Basketball / BJ-League

Ryukyu, Niigata win openers

STAFF REPORT

The 11th bj-league season tipped off on Friday night with a pair of blowout victories.

The visiting Ryukyu Golden Kings pounded the expansion Hiroshima Lightning 127-75.

The Niigata Albirex BB torched the Tokyo Cinq Reves 107-64, spoiling new Tokyo coach Hirosumi Tomatsu’s debut in the bj-league.

Seven Ryukyu players scored in double figures led by guard Shota Tsuyama’s team-best 27 points. Big man Even Ravenel, a newcomer, had 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds in his bj-league debut. Draelon Burns poured in 16 points and Ryuichi Kishimoto and Shuhei Kitagawa added 13 apiece. Longtime Kings star Anthony McHenry contributed 12 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, sharing the team-high total in the latter category with Burns, while Hiromasa Omiya finished with 10 points.

The Golden Kings shot 65.6 percent (42-for-64) from 2-point range.

Ryukyu outscored Hiroshima 69-28 in the second half, including 40-15 in the final stanza.

For the Lightning, Adam Herman had 27 points and Andre Murray added 23.

In Hachioji, Charles Hinkle paced the Albirex with 28 points, knocking down five 3-pointers and Kimitake Sato scored 22 as veteran bench boss Kazuo Nakamura won his first regular-season game with Niigata.

Tokyo trailed 45-21 at halftime and 72-34 entering the fourth quarter.

The Cinq Reves committed 30 turnovers. Ryan Sypkens led the squad with 11 points.