Basketball / BJ-League

Hot 3-point shooting carries Shiga past Fukuoka

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Led by a trio of 3-point shooting specialists, the visiting Shiga Lakestars halted the Rizing Fukuoka’s three-game winning streak on Thursday night, winning the bj-league series opener 95-93.

Shiga’s Ray Nixon, a University of Wisconsin product, buried 8 of 13 long-range shots en route to a season-high 24-point performance. Terrance Woodbury sank 4 of 9 3s and finished with a team-best 25 points, and Yu Okada canned 4 of 10 from beyond the arc and had 19 points.

The Lakestars shot 48.5 percent (16-for-33) from 3-point range and snapped a three-game slide.

Former league MVP Jeff Parmer chipped in with 10 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Masahiro Kano scored six points for Shiga.

The Lakestars (23-14) built a 43-35 lead by halftime and held on for the victory despite the hosts’ improved offensive performance over the final 20 minutes.

The Rizing increased their scoring output to 28 points in the third quarter and 30 in the fourth.

Josh Peppers led Fukuoka with 34 points on 13-for-18 shooting along with seven rebounds and seven assists. Veteran forward Hajime Ono, a longtime JBL player for Toshiba, had a season-high 20 points, including 6-for-9 on 3s, in the loss.

For the 36-year-old Ono, it was his second double-digit scoring game of the season. (He had 11 points on Feb. 22.)

Cohey Aoki added 15 points and John “Helicopter” Humphrey and Cyrus Tate each had 10 for the Rizing (10-29).

Tate grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds and handed out four assists. Humphrey also had three steals, tying Okada for the most among all players.

In the paint: Fukuoka fell to 4-9 since Joe Bryant took over as head coach in mid-January. Before their three-game win streak, the Rizing had lost eight in a row. … Takamatsu, Nara and Fukuoka all have 10 wins and are in a hunt for the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot. After this weekend, all three teams will have 12 regular-season games remaining.