Blackledge sparks Osaka in rout of Fukuoka


Staff Writer

Lawrence “Trend” Blackledge put his stamp on Friday’s game against the Rizing Fukuoka.

The talented forward’s all-around effort — 26 points on 10-for-15 shooting, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals — helped steer the Evessa to an 89-68 triumph, and the hosts extended their winning streak to four games and picked up their eighth victory in their last nine.

For Blackledge, a Marquette University product, it was his third-best scoring game of the season. He’s averaging 15.3 points per game.

Osaka (25-11) is now tied with the Kyoto Hannaryz (25-7) and Shimane Susanoo Magic (25-9) for the most wins in the Western Conference. The East-leading Sendai 89ers are 25-9.

The Evessa took a 28-17 lead into the second quarter and held a 44-32 advantage at halftime.

Rizing forward Josh Peppers, the club’s leading scorer (16.5 ppg) missed his second straight contest after sustaining a right shoulder joint dislocation last weekend against Kyoto.

Fukuoka (14-22) trailed 65-50 after three periods.

Osaka shot 58 percent (29-for-50) from inside the 3-point arc.

Takuya Soma and DeAngelo Hamilton had 13 points apiece for the Evessa, the latter also grabbing a team-high 13 rebounds. Shota Konno and Narito Namizato added 10 points apiece. Namizato and Shun Watanuki both dished out four assists.

For the Rizing, who had 20 turnovers, Donnavan Kirk scored 19 points and pulled down 14 boards. Cohey Aoki and Keisuke Takabatake each had 13 points, while post player Joseph Taylor, who appeared in 32 games for the Fukushima Firebonds before joining Fukuoka this week, contributed 11 points and 10 boards.