Takamatsu Five Arrows forward Isaac Sojourner played a season-high 21 minutes on Saturday. He made the most of the opportunity, especially in crunch time.
Sojourner nailed a victory-clinching 3-pointer with 5 seconds remaining to give the Five Arrows a thrilling 102-101 triumph over the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix in the series finale in Asahikawa, Hokkaido.
He also finished with a season-high 15 points, and the Five Arrows (8-4) needed every one of them on an afternoon when Phoenix point guard Michael Gardener did his best Chris Paul impersonation.
Gardener scored 24 points and handed out 15 assists (this season’s top single-game output in the bj-league).
Takamatsu power forward Gordon James had his best offensive output of the season, finishing with 30 points, including five slam dunks, to go along with 14 rebounds. Rising star Yu Okada kept his teammates happy, dishing out eight assists and adding 23 points, most of them came from 3-point land (7-for-15). Backcourt mainstay Rasheed Sparks contributed 15 points in the high-scoring showdown.
The Phoenix (6-6) led 49-44 at halftime, but the five-point difference was never enough in this back-and-forth duel.
Andy Ellis, a former Texas Tech University player, and Sun Ming Ming both scored 17 points apiece, with the latter setting a new season-best output in the process. Haimo Chen finished with 13 points.
Also Saturday, the Saitama Broncos snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the visiting Oita HeatDevils 75-64.
Reggie Warren’s 19-point, 12-rebound effort helped Saitama (6-5) return to the victory column. Darryl Hepburn and Antoine Broxsie scored 14 points apiece and Steve Horne chipped in with 10. Kazuhiro Shoji had a nine-point game and Taishiro Shimizu had a solid all-around outing (five points, eight rebounds, six assists).
For Oita (2-8), Jeffrey Price led the way with 22 points and David Reichel poured in 17. Tsubasa Yonamine dished out six assists in defeat.
Elsewhere, the Rizing Fukuoka topped the host Toyama Grouses 80-71. Michael Parker and Marlyn Bryant both had 27-point games to help the Rizing improve to 4-7.
Parker, the league’s leading rebounder, also pulled down 13 boards.
Babacar Camara’s 20 points and 16 rebounds were not enough to lift the Grouses (2-7) to a victory. Kazutoshi Ota added a season-best 15 points in the loss.
In other action, the Niigata Albirex BB lost to the Shiga Lakestars 73-81 and the Ryukyu Golden Kings beat the Sendai 89ers 108-105.
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