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Monday, March 9, 2009

BJ-LEAGUE

Phoenix hit top gear in win over HeatDevils


Staff writer

The Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix recorded their fourth straight blowout victory on Sunday, coach Kazuo Nakamura's club cruising to a 98-66 road triumph over the host Oita HeatDevils.

Hamamatsu opened the series with a 31-point win and collected 27- and 19-point decisions over the Toyama Grouses last weekend.

Offensive catalyst Michael Gardener's 39 points guided the Phoenix to their 27th victory in 38 bj-league games this season. The Eastern Conference's first-place club also got a double-double from Marcus Morrison (19 points 13, rebounds) and Stanley Ocitti (14 points, 10 boards).

Chinese center Sun Ming Ming, a 236-cm tower in the pivot, finished with 15 points, scoring 10 or more points for the fourth straight game, his longest such streak in his first season in Japan. Sun also pulled down eight rebounds.

Hamamatsu put 30 points on the board in the first quarter and added 31 in the fourth against the hapless HeatDevils (7-31).

Dokun Akingbade scored 16 points and cleared 21 rebounds to help the host Niigata Albirex BB earn an 86-68 win and salvage a series split against the Rizing Fukuoka.

Antonio Burks poured in 19 points, Yuichi Ikeda had 16 and Akitomo Takeno 10 as Niigata improved to 16-22.

Reggie Warren's 20-point, nine-rebound, four-assist performance helped the Saitama Broncos earn an 84-66 win over the host Ryukyu Golden Kings.

Isaac Sojourner (19 points, 14 boards, two blocks), Daiki Terashita (12 points) and Kazuhiro Shoji (10 points) also played prominent roles for David Benoit's winning club.

With the win, Saitama (15-23) moved within one game of the Albirex for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Strong frontcourt play lifted the Sendai 89ers to a 90-75 win over the host Takamatsu Five Arrows.

Center Chris Holm's productive workload included 17 points and 19 rebounds, while Rodney Webb added a game-high 26 points.

The 89ers' Hikaru Kusaka, who has 95 assists and 37 turnovers, continued his steady play at point guard. He dished out five assists and had one turnover.

Also Sunday, Lynn Washington scored 36 points in the Osaka Evessa's 94-87 home win over the Toyama Grouses.

Washington also pulled down 11 rebounds and shared the team lead in assists (seven) with Nile Murry, who scored 18.



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