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Sunday, March 30, 2008
Takamatsu moves into tie for first with Osaka
By ED ODEVEN
With five regular-season games remaining, the Takamatsu Five Arrows now occupy a share of first place in the bj-league's Western Conference.
The Five Arrows climbed into first place by beating the visiting Osaka Evessa 101-88 on Saturday.
Takamatsu (27-12) put on a clinic in old-fashioned winning basketball, jumping out to a 31-18 lead after one quarter and getting double-digit scoring from five players: Reggie Warren (22), Isaac Sojourner and Steve Horne (19 apiece), Hiroyuki Kikuchi (13) and Yu Okada (10).
Warren, the league's most prolific dunker, had no time to twiddle his thumbs during this contest; he finished with 21 rebounds.
Matt Lottich scored a team-high 23 points for Osaka (27-12), Lynn Washington added 20, Mikey Marshall had 18, Jeff Newton 16 and Naoto Nakamura nine.
Elsewhere, the host Sendai 89ers earned a 91-80 overtime win over the Niigata Albirex BB.
Sendai (27-12) and Niigata (23-16) were tied at 70-70 after four quarters.
Nick DeWitz's 27 points led the 89ers, and Bobby St. Preux finished with 22. Patrick Whearty chipped in with a double-double (11 points, 15 boards) and Ryan Blackwell had 19 points and dished out a team-best six assists.
For the Albirex, Rodney Webb was the top scorer with 27, Andre Smith poured in 21 and Kimitake Sato had 13.
All-Star power forward Gordon James' 35 points and 17 rebounds helped the host Saitama Broncos muscle their way past the Tokyo Apache 90-75 before 3,088 fans at Gyoda Green Arena in Saitama Prefecture.
Saitama (20-19) outscored Tokyo 30-20 in the decisive fourth quarter.
For the Broncos, James Davis (15 points), Andrew Feeley (12 points, 11 boards), Aaron Sakai Lawrence (nine points, 11 assists) and Kazuhiro Shoji (nine points) also made significant statistical contributions.
Nick Davis led Tokyo with 18 points and 13 rebounds and John Humphrey contributed 17 for the Apache, who fell to 22-17. Cohey Aoki, the Apache's diminutive, high-scoring guard, was held to eight points.
Andy Ellis scored 28 points and Jason Braxton had 24 to lead the Oita HeatDevils to a 79-77 win over the visiting Toyama Grouses.
Tsubasa Yonamine made five assists for Oita, which improved to 19-20. Masayuki Kabaya was No. 1 in scoring for the Grouses (5-34), finishing with 25 points.
In Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, the Rizing Fukuoka completed a two-game sweep of the Ryukyu Golden Kings, closing out the series with an 81-76 win.
Joshua Peppers had a team-high 19 points, Michael Gardener added 18 and Kazuyuki Nakagawa and Jeffrey Price each scored 16. Price also pulled down 18 rebounds for Fukuoka (16-24).
Golden Kings guard Herb Gibson finished with a 16-point effort and a trio of teammates — Naoto Takushi, Eric Walton and Kevin Steenberge — had 14 apiece.
The Japan Times
The Takamatsu Five Arrows are set to play an exhibition game with the Chinese Basketball Association's Shanghai Sharks on May 10 at Takamatsu Municipal Gymnasium, the bj-league team has announced. The clubs reached an agreement on Wednesday in Shanghai.
The Sharks, who were established in the CBA's second year in 1966, have finished runnerup in the league twice since then, and are best known as the team that Houston Rockets injured star Yao Ming previously played for. Saitama Broncos head coach David Benoit also played for the Sharks.
"I hope this friendly match will lead to an opportunity for the children in Takamatsu to have a dream," bj-league commissioner Toshimitsu Kawachi said in a statement.