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Warren, Aoki spark Fukuoka in triumph over Nara

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Reggie Warren scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and Cohey Aoki provided a vintage shooting performance for the Rizing Fukuoka on Saturday afternoon, scoring a season-high 19 points, including 4-for-4 from 3-point range, in an 85-64 victory over the Bambitious Nara.

The Rizing improved to 5-5, completing a two-game series sweep in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Michael Dale added 13 points for Fukuoka with eight rebounds and Akitomo Takeno had 11 points and four assists.

The Rizing, led by first-year coach Mack Tuck, increased their scoring output in each of the four quarters, from 18 to 20 to 23 to 24.

“It feels good to get a couple of wins after dropping four straight, but we are back to the basics making sure to focus on our individual defense as well as team defense,” Warren told The Japan Times after the game. “We’ve got to continue to make that our focal point and turn defense to offense.

“We’ve got a lot of work to go,” he added, “but … I am no stranger to hard work and I will make sure my team is on that same page.”

Nara, a first-year club, fell to 0-8 on a day when seven-time All-Star Aoki shot 7-for-9 from the field.

In impressive fashion, Fukuoka, the championship runnerup last season under ex-coach Atsushi Kanazawa, hauled in 14 offensive rebounds and held Nara to six.

The Rizing also knocked down 10 of 20 3s and got nine points and seven boards from veteran big man Julius Ashby off the bench.

For the Bambitious, Joe Chapman had a team-high 23 points, scoring 18 of them from beyond the arc. Jumpei Honda scored 10 points and Jamar Abrams had nine in the loss.

B-Corsairs 73, Big Bulls 64

In Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, the reigning champions bounced back from a 16-loss on Friday to salvage a series split.

The B-Corsairs (5-3) led 21-8 after the opening quarter and held off the Big Bulls’ late charge.

Marquise Gray paced Yokohama with 20 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. Teammate Omar Reed also had 14 boards and 19 points, knocking down four 4s on the afternoon. Backup guard Satoshi Hisayama had a season-high 11 points. Wayne Marshall chipped in with nine points and captain Masayuki Kabaya dished out six assists.

For Iwate (4-4), Gyno Pomare scored 16 points on 8-for-12 shooting, raked in nine rebounds and blocked four shots. Pomare, a University of San Diego product, had 10 blocks in the series.

Josh Peppers added 14 points and Lawrence Blackledge scored 13 for the Big Bulls. Kenichi Takahashi had 11 points and four assists.

Iwate shot 2-for-15 on 3s, with Peppers and Tsubasa Yonamine each knocking down one.

Wat’s 73, Crane Thunders 71

In Aomori, coach Koju Munakata’s club edged Gunma to extend its winning streak to four games.

The expansion Wat’s (6-4) also won Friday’s series opener 68-66.

Gordon Klaiber was Aomori’s top scorer with a 21-point effort, with nine boards, three steals and two assists on the afternoon. Abdullahi Kuso scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out four assists. Makoto Sawaguchi, a fourth-year pro at age 21, had a 13-point performance with three assists and two steals. Yuki Kitamuki poured in nine points and Anthony Kent had seven for the Wat’s, who led 32-28 at halftime.

For struggling Gunma (1-7), Marvell Waithe had a team-high 20 points, Darko Cohadarevic scored 13, Yuto Okumoto had 12 and Trey Britton 10.

The Wat’s outscored the Crane Thunders 26-16 in the fourth quarter.

Golden Kings 93, Hannaryz 86

In Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, Scootie Randall scored 25 points and rising star Ryuichi Kishimoto sank three 3-pointers in a polished 18-point, five-assist night as Ryukyu defeated Kyoto in the teams’ first meeting since the Hannaryz eliminated the then-defending champions from the playoffs in May.

Kibwe Trim added 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting and Anthony McHenry and Shigeyuki Kinjo, longtime key contributors for the two-time champions, both had 10 points as the Golden Kings improved to 7-2. Masaya Karimata chipped in with seven points and three steals and Jeff Newton provided a pair of blocks.

Kyoto trailed 33-14 after one quarter, but chipped away at the lead. The Hannaryz (5-2) stormed back by outscoring the hosts 26-7 in the second quarter.

Edwin Ubiles, a former Washington Wizards player, paced Kyoto with 29 points in 32-plus minutes and Yu Okada poured in 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including four 3s. Joe Warner finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Chris Holm raked in 13 boards for the visitors.

Lakestars 94, Evessa 91

In Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, in a wild game featuring 120 rebounds and 68 free throws, as well as 49 personal fouls and three technicals, coach Chris Boettcher’s Lakestars eked out a three-point win over Osaka and handed bench boss Shunsuke Todo’s club its first defeat of the season.

Dionisio Gomez set the tone for Shiga (5-2) with 23 points and 14 rebounds, followed by Marshall Brown’s 22 points and 12 boards. Brandon Fields added 14 points and Shelton Colwell had eight points and 12 rebounds. Daiki Terashita contributed seven points and two steals for the Lakestars, who led 53-33 at the half.

Six Osaka players scored in double figures: Kevin Galloway (19 points), Marcus Capers (14), Dillion Sneed, Naoto Nakamura and Naoto Takushi (12 apiece) and Zach Andrews (11). The Evessa were 12-for-24 at the line.

Shiga shot 31-for-44 on free throws.

Phoenix 81, Five Arrows 63

In Hamamatsu, strong defense carried the Phoenix to a one-sided win over Takamatsu.

Hamamatsu (5-4) held the Five Arrows to 16-for-46 shooting from inside the arc and forced 20 turnovers.

Ray Nixon and Aki Chambers each scored 14 points for the Phoenix and Atsuya Ota had 12 points and seven rebounds. Cyrus Tate chipped in with 11 points and Deshawn Stephens had eight. Jermaine Dixon contributed seven points and four assists, while backcourt mate Shinnosuke Oishi had six points and six assists.

For Takamastu (2-5), Andrais Thornton and Sean Smith both had 13 points and Paul Williams added 12 points and 16 rebounds. Versatile playmaker Dexter Lyons sat out the game.

Northern Happinets 85, Broncos 78

In Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, sharpshooter Shigehiro Taguchi buried 5 of 9 3-pointers en route to a team-best 19 points and Richard Roby and Yuto Otsuka each had 15 points as Akita won its ninth straight game to begin the season.

The lowly Broncos slippd to 2-7 under new coach Takatoshi “Big Bashi” Ishibashi.

Big man Chas McFarland had 14 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks for the Happinets and point guard Yuki Togashi continued his fine play with 13 points and six assists. Ruben Boykin contributed nine points and 12 boards for Akita.

For Saitama, Michael Joiner had the hot hand, scoring 26 points and draining all five of his 3-point shots, while teammate John Humphrey also pumped in 26 on 11-for-26 shooting. Anwar Ferguson had 14 points and 11 boards. The rest of the Broncos scored a combined 12 points.

Brave Warriors 90, Cinq Reves 79

In Ueda, Nagano Prefecture, Xavier Gibson provided 20 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and two blocks for the triumphant Brave Warriors and Shinshu teammate Patrick Sanders scored 18 points against struggling Tokyo.

Emanuel Willis added 12 points and 10 boards, Jeffrey Parmer scored nine points and handed out five assists and Shota Konno netted eight points for Shinshu (4-3).

Ricky Woods returned to the Cinq Reves lineup after a three-game absence due to a knee injry and scored 26 points, adding nine rebounds, six assists and four steals while playing all 40 minutes. Edward Morris had 18 points and 12 boards and Yuji Ide scored 13 for Tokyo (1-6), which has dropped six straight contests.

Grouses 80, Albirex BB 60

In Toyama, veteran guard Masashi Joho reached the 20-point plateau for the sixth time in seven games and a balanced all-around performance carried the hosts to a runaway victory over Niigata.

Toyama (7-0) grabbed 55 total rebounds, pulling down nine more than the Albirex (5-4) in a hard-fought game.

Joho finished with 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting. Ira Brown scored 13 points, Sam Willard added 11 points and 16 boards and Takeshi Mito netted 11 points. Tatsunori Fujie had nine points and four assists for coach Bob Nash’s club, which outscored Niigata 49-29 in the first and third quarters combined.

Patrick Sullivan led Niigata with 15 points and 12 rebounds, Nile Murry scored 14 points and newcomer Suleiman Braimoh had 11 points. Kimitake Sato scored nine points and collected five steals in the loss and Rodney Webb had nine points and nine boards. The Albirex were 3-for-20 from beyond the arc.

HeatDevils 86, 89ers 72

In Sendai, Devonne Giles scored 24 points and crashed the boards for 16 rebounds and Verdell Jones III poured in 23 points as Oita hammered the 89ers in the series opener.

Sendai fell to 2-7; Oita improved to 3-4.

Jones, an Indiana University product, dished out five assists. Horoki Oshiro scored 12 points for the HeatDevils and forward Gabe McCulley had 11.

Travele Jones led Sendai with 25 points along with 10 boards. Wendell White finished with 20 points and Yasuhiko Wada has a season-high 19 points, topping his previous best of 18, which he scored on Oct. 26 against Yokohama. Takehiko Shimura had seven assists.

Poor free-throw shooting (17-for-28) was costly for the 89ers in defeat.

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Injury report: Kyoto forward David Palmer, the league MVP in the 2006-07 season while playing for the champion Osaka Evessa, will be sidelined two to three weeks with a right adductor muscle strain, the team announced on Friday.

Palmer sustained the injury last Sunday in a game against the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix.

The Southern Utah product is averaging 10.5 points in six games. He has made 11 of 24 3-pointers (45.8 percent).