The Ryukyu Golden Kings have a superb home-court advantage in Okinawa. The team’s rabid, rowdy fans always make that possible, and are among the bj-league’s team attendance leaders season after season.
A quality team to watch provides that motivation, too.
Ryukyu rolled to its fifth straight victory on Tuesday night, trouncing the Takamatsu Five Arrows 91-64 in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, before an announced crowd of 2,894.
The Golden Kings lead the 10-team Western Conference with a 21-3 overall record, including 13-1 at home.
Sixth man Draelon Burns ignited the victors with a tenacious effort. The electrifying guard put his stamp on the game with 18 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in just under 29 minutes off the bench.
Ryukyu led 51-32 at halftime.
The Golden Kings had eight players score seven or more points in the series finale, including league legend Jeff Newton, who had a season-high 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field and 5-for-5 at the free-throw line. The Indiana University product added three assists, three steals and a blocked shot. Newton’s all-around productivity is a bold reminder his improved physical condition (coming off knee surgery last spring) is a major boost for the team’s championship aspirations.
Ryukyu’s Ryuichi Kishimoto netted 12 points and drained 3 of 4 3-point shots, Morihisa Yamauchi had 10 points and Naoto Kosuge sank three 3s for his nine points.
Takamatsu (13-13 overall, 4-8 on the road) shot 3-for-19 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Sean Smith led the Five Arrows with 19 points and Dexter Lyons had 16, but missed all six of his 3-point attempts. Paul Williams chipped in with 11 points and nine boards.