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Sunday, Nov. 30, 2008

BJ-LEAGUE

Ashby strikes late to lift Apache over first-place Golden Kings in OT


Staff writer

The Tokyo Apache picked up their second straight pulse-rising victory, grabbing a 100-99 overtime triumph over the Ryukyu Golden Kings on Saturday.

News photo
Controversial commentary: Hall of Fame forward Charles Barkley (left), seen at a news conference along with former Pistons great Joe Dumars in 2006, says Cavaliers star LeBron James should "shut the hell up" about his possible plans after the 2010 season. AP PHOTO

Julius Ashby scored the final point for Tokyo with 24.2 seconds left in OT, making the front end of a one-and one.

Ryukyu failed to score on its next trip down the floor, missing two field-goal attempts and the front end of a one-and-one.

In a bizarre ending, Tokyo (7-4) had the final possession with the ball in Masashi Joho's hands after 167-cm Cohey Aoki won a jump ball with 1.2 seconds left in the bonus period.

Tokyo beat Osaka by one point on Nov. 20.

On Saturday, the Apache overcame a season-high 27 points from Golden Kings sharpshooter ShigeyukiKinjo,including two game-tying 3-pointers in the final minute of the fourth quarter. Kinjo's catch-and-shoot 3 with 0.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter tied it at 89 and forced OT.

Jeff Newton led Ryukyu with 29 points and 17 rebounds. "We feel pity that we lost a close game, but we still have some 40 games to play and we are going to win and lose," said Golden Kings coach Dai Oketani, whose team fell to 11-2.

For Tokyo, Nick Davis and John Humphrey both scored 25 points.

After the game, Apache coach Joe Bryant said,"I'm at a loss for words and I'm a good speaker. I think my heart fell down to my stomach."

It was that kind of night at Ariake Colosseum.

In Moriyama, Shiga Pref., center Ray Shafer scored a game-high 27 points to lead the expansion Shiga Lakestars to a 71-67 win over the visiting Saitama Broncos on Saturday at Moriyama Municipal Gymnasium.

The Lakestars (7-6) have won four straight games and remain in the thick of things in the bj-league's Western Conference.

Forward Ryan Rourke added 16 points and 10 rebounds and Bobby Nash poured in 10 points for Shiga, which swept the Niigata Albirex BB last weekend.

Lakestars point guard Takamichi Fujiwara, a 182-cm veteran, provided a high-energy performance near the basket, grabbing a season-high 10 rebounds. He also dished out five assists.

LeBron strikes back

Cleveland (AP) LeBron James reacted strongly to Charles Barkley's comments that the Cavaliers star isn't showing respect for Cleveland fans and his teammates by discussing his possible free agency following the 2010 season.

"He's stupid. That's all I've got to say about that," James said Friday night before the Cavaliers' game against Golden State.

Barkley made the comments on TV and radio programs.

"If I was LeBron James, I would shut the hell up," the Hall of Famer said in a radio interview. "I'm a big LeBron fan. He's a stud. You gotta give him his props. I'm getting so annoyed he's talking about what he's going to do in two years. I think it's disrespectful to the game. I think it's disrespectful to the Cavaliers."

James, under contract for two more seasons, was bombarded with questions about his future when the Cavaliers visited New York to play the Knicks on Tuesday night.

The Cavaliers can offer him an extension as early as July 1, 2009. There has long been speculation James will eventually end up in one of the NBA's larger markets.

"I think July 1, 2010, is a very big day," James said when the Cavaliers were in New York. "It's probably going to be one of the biggest days in free-agent history in the NBA.

Iverson apologizes

AUBURN HILLS , Mich. (AP) Allen Iverson apologized Friday for skipping a Detroit Pistons practice on Thanksgiving and insisted it won't happen again.

The standout guard was the only player who didn't show up when the Pistons worked out Thursday.

"First of all, I have no excuses," Iverson said after Detroit's shootaround for its game against the Milwaukee Bucks. "It was a personal matter, but I just handled it the wrong way. I didn't call and let them know what was going on."

Before the game, coach Michael Curry said he would decide Iverson's playing status during the game.

Rodney Stuckey was to start in place of Iverson, who told the Detroit Free Press he "would accept whatever happens."

The Pistons acquired Iverson from Denver for Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb on Nov. 3.

Sooners win NIT

NEW YORK (AP) Given enough chances, Blake Griffin and No. 11 Oklahoma finished off Purdue.

Griffin made the go-ahead foul shot with just over a minute left in overtime after missing a couple in regulation, and the Sooners put away the 10th-ranked Boilermakers 87-82.



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