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Warren, Aoki carry Fukuoka past Hamamatsu

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

With center Julius Ashby serving a one-game suspension stemming from a tussle with Oita HeatDevils big man Devonne Giles last Saturday, Rizing Fukuoka could have been short-handed in the frontcourt on Thursday night.

Macho forward Reggie Warren refused to let that happen.

Warren provided 23 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block for the Rizing in an 82-71 home victory over the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix.

Fukuoka (19-20) extended its winning streak to three games, with triumphs in five of its last six.

Rizing sharpshooter Cohey Aoki had 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting, while backcourt mate Akitomo Takeno had 12 points and four assists. Seth Tarver poured in eight points and forward David Palmer, a newcomer to the bj-league, had seven points and 13 rebounds for coach James Duncan’s club.

Cyrus Tate paced Hamamatsu (24-13) with 23 points and Jermaine Dixon had 17, but shot 1-for-10 from 3-point range. Aki Chambers added 12 points and Ray Nixon had eight. Dixon dished out a team-high eight assists.

The Phoenix trailed 43-29 at halftime.

Weekly accolade: Akitomo Takeno, no stranger to avid league followers for his shooting skills and gutsy play, scored a game-high 20 points for Fukuoka on Saturday in a 66-57 road victory over Oita. He is the Lawson/Ponta Weekly MVP, it was announced on Tuesday.

Takeno nailed 6 of 8 3-point shots, including three big 3s in the fourth quarter.

Upcoming schedule: In addition to the ongoing Fukuoka-Hamamatsu series, the Nara-Gunma showdown gets under way on Friday. The Saturday-Sunday series are as follows: Aomori vs. Saitama, Iwate vs. Tokyo, Akita vs. Niigata, Sendai vs. Shinshu, Yokohama vs. Toyama, Kyoto vs. Shimane, Osaka vs. Oita and Ryukyu vs. Shiga.

Injury update: Nara guard Takuma Yamashiro is expected to be sidelined for up to five weeks after sustaining a right shoulder joint dislocation against Takamatsu on Sunday.

The Bambitious issued the news on Thursday after Yamashiro underwent medical tests.

Shot-block maestro Jeral Davis of Shimane, meanwhile, has been out of action since Feb. 2 due to a hip injury. A Feb. 21 doctor’s evaluation recommended one month of rest.

Elsewhere, Tokyo forward Akihito Inoue is done for the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee, the team announced on Thursday.

The injury occurred last Saturday against Shiga in Ome, Tokyo Prefecture.

The 29-year-old Inoue is scheduled to undergo knee surgery in mid-March, and his recovery time is estimated to be eight months. The popular veteran averaged 7.3 points in 31 games.

Tyler update: Jeremy Tyler, the former Tokyo Apache big man, has now played in 27 games for the New York Knicks this season.

Tyler, in his third NBA season, is averaging 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds in 9.7 minutes per game.

He is the only player to be drafted from the bj-league into the NBA.

Feedback: Got a story idea about the bj-league? Send an email to: edward.odeven@japantimes.co.jp