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Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008

BJ-LEAGUE

Productive Sun helps Phoenix rout Apache


Staff writer

Sun Ming Ming took a big step forward on Saturday and helped his team earn a runaway victory in the process.

The Chinese center recorded his first double-double in the bj-league with a 15-point, 14-rebound effort in the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix's 96-61 victory over the visiting Tokyo Apache.

The 236-cm Sun has improved his rebounding totals in each of his three games in a Phoenix uniform. He had two in his bj-league debut on Oct. 18 and five in the second game.

Sun, who played 26 minutes in the win over the Apache, also had a season-high three assists, and got to the free-throw line with regularity (he was 5-for-10). He also had three dunks.

The Phoenix (2-1) outscored Tokyo 33-15 in the first quarter and 22-5 in the fourth quarter. The game's other telling stat was this: Hamamatsu held a 66-36 rebounding edge, including 30 offensive boards.

Adam Zahn led the Phoenix with 20 points, while Josh Peppers scored 18 and Michael Gardener flourished at the point with 15 points and 12 assists. Masahiro Oguchi had a seven-point game.

For Tokyo (1-2), John Humphrey had a team-high 17 points. Masashi Joho (12) and Cohey Aoki (11) were the team's other double-digit scorers.

Also Saturday, the Ryukyu Golden Kings improved to 3-0 with a dramatic 90-89 double-overtime triumph over the host Osaka Evessa.

Golden Kings center Jeff Newton secured the victory by blocking ex-teammate Lynn Washington's shot from the baseline in the closing seconds of the second bonus period.

It was Newton's first game against Osaka, which won three league titles with him as its starting center.

In this game, Newton, the league's top shot-blocker in 2007-08, was the top star, with a 30-point,12-rebound effort, but there were major contributions from several Golden Kings.

Chris Ayer chipped in with 16 points and 13 boards and Naoto Takushi had an 11-point, eight-rebound, seven-assist performance. Anthony McHenry stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, seven boards and seven assists.

For Osaka (2-1), Washington finished with 22 points and 17 boards, Nile Murry scored 21, including the game-tying shot with 1:40 left in OT, which sent the game into 20T. Murry also forced OT, sinking two free throws with 32 seconds left in the fourth to tie it up at 76-76.

Naoto Nakamura added 14 points for the Evessa, who now can consider Ryukyu a fierce rival a year after the team was established.

The Takamatsu Five Arrows, meanwhile, picked up their third win in as many games, topping the host Shiga Lakestars 91-90. Center George Leach, who had 25 points and nine rebounds, led the way for the Five Arrows.

Gordon James (16 points), Rasheed Sparks (15), Matt Garrison (12) and Yu Okada (nine) gave Takamatsu a well-balanced offense as well.

Ryan Rourke paced the expansion Lakestars (0-3) with 27 points, while Bobby Nash (22), Brayden Billbe (19) and Ray Schafer (16) also reached double figures in points.

The host Sendai 89ers defeated the Toyama Grouses 82-70.

Six Sendai players had two or more assists, which led to a spread-the-wealth approach on offense. Rashad Tucker and Bobby St. Preux scored 19 points apiece as the 89ers improved to 2-1. Center Chris Holm added 12 points, Joe Barber 11 and Kenichi Takahashi eight.

For Toyama (0-3), Rodney Webb poured in a team-best 19 points.

Elsewhere, the Saitama Broncos improved to 3-0 with a 97-70 victory over the Niigata Albirex BB, who slipped to 1-2.

Guard Yuki Kitamuki scored a game-high 27 points for Saitama, Reggie Warren added 20 and Kazuhiro Shoji chipped in with 15 and eight assists. Taishiro Shimizu had seven assists.

For the Albirex, big man Dokun Akingbade had a 26-point, 16-rebound outing and guard Akitomo Takeno had 20 points to go along with seven helpers.



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