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Monday, Dec. 3, 2007
Balanced Five Arrows take over first place in West
By ED ODEVEN
The host Takamatsu Five Arrows took over sole possession of first place in the bj-league's Western Conference, earning a 78-56 victory over the Toyama Grouses on Sunday.
The Grouses dropped to 0-10, while Takamatsu, which had 11 players put points on the board, improved to 8-2 and moved a game ahead of the Osaka Evessa (7-3). Steve Horne's 18 points led the Five Arrows, followed by Reggie Warren's 15 and Yu Okada and Isaac Sojourner contributed nine apiece.
For Toyama, Uka Agbai had 20 points and Masayuki Kabaya added 12. Point guard Takanori Goya, the No. 1 pick in the bj-league draft in 2006, didn't score. He had one rebound and one assist.
In Niigata, the host Albirex (6-4) edged the Evessa 81-80. Osaka's fourth-quarter rally fell short.
Kensaku Tennichi's club, which trailed by 11 after three periods, outscored Niigata 29-19 in the final quarter. Rodney Webb and Takamichi Fujiwara had 14 points apiece to lead the Albirex. All-Star center Jeff Newton scored a team-best 27 for Osaka, which also lost the series opener.
Elsewhere, the visiting Oita HeatDevils (5-5) erupted for 38 fourth-quarter points in a 107-86 win over the Ryukyu Golden Kings. Andy Ellis scored 27 and Tsubasa Yonamine had 21 for the winners.
Danny Jones scored 21 and Naoto Takushi had a fine all-around game (13 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds) for Ryukyu (2-8).
The Rizing Fukuoka edged the visiting Saitama Broncos 75-74. Michael Gardener (19 points), Jeffrey Price (17) and Tsuyoshi Kawazura (16) helped Fukuoka improve to 4-4.
Aaron Sakai Lawrence put 20 points on the board for struggling Saitama (3-7), Kosuke Shimizu had 17 and Gordon James, The Japan Times' Defensive Player of the Month for November, had 11 and cleared 15 boards.
At Ariake Colosseum, the Tokyo Apache bounced back from a 20-point loss on Saturday, topping the Sendai 89ers 109-100. Cohey Aoki scored 29 points and Nick Davis added 22 and grabbed 16 boards.
Tokyo outscored the out-of-towners 35-16 in the second quarter and Joe Bryant's club had a fine passing game overall; eight players dished out one or more assists to improve to 7-3. Sendai fell to 6-2 despite Nick DeWitz's 26-point, 18-rebound performance.
Hikaru Kusaka had eight assists in the loss.