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Monday, Dec. 4, 2006

BJ-LEAGUE

Humphrey scores 40 in Tokyo's OT triumph


Staff writer

John "Helicopter" Humphrey complained to the refs throughout the game -- nothing unusual about that. But he managed to convert his frustration into points on Sunday.

Humphrey, who had 40 points in Saturday's game, scored 40 again as his team rebounded from a shaky first half and defeated the Oita HeatDevils 94-88 in overtime at Ariake Colosseum.

"That has to be a bj-league record," Tokyo coach Joe Bryant said of Humphrey's consecutive high-scoring games. "So my hat's off to John. I've been with John for four years, and whether he plays good or bad, he puts up some numbers anyway."

Humphrey went 12-for-30 from the field, including 4-for-10 from 3-point range, and grabbed six rebounds. Fellow American Jeremee McGuire had 20 points and nine boards.

In the first half, Oita (4-6) built a large lead, capitalizing on its size. The HeatDevils effectively used their tall foreign players, particularly inside the paint, on both defense and offense.

As a result, Tokyo (6-4) struggled to find open space and trailed 45-31 at the break.

The Apache regrouped and returned to the court as a quick, focused, aggressive team, using the fast break to spark a comeback.

Tokyo, which trailed by 18, pulled ahead 60-59 just past the midway point of the third. Both teams traded leads for the next several minutes.

Oita forward Justin Allen sank a 3-pointer to tie the game at 82 with 1:15 left in the fourth. Neither team got a shot in the next 75 seconds, so the game went to overtime. Humphrey and McGuire stepped up for the Apache in OT, scoring six and five points, respectively, while they managed to hold Oita .

"I'm happy about the result," Bryant said. "Because we had a tough loss yesterday. But today we played so much better."

Asked about what kind of things he told his players at halftime after their first-half struggles, Bryant said, "I said we have to be like Muhammad Ali against Joe Frazier. You have to go toe-to-toe against a big guy."

The HeatDevils committed 24 turnovers, while Tokyo made 12.



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