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Friday, Jan. 12, 2007

BJ-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK

Evessa's Newton doing yeoman's work game after game


Staff writer

How do you measure hustle on the stat sheet?

News photo
Osaka's Jeff Newton leads the bj-league in blocked shots and minutes played this season. YOSHIAKI MIURA PHOTO

Well, it cannot be displayed in a neat little statistical category in the box score. But you can look at certain statistics to determine which players consistently hustle possession after possession, quarter after quarter and game after game.

You can also surmise that Osaka Evessa big man Jeff Newton might be the unofficial holder of the bj-league's Top Hustle Guy Award.

The reason?

Newton leads the league in minutes played (679). He's also first in both blocked shots (swatting 2.2 a contest) and dunks (1.6 stuffs a game).

Neither number is indicative of a laid-back approach to the game. And 13 double-doubles and three games of 20-plus rebounds certainly help his reputation, too.

In other words, when Evessa's No. 50 is on the floor, he's making things happen. Just call him a big-time producer with a motor that never stops running.

FLASHBACK: There was no shakeup at the top of the league standings last week as the league resumed play after a one-week layoff.

The first-place Niigata Albirex (13-5) split a pair of games, annihilating the Oita Heat Devils 103-52 on Saturday.

How dominating was Niigata?

It outscored the visitors 58-17 in the first and fourth quarters.

Nick Davis had 20 points and 22 rebounds and Kimitake Sato scored 23 points to lead the rout.

In the rematch Sunday, Oita (8-10) scored a 75-70 victory.

Mikey Marshall's 21 point, 15-rebound, five-assist, two-steal, two-block performance paced the HeatDevils. And, oh, he played all 40 minutes.

Matt Garrison's 18 points led the Albirex.

In Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, the Saitama Broncos and the Tokyo Apache played a double-overtime contest Saturday, which the visitors won 99-96.

Tokyo's Michael Jackson scored a season-high 27 and John Humphrey produced 33.

Marcus Toney-El's 22 led Saitama (6-12).

Saitama rebounded for a 101-77 win on Sunday.

Gordon James poured in a team-best 22 points and Kazuhiro Shoji netted 16 to lead five players in double figures.

Tokyo, meanwhile, got 28 points from Tony Jones but dropped to 7-11.

The Osaka Evessa swept the Toyama Grouses, starting with an 86-80 OT triumph on Saturday.

Lynn Washington had 30 points and David Palmer 24 in the win for Osaka (12-6).

Jerod Ward scored 28, Nile Murry 22 and Takanori Goya 10 in defeat.

A day later, Washington delivered a team-high 17-point effort and four teammates scored in double digits for the Evessa.

Murry had 17 points for the Grouses (5-13).

The Sendai 89ers and Takamatsu Five Arrows each picked up a win in their series. It started with the Five Arrows grabbing a 94-83 victory on Saturday.

Julius Ashby (23 points, seven rebounds) and balanced scoring lifted Takamatsu (11-7) and offset big nights from the 89ers' Ryan Blackwell (26 points) and Michael Chappell and Mamadou Diouf (25 apiece).

Chappell finished with a game-best 28 points in Sendai's 85-77 Sunday win. Diouf (21) and Hikaru Kusaka (14) also sparked the 89ers (10-8).

For Takamatsu, Ashby had another banner game (25 points, 12 boards).

UPCOMING SCHEDULE: This week's slate of games begins on Friday as the Oita HeatDevils play host to the Saitama Broncos at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, the Evessa take on the host Sendai 89ers and the Albirex travel to Ariake Colosseum to face the Tokyo Apache. Both games tip off at 6.

In a clash of expansion teams, the host Toyama Grouses square off against the Takamatsu Five Arrows at 6:30 Sendai and Oita complete their two-game series with a 2:30 p.m. meeting.

Toyama vs. Takamatsu commences at 1:30 on Sunday afternoon, while Sendai-Osaka and Tokyo-Niigata both get under way at 2.

MISCELLANY: Here's an update on the league's statistical leaders through games of Jan. 7.

Humphrey is No. 1 in scoring (27.0 points per game). Sparks is the top assist man (5.3 apg). James is posting Rodmanesque rebounding numbers (15.6 rpg) to lead the bj-league.

Takamatsu's Rasheed Sparks is also leading all players in steals, forcing takeaways at a 2.9 per game.

Other leaders: Davis, field-goal shooting accuracy (63.4 percent); Shoji, 3-point shooting accuracy (46 percent); Tokyo's Kohei Aoki, free-throw shooting (91.2).

Demeion Baker's return to Japan didn't go unnoticed last weekend. He had 18- and 21-point outings in the Tokyo Apache's games against the Broncos.



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