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Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008
Sendai routs Rizing
By ED ODEVEN
The Sendai 89ers have exhibited stellar team-first play all season. This successful formula continued in their 104-85 home win over the Rizing Fukuoka on Saturday.
Sendai, playing before an announced crowd of 4,353, refused to settle for one-on-one opportunities time after time. Instead, coach Honoo Hamaguchi's team relied on making the extra pass and finding the open man.
The result? The 89ers made 29 of 56 field goals from inside the arc and 8 of 16 from 3-point range.
Sendai had 64 assists in the two-game series, including 35 on Friday.
In Saturday's game, Sendai's top assist man was All-Star point guard Hikaru Kusaka (eight dimes), with Ryan Blackwell and Nick DeWitz dishing out six apiece.
Blackwell scored a team-high 27 points, including 7-for-7 from the foul line, Bobby St. Preux added 25 and DeWitz poured in 18 and pulled down 14 rebounds, helping the 89ers improve to 14-4.
Sendai made 22 of 24 foul shots. For Fukuoka, which dropped to 8-10, Joshua Peppers led the team with 31 points.
Also Saturday, the Saitama Broncos posted a 92-71 win over the Niigata Albirex BB. Small forward Mamadou Diouf's 28 points paced the Broncos, who improved to 8-9, while frontcourt mate Gordon James had 23 points and 23 rebounds.
For Niigata (10-9), Matt Garrison and Andre Smith, a forward making his bj-league debut, each scored 16.
At Ariake Colosseum, the Tokyo Apache (10-7) snapped a four-game losing streak, topping the Toyama Grouses 87-78.
Tokyo guard Shoji Nakanishi, who had scored 14 total points this season entering Saturday's game, had a 16-point effort in the victory. Nick Davis contributed 15 points and 15 rebounds and Dameion Baker chipped in with 14 and eight boards.
Uka Agbai led the Grouses (2-17) with 20 points.
The visiting Osaka Evessa edged the Oita HeatDevils 79-74, improving to 14-3. Osaka's "Big Three" — Matt Lottich (25 points), Jeff Newton (20) and Mikey Marshall (16) — provided the bulk of the team's offense.
Chris Ayer's 26 points led Oita (8-9).