The Osaka Evessa have endured a week unlike any other in franchise history.
On Saturday, though, a familiar sight occurred at Sumiyoshi Sports Center: The Evessa walked off the court after the 40-minute game with a victory, edging the Shimane Susanoo Magic 83-76 without their fiery on-court leader and most recognizable player, power forward Lynn Washington.
Forward Mike Bell sparked the hosts with a 20-point, 13-rebound, five-assist, two-steal performance and Bobby St. Preux scored 17 for Osaka (27-12). Cohey Aoki and Wayne Marshall each had 14 points and Masashi Obuchi scored six.
Washington, a two-time MVP and linchpin of the team’s three championships, was arrested on Tuesday for his alleged involvement in smuggling marijuana into Japan from the United States. Washington’s wife, Dana, was arrested last month by Osaka Prefectural Police. According to media reports, a package containing marijuana sent to Japan in November was allegedly addressed to Dana Washington.
“It has been a long and emotional week,” Evessa coach Ryan Blackwell told The Japan Times after the game. “It’s an unfortunate situation with Lynn and his wife, Dana. They deny any allegations, and I believe them until proven otherwise.
“Regardless of the outcome, I won’t change my perception of them as being hard-working, loving parents and overall good human beings.”
He added: “As far as the game, we came out with a lot of energy and the fluidity of our offense was great for most of the game. We scored 20 or more points in all four quarters for the first time all season.”
Michael Parker scored a game-high 28 points for Shimane (21-20), Jeral Davis had 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots, B.J. Puckett scored 14 points and Jumpei Nakama added seven and handed out five assists. Edward Yamamoto had nine assists for the Magic.
“Defensively, we need to rebound a little better,” said Blackwell, noting Shimane’s 20 offensive boards, “and do a better job of keeping a body on Parker because he never stops moving.
“I believe we still have enough talent to win a championships and that remains our goal.”
Lakestars 80, 89ers 61
In Sendai, Shiga’s Josh Peppers scored 23 points and buried 5 of 6 3-point shots and three teammates also reached double figures in a lopsided victory over the hosts.
The Lakestars improved to 24-15. Dionisio Gomez scored 13 points, Ray Nixon poured in 11 and Shinya Ogawa had 10, while Julius Ashby and Bryant Markson scored eight apiece. Takamichi Fujiwara had six assists and four steals and Ogawa registered five assists.
Shiga hooting guard Yu Okada, who had two points on 1-for-8 shooting, is in a tough shooting slump, 0-for-13 on 3s in his past two games and 4-for-23 from beyond the arc since a 31-point outburst on Feb. 25.
The 89ers fell to 19-20.
Captain Takehiko “Take” Shimura paced Sendai with 19 points and seven rebounds, Johnny Dukes scores 12 and Rashaad Singleton and Dan Fitzgerald had seven apiece.
Sendai’s offense went cold in the fourth quarter.
Or as 89ers coach Bob Pierce put it: “Rashaad dunked the ball on our first possession of the fourth quarter, which left Shiga with a 53-51 lead. And then we didn’t make a single field goal the rest of the way, scoring only 10 more points, all on free throws (10-for-14 FTs) in the fourth quarter.”
Sendai’s total field-goal breakdown was as follows in the fourth: 0-for-10 on 3s and 1-for-6 on 2s.
Croatian forward Filip Toncinic sat out the game due to foot soreness.
“We certainly missed Filip today. Shiga has too much depth and talent to beat without playing hard for a full 40 minutes,” Pierce said. “They scored 13 points — almost half of their fourth-quarter 27 points — in the last 3 minutes when fatigue and lack of concentration caught up with us.”
On a bright note, Pierce said, “Take had a great game … and took advantage of the many scoring chances that we told him would be there. But everyone else struggled most of the night.”
Hannaryz 78, Big Bulls 69
In Kyoto, sharp passing and tight defense fueled the hosts to a win over Iwate.
Center Lance Allred handed out five assists, and point guard Kyosuke Setoyama matched him with the same number as the Hannaryz improved to 26-13.
Rick Rickert led Kyoto with 19 points and pulled down nine boards and dished out four assists, Jermaine Boyette added 18 points and Allred and Naoto Nakamura scored eight points apiece.
Makoto Sawaguchi had a team-best 16 points for the Big Bulls (11-30), Jamal Boykin scored 13 and Thomas Kennedy had 11. Shawn Malloy grabbed nine rebounds in the loss.
Northern Happinets 83, Brave Warriors 64
In Akita, Kyle Swanston sank five 3-pointers in a 19-point outing, Ricky Woods scored 17 points and the hosts routed Shinshu.
Kazuhiro Shoji provided 15 points, including 4-for-5 on 3s, for coach Kazuo Nakamura’s squad, while Woods supplied six assists for Akita (24-17, second place in the East).
Shinshu slipped to 15-24. Yosuke Saito scored 15 points for the Warriors, Lee Roberts had a double-double (13 points, 12 boards), Tadashi Utsunomiya added 12 points and Edward Morris scored 10.
Star guard Derek Raivio did not play for Shinshu, and the team had a whopping 31 turnovers.
Rizing 79, Five Arrows 76
In Marugame, Kagawa Prefecture, Carlos Dixon and Jermaine Dearman combined for 40 points as Fukuoka edged the lowly Five Arrows.
Dixon had 22 points and five assists and Dearman scored 18 for the Rizing (25-14). Gary Hamilton added 12 points, Akitomo Takeno scored eight and Kevin Palmer and Masahiro Kano both had seven.
For Takamatsu (2-37), Paul Butorac scored 22 points with 11 rebounds and Kevin Smith had 21 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists and five steals.
Golden Kings 87, Shining Suns 67
In Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, balanced scoring carried Ryukyu past Miyazaki in the series opener.
Seven Golden Kings players had double-digit scoring performance: Dzaflo Larkai (18 points, 7-for-10 shooting), Jeff Newton (12), Dillion Sneed and Naoto Kosuge (11) and Narito Namizato, David Palmer and Anthony McHenry (10).
The Golden Kings are now a league-best 33-8. McHenry, a Georgia Tech product, grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds before a crowd of 2,423.
O’Neal “Trey” Mims had 19 points and 10 boards for the Suns (18-23) and Darryl Dora scored 13 points. Taishiro Shimizu had an 11-point outing and Takuro Ito and Tsubasa Yonezawa both scored seven.
Albirex BB 103, Broncos 81
In Toyano, Niigata Prefecture, the hosts put 59 points on the board in the second half and cruised to victory in the series opener.
Nile Murray led the Albirex (23-18) with 24 points and seven assists and big man Chris Holm had 17 points with 18 boards, while Erron Maxey scored 21. Bennet Davis had 10 points. Kimitake Sato and Dwight Gordon had eight points apiece for Niigata. The Albirex out-rebounded their longtime rival 58-36. Niigata shot 8-for-14 on 3s and 33-for-64 from 2-point range, while also draining 13 of 14 free throws.
Kenny Satterfield paced Saitama (11-28) with 22 points and nine assists. Power forward John Flowers had 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Yuki Kitamuki scored 15 points and Jayme Miller had 11.
B-Corsairs 86, Grouses 78 (OT)
In Nanto, Toyama Prefecture, Justin Burrell’s 28-point, 10-rebound effort sparked Yokohama in an overtime win over the hosts.
Draelon Burns chipped in with 12 points and five assists and Chas McFarland had 11 points and nine rebounds for the B-Corsairs (21-20). Pape Faye Mour scored nine points for the first-year franchise, and Marcus Simmons poured in eight.
For Toyama, which suffered a third straight loss without All-Star guard Masashi Joho (pulled muscle), Devin Searcy had 19 points and nine rebounds, Brian Harper scored 18, Takeshi Mito provided 13 points, seven boards and seven assists and Ira Brown contributed 11 points.
Phoenix 83, Jets 72
In Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, the two-time defending champions picked up their 28th win of the season in game No. 41, getting solid production from several key players.
Wayne Arnold (22 points), Jermaine Dixon (17 points, six assists), Atsuya Ota (12 points, 10 boards) and Shoji Nakanishi (10 points) led Hamamatsu Higashimikawa to victory.
Maurice Hargrow was Chiba’s top scorer, finishing with 26 points and 10 rebounds; but also shot 2-for-10 from beyond the arc. Takaki Ishida added 14 points for the Jets (14-25), Jamel Staten scored 12 points and Kensuke Tanaka had 11 and collected seven rebounds. Overall, the Jets were 4-for-27 on 3s.