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Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007

BJ-LEAGUE

Evessa crush Rizing in season-opening game


Staff writer

Playing with the swagger and productivity of a champion, the Osaka Evessa routed the Rizing Fukuoka 91-71 on Tuesday night in the bj-league's third season opener.

The two-time defending champions outscored the hosts 30-19 in the third quarter to pull away from the first-year expansion team.

Kensaku Tennichi's club played a well-balanced game on both ends of the floor. And five Evessa players scored in double figures.

Power forward Lynn Washington, the 2005-6 bj-league MVP, put a game-high 28 points on the board. Shooting guard Naoto Nakamura scored 17, small forward Mikey Marshall had 16, point guard Matt Lottich added 14 and center Jeff Newton 11.

Marshall, a former Oita HeatDevil, and Newton both grabbed 13 rebounds. Lottich dished out seven assists and Marshall had four.

For Fukuoka, coached by ex-NBA player John Neumann, forward Joshua Peppers, a former University of Central Florida standout, had a team-best 26 points, while frontcourt mate Jeffrey Price, who played college ball at Mississippi Valley State, had 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Fukuoka native Tsuyoshi Kawazura had a 12-point outing and center Ndongo N'diaye, a native of Senegal, finished with six points and seven boards.

The Evessa opened the third quarter on an 11-4 run, taking an eight-point lead at the 6:49 mark. Washington scored 12 third-quarter points, giving him 25 overall entering the fourth quarter.

The Rizing faced a 12-point deficit, 68-56, entering the final 10-minute period.

Fukuoka kept it close in the first period, never falling behind by more than a half-dozen points.

The Rizing trailed 38-37 at halftime.

The teams meet in the second-game of a two-game series on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. at Accion Fukuoka.



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