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Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009


Palmer leads Evessa

The Japan Times

The Osaka Evessa celebrated David Palmer's return to the team with a season-opening 73-67 victory over the defending champion Ryukyu Golden Kings on Saturday at the Okinawa Convention Center.

Palmer, the bj-league's 2006-07 MVP who didn't play for the team over the past two seasons, scored a game-high 21 points and added 10 rebounds for Osaka. Lynn Washington, a two-time MVP, chipped in with 20 points and nine boards and Nile Murray poured in 14 points. Ryan Blackwell supplied eight point and 11 rebounds for Osaka in a highly anticipated rematch, one that contained the intensity of a spirited playoff battle.

In the first meeting between the teams since Ryukyu's Jeff Newton, a former Osaka star, scored 50 points in the Western Conference final in May, the Evessa, winners of the league's first three titles, held the star center to a pedestrian eight points and eight boards.

George Leach, Newton's former Indiana University teammate, was the Golden Kings' top scorer with 16 points and seven boards in his first game for Ryukyu, while shooting guard Shigeyuki Kinjo had 13.

Earlier Saturday, the host Shiga Lakestars thumped the Takamatsu Five Arrows 120-72.

Forward Gary Hamilton scored 25 points, grabbed 24 rebounds and dished out five assists for the Lakestars (2-1). Masashi Joho added 21 points and Shiga finished with six players in double figures.

The Lakestars outscored Takamatsu 69-30 over the final two quarters, including 39-9 in the fourth.

For the Five Arrows (0-3), Yu Okada had a team-best 21 points and Shuichi Takeda added 20.

The Oita HeatDevils, meanwhile, collected their first win under coach Brian Rowsom, edging the host Rizing Fukuoka 90-89.

Forward Michael Bell's free throw with 4 seconds provided the winning margin. Bell then missed his second foul shot. The Rizing (1-1) called a timeout with 3 seconds left to set up a final play. Michael Parker, who scored 35 points, missed a potential game-winning shot with 1 second to play.

Bell had a 22-point, 11-rebound effort after scoring 30 in the season opener on Friday, while fellow newcomers Rashaad Singleton (17 points 14 rebounds) and Ricky Woods (18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists) made strong contributions for Oita, which improved to 1-1.

The HeatDevils struggled from the free-throw line for the second straight game, converting 7 of 20 shots on Saturday. They were 9-for-20 at the line on Friday.

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