Ricky Wods and Cohey Aoki grew up on opposites sides of the Pacific Ocean. But both are big keys for their team.
Woods, a New Orleans native, and Aoki, who hails from Fukuoka, played starring roles for the visiting Tokyo Cinq Reves in a 101-83 thrashing of the Saitama Broncos on Saturday night in the bj-league.
Woods notched a triple-double (28 points, 20 rebounds, 15 assists), getting the ball to the hot-shooting Aoki on the perimeter. And it paid off for the first-year franchise.
Aoki, a seven-time All-Star, buried 7 of 13 3-point shots en route to 21 points, and Hirohisa Takada and Yuta Kurihara added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Tokyo (17-30).
Saitama, coming off a two-game sweep of the Gunma Crane Thunders, trailed 52-39 at halftime.
The Broncos (13-34) were 6-for-32 from 3-point range, and shot 34-for-95 from the field.
John “Helicopter” Humphrey led Saitama with 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Nyika Williams chipped in with 15 points and 12 boards and Masahide Haraguchi scored 12 points
89ers 92, Jets 89
In Sendai, T.J. Cummings had 26 points on 11-for-22 shooting and 12 rebounds and Takehiko Shimura scored 17 points and dished out nine assists to lead the 89ers to a series-opening victory over Chiba.
Shimura knocked down 5 of 6 3s. Sam Willard had 16 points and 12 boards and Sam Coleman scored nine points.
The 89ers (19-28) finished with 22 assists and eight turnovers.
Marquin Chandler sank six 3-pointers in a 22-point outing for Chiba (23-24) and Kensuke Tanaka contributed 16 points and eight assists. Marquise Gray had 14 points and 21 rebounds, Hiroki Sato scored 13 points and D’Andre Bell 11.
Grouses 89, B-Corsairs 83
In Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, coach Bob Nash’s club played an aggressive, hard-nosed game — as evidenced by the team’s 32 free-throw attempts (26 makes) — and defeated Yokohama in a showdown of Eastern Conference heavyweights.
Tatsunori Fujie had a season-best 20 points, including 6-for-6 at the foul line and 4-for-8 from beyond the arc, and Jeremy Jacob also scored 20 points and hauled in seven rebounds.
The Grouses (32-15, tied with the Niigata Albirex BB for first place in the East) pounded the boards for 21 offensive rebounds and held a 46-36 overall edge.
Ira Brown added 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block, a typical all-around solid effort for the Gonzaga product. Angel Garcia had 18 points, seven rebounds and three blocks and Takeshi Mito supplied four steals for the hosts.
Draelon Burns paced Yokohama (31-16) with 28 points and five assists. Thomas Kennedy had 16 points on 6-for-16 shooting and Shawn Malloy scored 10. Pape Faye Mour had eight points and nine rebounds and Minoru Kimura scored seven.
The B-Corsairs, a Final Four squad last season as an expansion franchise, were held to 10-for-12 shooting at the charity stripe.
Yokohama bench boss Reggie Geary, the 2011-12 bj-league Coach Of the Year, called it a “tough loss tonight on the road in Toyama.”
“(We) did a lot good things on the evening, but were unable to make the plays or get the stops late in the game,” Geary told The Japan Times. “Draelon Burns, Thomas Kennedy, Pape Faye Mour, and Shawn Malloy gave us good offensive production.
“Fujie and Jacob were the difference makers for Toyama, and a 32-12 advantage from the free-throw line for the home team was too much to overcome.”
Albirex BB 79, Northern Happinets 70
In Akita, Niigata’s Nile Murry scored 17 points and raked in 10 rebounds, and three teammates also had double-digit point totals in a win over the hosts.
Rodney Webb finished with 14 points, Yuichi Ikeda had 13 and Chris Holm 12 for the Albirex (32-15). Holm led Niigata with 12 rebounds.
The Albirex outscored Akita 30-12 in the third quarter, taking a 63-46 lead into the final stanza.
Rookie guard Yuki Togashi was the Happinets’ top scorer with 21 points on 8-for-20 shooting. Marshall Brown scored 20 points and Shigehiro Taguchi made 4 of 8 3s in an 18-point effort.
Akita, which only grabbed 33 rebounds (Niigata had 48), fell to 23-24.
Golden Kings 96, Crane Thunders 63
In Okinawa City, Narito Namizato’s quick hands and quick feet helped the defending champions rout Gunma.
The two-time All-Star guard collected six of Ryukyu’s 16 steals, many of which led to easy baskets at the other end.
The Golden Kings, who trailed 38-37 at halftime, blew the game wide open in the third quarter, outscoring the Crane Thunders 33-8.
Terrance Woodbury scored a game-high 30 points for Ryukyu (37-10 overall, 22-3 at home) and 2011-12 playoff MVP Anthony McHenry had a spectacular game (24 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals). Naoto Kosuge added 14 points and sank four 3s while Dzaflo Larkai had 11 points and 12 boards. Namizato, held to three points on 1-for-10 shooting, handed out nine assists.
For Gunma (12-35), a first-year franchise, Dominique Keller scored 24 points and Jermaine Dixon had 10 points and four assists. Dixon also committed seven turnovers. Ex-Golden King Kenya Tomori added six points and six assists in the loss.
Big Bulls 92, Brave Warriors 82
In Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, Reggie Okosa scored 25 points on 11-for-14 shooting and Carlos Dixon had 21 points and five assists in Iwate’s win over Shinshu.
Dillion Sneed (15 points, 7-for-10 from the field, but 1-for-13 from the line), Kenichi Takahashi (15 points, six assists) and Naoto Takushi (14 points, 4-for-4 on 3s, six assists) also had big roles in the victory, which gave the Big Bulls 30 wins in 47 games and kept them in the hunt for the East title.
Jermaine Green paced Shinshu (16-31) with 22 points. Eric Walton scored 14 points, Michael Fey had 13, Edward Morris added nine with 17 rebounds and Takato Saito had nine assists.
Evessa 88, HeatDevils 77
In Osaka, center Rick Rickert returned to the Evessa lineup after a one-game absence due to a sore ankle, and coach Bill Cartwright’s club ended Oita’s seven-game winning streak.
Mike Bell had 20 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and three blocks for Osaka (21-26 overall, 16-7 since Cartwright, a former Chicago Bulls bench boss, took over in late January). Shun Watanuki and Dwayne Lathan each scored 13 points and Rickert had 10 points and three blocks.
The Evessa converted 33 of 54 shots (61.1 percent) from inside the arc.
Thomas Granado scored 27 points for Oita (20-29), Verdell Jones III had 16 and Kohei Mitomo 11.
Rizing 69, Phoenix 58
In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, Julius Ashby and Reggie Warren both had double-doubles and Akitomo Takeno scored 12 points as Fukuoka got past Hamamatsu Higashimikawa.
Ashby finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks for the Rizing (32-17). Warren had 15 points, 11 boards and three blocks. Jun Nakanishi added nine points and Josh Peppers grabbed 12 rebounds.
For the Phoenix (26-21), Kevin Galloway led the way with 21 points, 15 rebounds and five assists.
Hamamatsu shot 20-for-65 from the field.
Hannaryz 79, Five Arrows 51
In Kyoto, Jermaine Boyette scored 22 points and Marcus Cousin had 14 points, including three dunks, and 17 rebounds as the hosts hammered Takamatsu.
Gyno Pomare scored 12 points, Masaharu Kataoka 10 and Yu Okada eight for Kyoto (26-21). Sunao Murakami dished out six assists.
Dexter Lyons paced the Five Arrows (19-30) with 15 points.
Lakestars 78, Shining Suns 75
In Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture, Wayne Arnold was nearly unstoppable from the perimeter in the series opener, carrying Shiga to a narrow victory over Miyazaki.
Arnold canned 7 of 9 3-pointers in a 36-point performance and Shelton Colwell had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakestars (29-18). Dionisio Gomez added 11 points and eight boards and Takamichi Fujiwara had 10 points.