Akita clinches playoff spot with win over Niigata


Staff Writer

For the second game in as many days, the Akita Northern Happinets topped the century mark in points.

Richard Roby and Shigehiro Taguchi both scored 23 points on Sunday, leading the Happinets to a 101-94 home victory over the Niigata Albirex BB.

Roby was 9-for-12 from the field in a splendid shooting performance. Taguchi drained 6 of 10 3-pointers as Akita improved to 32-8, including 17-3 at home. The Eastern Conference leaders, led by third-year bench boss Kazuo Nakamura, clinched a playoff spot.

Ruben Boykin had 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the hosts, while Deshawn Stephens added 16 points and nine boards. Floor general Yuki Togashi chipped in with 11 points and 13 assists and Yuto Otsuka had a 10-point afternoon. (Akita center Chas McFarland was sidelined after having his nose broken in the series opener.)

For Niigata (24-16), Thomas Kennedy scored a game-high 33 points, including 8-for-8 at the free-throw line. Nile Murry had 21 points, with a 10-for-10 effort at the charity stripe, plus seven rebounds and five assists, with Yuichi Ikeda putting 18 points on the board.

89ers 86, Brave Warriors 73

In Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture, Wendell White had 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead Sendai to a bounce-back victory over Shinshu.

DeAngelo Hamilton added 15 points, Dzaflo Lakrai scored 14 and Yasuhiko Wada had 10 for the 89ers (18-20).

Xavier Gibson paced the Brave Warriors (24-14) with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jeff Parmer scored 12 points and ex-Marquette University big man Dwight Burke and Patrick Sanders supplied 10 apiece.

Wat’s 82, Broncos 73

In Aomori, Gordon Klaiber scored 21 points against his former club and the hosts handed Saitama its seventh straight loss.

Abdullahi Kuso contributed 15 points and 12 rebounds. He pulled down six offensive rebounds and scored all but two of his points at the charity stripe, going 13-for-17.

Yuki Kitamuki and Anthony Kent both scored 12 points for Aomori (19-19).

John Humphrey had 29 points for the Broncos (4-34) and Mark Dawson scored 10.

Saitama has dropped 12 of its last 13 games.

Big Bulls 87, Cinq Reves 56

In Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture, the hot-shooting Big Bulls made 58 percent of their shots from inside the arc, while at the other end of the court coach Dai Oketani’s squad blocked seven shots. It all added up to another blowout win over Tokyo.

Lawrence Blackledge energized the hosts with 17 points, seven rebounds, five steals, three assists and two blocks. Scootie Randall and Masato Tsukino both had 13 points for Iwate (28-10), Josh Peppers poured in 12 and Kenichi Takahashi scored nine. Big man Gyno Pomare, a University of San Diego alum, finished with six points, 11 boards and three blocks. Tsubasa Yonamine added eight points and five assists.

For Tokyo (10-28), Anthony Stover and Edward Morris each scored 14 points and Ricky Woods had 10 on 4-for-17 shooting.

The Cinq Reves missed 14 of 16 3s. They shot 21-for-65 in the loss.

Golden Kings 78, Lakestars 63

In Okinawa City, Ryukyu outscored Shiga 30-11 in the third quarter to secure its second victory of the weekend.

The West-leading Golden Kings (33-5) are 21-1 at home this season.

Draelon Burns had a team-best 21 points and Kibwe Trim netted 14. Ryuichi Kishimoto scored 13 points and Morihisa Yamauchi added nine. Anthony McHenry provided eight points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks for the hosts. League legend Jeff Newton added nine rebounds and a block.

Brandon Fields paced Shiga (21-19) with 20 points. Marshall Brown and Shelton Colwell scored 18 and 11 points, respectively.

The Lakestars had 18 turnovers.

Grouses 74, B-Corsairs 71

In Yokohama, Sam Willard scored 22 points and raked in 15 rebounds and Takeshi Mito had a 15-point, seven-assist outing to lead Toyama to a series sweep over the defending champions.

Ira Brown added 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Grouses (31-9) and Masashi Joho had 13 points and seven assists.

Toyama, which has won 18 off 22 road contests, out-rebounded Yokohama 51-40.

Omar Reed had 13 points and seven assists for the B-Corsairs (17-21) and Masayuki Kabaya scored 11 points with six assists. Marcus Simmons and Wayne Marshall had 10 points apiece.

Hannaryz 91, Susanoo Magic 67

In Ise, Mie Prefecture, former Washington Wizard Edwin Ubiles had a 24-point effort and Takuya Komoda scored a season-high 22 points on 8-for-9 shooting as Kyoto completed a series sweep.

Yu Okada pumped in 17 points, Chris Holm added 11 points and 10 rebounds and David Palmer scored 10 for the Hannaryz (26-16).

Adrian Thomas had 17 points and T.J. Cummings scored 14 for Shimane (7-31). Koki Yabuuchi finished with 11 points, Tatsuhiro Yokoo scored 10 and Edward Yamamoto had nine.

Shimane’s inside presence has suffered a big setback in recent weeks, with 216-cm All-Star Jeral Davis sidelined with a hip injury. Coach Reggie Hanson confirmed Friday that Davis will need surgery and is finished for the season. He led the league in blocked shots in each of the past three seasons.

Evessa 77, HeatDevils 69

In Moriguchi, Osaka Prefecture, 37-year-old forward Naoto Nakamura turned back the clock with a 17-point game, knocking down all four of his 3-point attempts, and the Evessa salvaged a series split.

Zach Andrews added 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting with four dunks. He had eight rebounds and four steals in a high-energy performance. D’Andre Bell scored 13 points and Takanori Goya had nine for Osaka (17-23).

Taishiro Shimizu led Oita (16-24) with 18 points. Verdell Jones III chipped in with 15 points, eight assists and five steals. Shuichi Takada scored 11 points and Devonne Giles had nine points and 11 rebounds.