Parity was the name of the game on Sunday in the bj-league. All six of the day’s games were decided by 10 points or less, including the Ryukyu Golden Kings’ 82-81 win over the host Toyama Grouses.
Bryan Simpson paced the Golden Kings with 17 points. Jeff Newton added 16 points and 13 rebounds and Naoto Takushi scored 14 as Ryukyu improved its league-best record to 31-9. Anthony McHenry (13 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three blocks, two steals) and Shigeyuki Kinjo and Yosuke Sagawara (nine points apiece) had a hand in the win as well.
The Golden Kings outscored Toyama 26-13 in the third quarter to take a 62-56 lead entering the final period, and the Grouses never held the lead in the fourth.
Midseason pickup Jerod Ward scored a game-high 31 points for Toyama (10-30). Terrence Woodyard finished with 19 and Masayuki Kabaya had 13 in defeat.
Also Sunday, the Takamatsu Five Arrows topped the visiting Tokyo Apache 91-83 to earn a series split.
Matt Garrison knocked down 3 of 4 3-pointers and led Takamatsu (27-13) with 19 points. Yu Okada chipped in with 15 points, and Satoshi Takeda had a perfect shooting day — 5-for-5 from the field and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line — to finish with 12 points.
Led by Rasheed Sparks’ seven assists, the Five Arrows dished out 23 assists on the day. Tokyo was held to 12 assists.
For the Apache (25-15), veteran forward Dameion Baker scored a game-high 27 points on 9-for-14 shooting and added nine rebounds for good measure. John Humphrey contributed 17 points, getting the majority of his offensive output at the line (11-for-13). Julius Ashby added a double-double (14 points and 11 boards) on a day when All-Star guard Cohey Aoki was held to four points in 28 minutes.
Reggie Warren scored 26 points and Taishiro Shimizu added 24 to guide the Saitama Broncos to a 75-72 road win over the Rizing Fukuoka.
Warren grabbed 16 rebounds to lead all players and help Saitama improve to 16-24.
Both teams collected 45 boards in a game in which Fukuoka (17-23) missed 24 of its 30 3-point shots.
Michael Parker had a 36-point, 15-point performance for the Rizing. Teammate Marlyn Bryant added 26 points and Takanori Goya collected a season-high five steals.
Sharpshooter Akitomo Takeno canned four 3-pointers en route to a team-high 20 points in the Niigata Albirex BB’s 86-81 road win over the Oita HeatDevils.
Yuichi Ikeda (15 points, 4-for-8 from 3-point range), Paul Butorac (14 points, 14 boards), Calvin Chitwood (11 points) and swingman Emmanuel Little (10 points, 10 boards) all scored in double digits for Niigata (18-22).
The Albirex turned the ball over six times. Oita (7-33) had nine turnovers in this well-played game.
Forward James Wilkinson was the top scorer for the HeatDevils, finishing with 24 points. He also had a game-high 18 rebounds.
Nile Murry and Lynn Washington ignited the Osaka Evessa’s high-octane offense in a 106-96 win over the host Sendai 89ers.
Murry dished out nine assists, scored 23 points and was one rebound shy of a triple-double. Washington, the two-time league MVP, had 28 points and 12 boards. Former 89ers standout Ryan Blackwell chipped in with 24 points and 12 rebounds, including seven offensive boards.
Eric Walton (11 points) and Naoto Nakamura (10) helped coach Kensaku Tennichi’s club end the game with five double-digit scorers. In addition, Jun Nakanishi delivered six assists in 23 productive minutes.
The three-time defending champions raised their record to 25-15, maintaining their hold of third place in the Western Conference behind the Five Arrows and Golden Kings.
Bobby St. Preux and Chris Holm scored 20 points apiece for Sendai (21-19), which won Saturday’s game on a last-second 3-pointer by newcomer Josh Peppers.
In Sunday’s rematch, the 89ers trailed 60-42 at halftime.
Despite the loss, Sendai put up impressive numbers in terms of assists (27) and turnovers (six) and made 18 of 19 free throws, but Osaka’s championship mettle paid off in this contest before 3,341 spectators at Sendai Municipal Gymnasium. Coming off a 16-point loss in the series opener, the host Shiga Lakestars bounced back by beating the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix 75-73.
Bobby Nash (17 points), Ray Schafer (16) and Takamichi Fujiwara (13) helped the expansion Lakestars improve to 15-25 and remain within striking distance of Fukuoka for the West’s fourth and final playoff spot.
Michael Gardener poured in a game-high 24 points for Hamamatsu (28-12) and Masahiro Oguchi added 17 and five steals.
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