The Ryukyu Golden Kings celebrated their ninth victory in as many games this season, edging the visiting Oita HeatDevils 85-82 on Saturday evening in a clash between the Western Conference’s first- and second-place clubs.
University of Georgia product Terrance Woodbury, an offseason acquisition for the bj-league’s defending champions, scored a game-high 23 points for the Golden Kings. He made 10 of 14 shots, including 2-for-3 from long range, and raked in five rebounds. Naoto Kosuge scored 15 points, Anthony McHenry had 13 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals and Narito Namizato (10 points) and Jeff Newton (10 points, 15 rebounds, three blocks) made major contributions for coach Koto Toyama’s club, the only one in the 21-team league without a loss.
The game was tied at 42-42 at halftime.
Oita’s Wendell White and Cyrus Tate shared the team lead in points (19). Kohei Mitomo added 12 points and Naoto Takushi and Taishiro Shimizu each scored 10 before a spirited crowd of 2,841 at Okinawa Municipal Gymnasium.
The much-improved HeatDevils fell to 8-3.
89ers 87, B-Corsairs 84
In Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, six Sendai players scored in double figures in an emotional victory over Yokohama.
The city is coping with major reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
Takuya Komoda paced Sendai with 15 points and Kevin Coble and Karron Clarke each scored 14. Hikaru Kusaka canned 4 of 5 3-pointers and finished with 12 points for the hosts, while Sam Willard had 11 points and 13 rebounds and Yasuaki Arai scored 10 points.
“Kesennuma was devastated by the tsunami, so our players were really motivated to play well,” Sendai coach Bob Pierce said after the game. “Hikaru was the deserving Game MVP with his inspired performance…”
The 89ers (3-6 overall, 1-2 at home) grabbed 22 offensive rebounds and held a 47-35 overall margin on the boards.
Sendai shot 17-for-21 at the charity stripe.
Clarke, Komoda, Takehiko Shimura and Arai all knocked down two 3s apiece.
Said Piece of his players, “It was great to see them enjoying the fans and especially the kids today. Even more meaningful after what so many of these kids have been through, and the fact that players like Take (Shimura), Hikaru, and Taku (Takuya Komoda) just played their hearts out for these kids and all the fans and tsunami survivors that are up here.
“After our win in Kesennuma, only our third home game of the season, Sam Willard said that he had never signed so many autographs in his life, but loved it. Sam Coleman echoed that by saying that he didn’t want to leave the court, but just wanted to stay out there with all the kids signing autographs.”
Thomas Kennedy paced the B-Corsairs (5-4) with 26 points and Masayuki Kabaya had 17. Paul Butorac scored 14 points and Draelon Burns added 12.
Yokohama was 11-for-22 on 3-pointers in the loss.
Kusaka, affectionately known as “Mr. 89ers” to the team’s legion of fans, played a season-high 22 minutes.
Hannaryz 88, Shining Suns 85
In Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture, David Palmer scored a team-best 18 points and Kyoto extended its winning streak to three games by beating the lowly Shining Suns.
Miyazaki (1-10) lost for the 10th straight time.
The Hannaryz improved to 3-8, getting 14 points apiece from Jermaine Boyette and Marcus Cousin and 13 from both Gyno Pomare and Masaharu Kataoka, while Yu Okada added 11.
Pomare raked in 13 rebounds for Kyoto, Cousin hauled in eight and Boyette had seven.
Ricky Woods had 21 points in his Miyazaki debut. Hiroki Oshiro scored a season-high 19 points and drained 5 of 8 3s and Larriques Cunningham had 16 with six assists and five rebounds with three steals and a block.
Rizing 94, Evessa 75
In Saga, Reggie Warren’s 28-point, 20-rebound effort lifted the hosts to a runaway victory over struggling Osaka.
Josh Peppers poured in 16 points for the Rizing (7-4), Julius Ashby scored 15, Akitomo Takeno had 12 and Jun Nakanishi contributed nine points and 10 assists with one turnover on the afternoon. Rookie Zane Johnson, a University of Hawaii product, came off the bench and scored eight points.
The Evessa, who never had a losing season in their first seven seasons, slipped to 1-6.
Nathan Walkup scored a team-best 17 points for Osaka and Rick Rickert added a double-double (10 points, 14 boards), while Satoshi Takeda had nine points and Andre Coimbra and Shun Watanuki both scored eight.
Osaka shot 4-for-18 (22.2 percent) from beyond the arc.
Fukuoka outscored Osaka 54-33 in the second half before a meager crowd of 624 spectators.
Five Arrows 72, Phoenix 69
In Takamatsu, Hiroyuki Kikuchi scored a season-high 23 points, including 7-for-7 at the line, and Paul Williams and Robert Johnson both had 12-point afternoons as the hosts bounced back from a loss on Friday against Hamamatsu Higashimikawa.
Williams added 16 rebounds, three steals and three blocks and Johnson had 11 boards and two blocks for the Five Arrows (4-6), who have already doubled their victory total from last season’s 50-loss campaign.
Dexter Lyons chipped in with 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Takamatsu and Brandon Penn scored eight.
Kevin Galloway led the Phoenix (8-6) with 23 points and Jeffrey Parmer scored 12. Elbert Fuqua had seven points and Shoji Nakanishi and Adrian Thomas both scored six.
Takamatsu held Hamamatsu to 23-for-78 shooting, including 16-for-53 from 2-point range.
Broncos 82, Grouses 81
In Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, Yuki Kitamuki made 5 of 13 3s en route to 21 points in a down-to-the-wire win over ex-coach Bob Nash and Toyama.
Yuki Nobuhira scored 20 points with four steals for the Broncos (2-7), who picked up their first home win in five tries this season.
Dameion Baker added 15 points and 10 rebounds and Takuma Yamashiro and Masahide Haraguchi each had eight points. Yamashiro also had five assists and four steals.
Grouses shooting guard Masashi Joho, tied with big man Ira Brown for the team lead in scoring (14.5 points per game), was sidelined due to an injury.
Angel Garcia paced Toyama with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks and Brown stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks. Brandon Cole had 12 points and Tatsunori Fujie scored 11, while Takeshi Mito had 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two blocks.
Brave Warriors 72, Northern Happinets 68
In Odate, Akita Prefecture, Wayne Marshall scored 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting and pulled down nine rebounds and Jermaine Green scored 16 points to steer Shinshu to a narrow victory over the hosts.
Edward Morris finished with 11 points and D’Mario Curry had eight for the Brave Warriors (7-4) and Takato Saito dished out five assists.
Shinshu converted 14 of 16 free throws.
T.J. Cummings and Shigehiro Taguchi had 15 points apiece for Akita (7-2) and Kazuhiro Shoji and Anthony Kent both scored seven.
The Happinets lost the battle on the boards (50-34) and turned the ball over 20 times.
Jets 82, Albirex BB 79
In Sakura, Chiba Prefecture, Joe Werner made 9 of 14 shots from the field, scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Kensuke Tanaka handed out 11 assists to lead the Jets past Eastern Conference rival Niigata.
D’Andre Bell scored 19 points, Hiroki Sato had 16 and Reina Itakura added 13 for Chiba (4-5).
For the Albirex (7-4), Nile Murry scored 19 points with six assists and Marquise Gray supplied 13 points, Hirotaka Kondo had 11 and Yuichi Ikeda 10. Chris Holm scored eight points and collected nine boards. Kimitake Sato also had an eight-point outing.
Niigata shot 13-for-21 at the foul line; Chiba knocked down 10 of 13.
Lakestars 74, Susanoo Magic 72
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, Shiga prevailed in the series opener by getting solid production from several players.
Big man Alfred Aboya shot 70 percent from the field (7-for-10) and scored 19 points for the triumphant Lakestars (5-6), Ray Nixon and Wayne Arnold had 11 apiece and Jumpei Nakama scored 10. Shinya Ogawa added nine points Shiga. Nixon had a team-high 11 rebounds.
Michael Parker paced Shimane (7-4) with 17 points, 13 rebounds and four steals. Jeral Davis had 15 points and six blocks and Tatsuhiro Yokoo and Shohei Nakama, Jumpei’s younger brother, scored 11 apiece.
The Susanoo Magic had a bad shooting day at the foul line (10-for-20), as did the Lakestars (11-for-18). Parker was 3-for-11 in the loss.