Josh Peppers nailed a 3-pointer with 1 second remaining to give the Sendai 89ers an 89-86 win over the visiting Osaka Evessa on Saturday.
Sendai (21-18) called a timeout with 11 seconds remaining to set up its final possession. With time winding down, Hikaru Kusaka dished the ball to Peppers, who joined the 89ers this week, in the left corner and he calmly knocked down the 3.
Peppers, who finished with nine points, previously played for the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix and Rizing Fukuoka. He was the bj-league’s second-leading scorer last season while with Fukuoka.
Rodney Webb (25 points), Bobby St. Preux (19 points), Chris Holm (13 points, 19 rebounds) and Kenichi Takahashi (11 points) all played key roles in the 89ers’ series-opening win.
Nile Murry led Osaka (24-15) with 23 points, while Lynn Washington had 18 and Naoto Nakamura 16, including 4-for-5 from 3-point range.
Elsewhere, John “Helicopter” Humphrey’s 19 points and balanced scoring sparked the Tokyo Apache to an 89-75 road win over the Takamatsu Five Arrows.
Dameion Baker added 16 points and Julius Ashby and Cohey Aoki had 14 apiece as Tokyo improved to 25-14.
For the Five Arrows (26-13), Babacar Camara finished with a team-high 21 points. Power forward Gordon James, the league’s second-leading rebounder (14.2 per game), returned to the lineup after missing 10 games due to a knee injury and had an eight-point, six-rebound effort.
Rasheed Sparks and Kazuyuki Nakagawa added 16 points apiece for Takamatsu.
Emmanuel Little’s 30 points on 12-for-16 shooting carried the Niigata Albirex BB to a 94-92 road win over the Oita HeatDevils.
Little also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
Akitomo Takeno and Antonio Burks both scored 15 and Paul Butorac added 14 as the Albirex improved to 17-22. Backup point guard Takato Saito contributed five steals in 18 minutes off the bench.
Jeffrey Price led Oita (7-32) with 21 points.
Masahiro Oguchi’s 23 points and Michael Gardener’s 20 helped the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix earn an 81-65 road win over the Shiga Lakestars.
Gardener handed out 10 assists and picked up three steals as the Phoenix improved to 28-11. Stanley Ocitti chipped in with 13 points and 16 rebounds and Levonn Jordan scored 11 for coach Kazuo Nakamura’s club.
Bobby Nash paced the Lakestars (14-25) with 19 points and five assists.
Jeff Newton and Anthony McHenry made a big impact on both ends of the floor in the Ryukyu Golden Kings’ 79-69 win over the Toyama Grouses.
Newton had 24 points and 13 rebounds and McHenry added 20 points and 18 boards to lead the Golden Kings to their 30th victory in 39 games. Naoto Takushi added 11 points, eight rebounds and three steals, while Shigeyuki Kinjo, Bryan Simpson and Chris Ayer each scored eight points.
Jerod Ward, who had 32 points, was the top scorer for Toyama (10-29).
Michael Parker, the league’s leading scorer at 27.0 points per game, had a 40-point performance, steering the Rizing Fukuoka to an 84-78 win over the visiting Saitama Broncos.
Parker added 14 rebounds, three steals and three blocks as Fukuoka improved to 17-22.
Marlyn Bryant added 17 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals for John Neumann’s club. Takanori Goya finished with eight points and nine assists, while Kohei Mitomo had eight points and four steals. The Rizing made 14 steals in the fast-paced game.
Rodney Webb led the Broncos (15-24) with 29 points and 11 boards.
Saitama point guard Taishiro Shimizu added 19 points and Isaac Sojourner had 10 points and eight boards.
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