and Akitomo Takeno had 10 points and four assists.
Evessa 75, Susanoo Magic 65
In Tottori, Osaka committed only five turnovers in a low-scoring game against Shimane.
The Evessa, led by Billy Knight’s 22 points, Lynn Washington’s 16 and Lawrence Blackledge’s 15-point, 15-rebound game, won for the fifth time in as many games against the Susanoo Magic (17-20), a first-year club.
Reggie Golson paced Shimane with 22 points and Takumi Ishizaki had 13. Coming off a two-game sweep against Oita in which he had 12 blocks, Magic center Jeral Davis had zero blocks in the opener against the Evessa. Shimane also hurt its cause at the free-throw line (7-for-16).
Phoenix 98, Happinets 81
In Akita, Wayne Arnold’s 34-point outing and Jermaine Dixon’s 23 points sparked defending champion Hamamatsu Higashimikawa to a lopsided win over the hosts.
The Phoenix, who have already clinched a playoff spot, improved to a league-best 33-4 overall, 17-2 on the road.
Former University of North Carolina player Will Graves had 30 points and nine boards for Akita (11-26) in his highest scoring game since joining the club last month. Paul Butorac scored 12 points and Sek Henry had 11.
Lakestars 87, Apache 81
In Yasu, Shiga Prefecture, Lamar Rice scored 22 points and Josh Peppers had 16 as the Lakestars picked up a win in Mikey Marshall’s return to the rotation after a four-game absence due to an injury.
Shiga’s Masashi Joho scored 13 points against his former club and Marshall had 11 points off the bench. The Lakestars improved to 21-16.
Gary Hamilton grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds for Shiga and scored nine points.
The Lakestars were 16-for-17 from the free-throw line and outrebounded Tokyo 52-38.
The Apache made 11 of 23 foul shots.
Newcomer Justin Johnson had three points on 1-for-5 shooting from the field in his first game for Tokyo (19-12). The University of Iowa product also missed all five of his shots from the charity stripe.
Apache forward Jeremy Tyler had a team-best 18 points on 9-for-13 shooting for Tokyo in 15-plus minutes and center Robert Swift scored 17. Michael Chappell scored 13 and Jumpei Nakama and Kensuke Tanaka had 10 apiece.
89ers 74, Broncos 63
In Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture, Mac Hopson’s 19-point, seven-rebound, six-assist, three-steal effort helped guide visiting Sendai to a win over its Eastern Conference rival.
Forward Mike Bell finished with 17 points and eight boards and center Chris Holm had a strong effort as well, pouring in 15 points and pulling down 19 rebounds (nine offensive boards) for the 89ers (23-12).
Six Sendai players had two or more assists, fulfilling coach Honoo Hamaguchi’s perpetual demands to play team-first basketball.
For the struggling Broncos (14-23), George Leach notched a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds), Gordon Klaiber had 12 points and Bobby Nash and Yuki Kitamuki scored 10.
Saitama, which was 3-for-18 from 3-point range, trailed 56-35 entering the fourth quarter.
Hannaryz 96, Shining Suns 90
In Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture, Wendell White scored 18 points and Naoto Nakamura and Mahmoud Abdul—Rauf each had 14 as Kyoto won the series opener.
Abdul-Rauf, a former NBA standout, added six assists a day after his 42nd birthday. Taizo Kawabe scored 11 points, Michael Fey had 10 and Reggie Warren finished with nine points and 11 rebounds for the Hannaryz (19-18).
Jackie Manuel paced Miyazaki (12-25) with 27 points and Elijah Palmer and Taishiro Shimizu each had 14. Shimizu also handed out nine assists.
Albirex 86, Grouses 61
In Toyama, Shuhei Komatsu scored 16 points and Issa Konare and Willie Veasley had 14 apiece to lead Niigata to a blowout win on the road.
Naoto Takushi added 13 points and Zach Andrews hauled in 13 rebounds for the Albirex (19-16), who made 10 steals, including four by Nick DeWitz and two by Takushi.
For Toyama (11-24), Brian Harper had 20 points along with 17 boards. The Grouses shot 21-for-56 from the floor and had 19 turnovers.
HeatDevils 78, Five Arrows 57
In Takamatsu, Kimitake Sato and Damian Johnson both scored 17 points and Taj Finger added 14 points and collected 14 rebounds as Oita trounced the hosts.
Matt Lottich scored 11 points and Cyrus Tate added 10 points and 11 boards for the HeatDevils (16-21).
Jeffrey Price led the Five Arrows (8-29) with 17 points, Terrance Farley had 11 and Hiroyuki Kikuchi scored 10. Takamatsu was 21-for-69 from the field.