Ryukyu outlasts West rival Fukuoka in OT

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Ryukyu Golden Kings ended the Rizing Fukuoka’s five-game winning streak on Friday, handing the hosts an 80-74 defeat in overtime.

Sixth man extraordinaire Draelon Burns scored a game-high 31 points for the Golden Kings, draining 11 of 14 free throws. Reigning bj-league MVP Anthony McHenry poured in 18 points for Ryukyu, which trailed 55-45 after three quarters.

Morihisa Yamauchi and Kibwe Trim both scored eight points for the Golden Kings (34-6 overall, 13-5 in away games). Naoto Kosuge added seven points and a game-best four steals. Guard Narito Namizato, making his fourth appearance of the season after rejoining the Okinawan squad earlier this month, played a season-high 32 minutes (he logged a combined seven minutes in his first three contests) and contributed five points, four assists and three steals.

In a physical game that featured 54 personal fouls (30 for Fukuoka), Ryukyu went 23-for-37 at the free-throw line, while Fukuoka was 21-for-27.

Reggie Warren paced the Rizing (21-21) with 20 points and 12 rebounds and dished out four assists. He knocked down 4 of 6 3-point shots in the series finale.

Cohey Aoki and Seth Tarver both scored 12 points for Fukuoka and Akitomo Takeno finished with 11 points and four assists. Takeno had a team-high six turnovers.

The Golden Kings were the more assertive team on the offensive boards, grabbing 26 rebounds on their own end and holding the Rizing to 13.

The fallout: Akita Northern Happinets center Chas McFarland received a one-game ban for his role in an on-court brouhaha with Niigata Albirex BB forward Rodney Webb last Saturday, it was reported earlier this week.

Game video and interviews with eye witnesses indicate McFarland elbowed Webb at least three times during a short sequence during the first quarter in Akita. After that, Webb retaliated, kicking McFarland in the head, which led to both players being booted from the game.

McFarland suffered broken bones in his nose. Webb, meanwhile, is suspended for the rest of the season (12 games) plus the playoffs, with a $1,000 fine, too.

Analyzing the ugly incident and its aftermath, one longtime Eastern Conference player believes the league completely mishandled the situation.

“I’m still disappointed at the fact the league didn’t hold him (McFarland) responsible at all. Tension should have never been able to get that high,” the player told The Japan Times on Friday. “And it was bad officiating, they need better training.”