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Monday, March 23, 2009

BJ-LEAGUE

Sparks' clutch basket powers Five Arrows


Staff writer

Rasheed Sparks nailed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to lift the Takamatsu Five Arrows to an 86-84 road win over the Saitama Broncos on Sunday afternoon.

The Five Arrows (28-14) trailed 73-62 entering the fourth quarter. They used a 16-0 run to take a 78-73 lead, but fell behind 84-83 with 5 seconds remaining in the bj-league game.

Sparks, who finished with 17 points and eight assists, saved his best play for last as Takamatsu salvaged a series split.

Kazuyuki Nakagawa added a team-high 22 points for the Five Arrows, while Gordon James pulled down 10 rebounds.

Reggie Warren was the top scorer for Saitama, finishing with 27 points. Taishiro Shimizu added 22, but the Broncos slipped to 17-25.

Also Sunday, the three-time defending champion Osaka Evessa defeated the visiting Niigata Albirex BB 100-85 before a crowd of 3,507.

Lynn Washington finished with 33 points, 20 rebounds and five assists for Osaka (26-16), which lost the series opener. Ryan Blackwell added 27 points, 11 boards, six assists and two steals, and Nile Murry scored 20. Evessa perimeter marksman Naoto Nakamura had eight points.

Bobby St. Preux had a 30-point outing in the Sendai 89ers' 95-82 win over the Oita HeatDevils. Rodney Webb and Chris Holm added 20 points apiece, while Kenichi Takahashi dished out 12 assists for Sendai (23-19).

Holm, the league's leading rebounder, picked up 15 rebounds in the home win.

Sunday's action featured another buzzer-beater.

Michael Gardener's basket with no time remaining lifted the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix to an 83-82 win over the visiting Ryukyu Golden Kings.

Gardener led all scorers with 36 points on 13-for-28 shooting. Marcus Morrison contributed 28 points for Hamamatsu (29-13).

Sun Ming Ming, the Phoenix's 236-cm center, played 26 minutes and, oddly enough, attempted only one shot in a scoreless outing. He had seven rebounds and picked up four fouls.

The Golden Kings (32-10) led 71-62 entering the fourth quarter and held an 82-81 advantage before Gardener's victory-clinching shot.

Elsewhere, Kohei Mitomo nailed a game-winning 3 with 1 second left as the host Rizing Fukuoka topped the Tokyo Apache 81-78.

Tokyo's Masashi Joho hit a game-tying 3 and a go-ahead 3 in the final 24 seconds, but Mitomo was up for the challenge in the dramatic fourth quarter.

Michael Parker scored 19 points and Marlyn Bryant had 15 for Fukuoka (18-24).

Ryan Rourke guided the host Shiga Lakestars to a weekend sweep, scoring 17 points in a 78-71 win over the Toyama Grouses.



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