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Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009
Lottich leads HeatDevils past Grouses
By ED ODEVEN
Matt Lottich made a triumphant return to the bj-league on Saturday.
The former Osaka Evessa floor leader had 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the Oita HeatDevils' 90-79 win over the visiting Toyama Grouses.
Lottich, a Stanford University product, played in Germany last season after wining three straight titles with the Evessa (2005-08).
The HeatDevils improved to 6-9, getting 23 points apiece from Mike Bell and Ricky Woods. Bell also pulled down 13 rebounds, while Woods grabbed eight boards. Kimitake Sato poured in eight points, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range.
Big man Rashaad Singleton also had 13 rebounds to go along with eight points, three blocks and two steals in 20 productive minutes for coach Brian Rowsom's club.
Jason Arbet paced the Grouses (5-6) with a season-high 21 points. Kirby Lemons added 19 points and eight rebounds and Kenya Tomori had 13 points and six assists in the series opener.
Oita won the game despite shooting an atrocious 13-for-34 from the free-throw line.
Elsewhere in the bj-league, Michael Gardener's electrifying 34-point, six-rebound, eight-assist effort sparked the Takamatsu Five Arrows to an 89-80 home win over the Rizing Fukuoka.
Takamatsu improved to 6-11, getting a win over coach John Neumann's former club.
Yu Okada scored 18 points for the Five Arrows, Terrance Farley added 14 points and 12 boards and Antoine Broxsie had 13 points and 18 rebounds.
Takamatsu jumped out to a 32-16 lead after one quarter.
For Fukuoka (10-7), Michael Parker had a team-best 33 points and 15 boards. Marlyn Bryant and Richard Ford Jr. had 15-point performances.
Also Saturday, Wendell White scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and William Knight added 23 points and nine boards to lead the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix to a 75-72 home win over the Osaka Evessa.
Shingo Okada added 11 points for the Phoenix, who improved to a league-best 13-2.
Veteran forward Ryan Blackwell, who played college ball at Syracuse University, had a season-high 26 points for Osaka. Teammate Lynn Washington had a 14-point, 12-rebound effort and David Palmer chipped in with 10 points and nine boards.
The Evessa, who reached the Western Conference final last spring after winning the league's first three championships, fell to 8-7.
Reigning regular-season and playoff MVP Jeff Newton had 28 points and 11 rebounds in the Ryukyu Golden Kings' 91-82 road win over the Shiga Lakestars.
Yosuke Sugawara contributed 21 points, including 8-for-9 at the charity stripe, for coach Dai Oketani's club. George Leach added 13 points and 15 boards for Ryukyu (10-3). Anthony McHenry (11 points, six rebounds, 10 assists) and Tsubasa Yonamine (11 points) also had solid outings for the defending champions.
Shooting guard Shigeyuki Kinjo, the Golden Kings' leading scorer, did not play.
For Shiga (8-9), Gary Hamilton had 26 points and eight rebounds and Masashi Joho added 18 points and seven assists.
After an eight-game absence due to a shoulder injury, veteran point guard Takamichi Fujiwara returned to the Lakestars lineup. He had five points, three rebounds and two assists. Shiga went 2-6 while Fujiwara was sidelined.