Ryukyu mounts thrilling comeback

Staff Report

The Ryukyu Golden Kings overcame an 18-point deficit entering the fourth quarter and defeated the visiting Rizing Fukuoka on Narito Namizato’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer on Tuesday, winning 68-65 to earn a sweep in their bj-league series in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.

Namizato’s clutch 3-pointer sailed through the net with 2 seconds remaining as Ryukyu improved to a league-best 19-5, including an overtime victory on Monday. Coach Dai Oketani’s team played without injured standouts Naoto Kosuge, Dzaflo Larkai and Shigeyuki Kinjo.

Anthony McHenry had a team-high 15 points for the Golden Kings, Jeff Newton added 13 points and 14 boards and rookie guard Morihisa Yamauchi matched his season-high output with 13 points. Namizato finished with 12 points, four assists and two steals.

Jermaine Dearman paced Fukuoka (15-9) with 21 points and Akitomo Takeno scored 12, while Gary Hamilton grabbed 18 rebounds. The Rizing led 58-40 after three quarters.

Also Tuesday, center Chris Holm’s 22-point, 20-rebound performance helped the host Niigata Albirex BB defeat the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix 85-80 and move into first place in the Eastern Conference.

Nile Murry scored 25 points and Erron Maxey and Yuichi Ikeda each had 10 apiece for the Albirex (13-8) and Hirotaka Kondo dished out five assists.

Hamamatsu (14-9) fell to second place despite Wayne Arnold’s 31 points. Jermaine Dixon added 18 points and six assists for the two-time reigning champs.

Elsewhere Tuesday, the Miyazaki Shining Suns bounced back from a series-opening loss and defeated the visiting Oita HeatDevils 99-80.

Dexter Lyons led Miyazaki (11-13) with 24 points, Taishiro Shimizu had 19 points and eight assists and four teammates also scored in double figures. Matt Lottich scored 23 points for Oita (5-19).


The Chiba Jets, meanwhile, are set to face JBL squad Levanga Hokkaido on Wednesday in the 87th Emperor’s Cup as competition shifts to Yoyogi National Gymnasium. Coach Eric Gardow’s Jets, an expansion team, are the first bj-league club to participate in the All-Japan National Championships.

Chiba, which would need to win five games to capture the title, downed club team Two Three 99-68 on Monday at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium to advance to a showdown against Takehiko Orimo, a longtime Japan natioal team standout, and Hokkaido.