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Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010

BJ-LEAGUE

Abdul-Rauf returns, helps Hannaryz beat Golden Kings


Staff writer

After a nine-game absence due to a calf injury, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf returned to action for the Kyoto Hannaryz on Saturday.

The 40-year-old former NBA guard gave the expansion club a boost off the bench in a 93-76 home win over the defending bj-league champion Ryukyu Golden Kings. He played 20 minutes, scored 12 points, including 2-for-4 from 3-point range, and collected three steals to help the Hannaryz improve to 10-15.

Rookie forward Josh Bostic paced Kyoto with 27 points and added six rebounds, six assists and four steals for good measure. Rewarded for his all-out hustle, Bostic took 10 free throws and canned seven of them. Frontcourt mate John Clifford added 17 points and nine rebounds in the win.

Former Golden Kings point guard Naoto Takushi scored 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting against his old club. In two October meetings against Ryukyu, Takushi had a pair of nine-point games (the Hannaryz lost both times).

Kyoto held a 47-34 edge in rebounds on a day when reigning regular season and playoff MVP Jeff Newton played only six minutes for Ryukyu. He had one points and three rebounds. At press time, it was unclear if Newton had sustained an injury or if he'll be back in the lineup for Sunday's rematch. Anthony McHenry scored 31 points for the Golden Kings (19-8) and Yosuke Sugawara had 17 points, six rebounds and six steals.

Julius Ashby scored 25 points and hauled in 12 rebounds in the Tokyo Apache's 75-73 neutral-site victory over the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix in Asahikawa, Hokkaido.

Michael Chappell added 21 points, including 3-for-6 from downtown, and Cohey Aoki scored 10 and provided five assists for the Apache, who improved to 7-16. Rasheed Sparks chipped in with seven points and seven rebounds. Small forward Jumpei Nakama, who has missed nine games this season due to injuries and hasn't played more than 10 minutes since Oct. 18, added six points and eight rebounds to give the team a much-needed lift in 16 productive minutes.

An Aoki 2-pointer put Tokyo ahead 70-63 with 5:18 to play in the fourth quarter. But Hamamatsu (20-5) rallied back, cutting it to 75-73 on Wendell White's 3-pointer with 54 seconds remaining.

White scored a team-best 30 points for the Phoenix. William Knight added 15 with eight boards, while Limar Wilson poured in 10. Despite shooting 12-for-24 at the free-throw line, the Apache missed two more free throws than the Phoenix attempted. Coach Kazuo Nakamura's squad was 4-for-10 at the line.

The Osaka Evessa jumped out to a 24-point lead by halftime and crushed the visiting Oita HeatDevils 92-61.

Ryan Blackwell, who played college ball at Syracuse University, scored a game-best 26 points to go along with nine rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks.

Running the Evessa offense from the point, Nile Murry added 20 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists and five steals and David Palmer finished with 17 points and nine boards for Osaka (12-13).

Jun Nakanishi also contributed to the Evessa rout, with a nine-point effort. Haimo Chen added eight points.

All told, Osaka collected 15 steals to the HeatDevils' one.

Making matters worse for Oita coach Brian Rowsom's club was its inability to hit an outside shot; the HeatDevils were 1-for-15 from 3-point range.

For Oita (11-16), Mike Bell led the way with 24 points and 10 boards. Rashaad Singleton had a double-double (10 points, 13 rebounds) and Ricky Woods, coming off 44- and 40-point outings last weekend, was held to eight points on 2-for-13 shooting by Osaka. Hiroki Sato also scored eight points in the loss.

Balanced scoring lifted the Niigata Albirex BB to an 80-64 home win over the Toyama Grouses.

Tyrone Levett was the Albirex's high scorer with 20 points, followed by Yuichi Ikeda and Paul Butorac (16 points apiece) and Akitomo Takeno (12). Takeno dished out a team-high six assists.

Butorac's relentless energy and hustle in the paint paid off.

The result?

Butorac snatched a game-high 19 rebounds and shot 7-for-11 from the field, punctuated by three dunks.

Niigata improved to 12-13; Toyama slipped to 10-13.

Kirby Lemons paced the Grouses with 22 points and 14 rebounds, Jason Arbet scored 15 and Makoto Kato netted nine.

Elsewhere, five Shiga Lakestars players scored in double figures, steering the team to a 90-70 road win over the Takamatsu Five Arrows.

Ray Schafer finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds and Gary Hamilton had 15 points and 18 boards to provide plenty of interior muscle and hustle at both ends of the floor for coach Bob Pierce's squad. Bobby Nash added 19 points, while Masashi Joho and Chris Schlatter both scored 12. Takamichi Fujiwara handed out six assists as Shiga raised its record to 14-15.

Waki Williams, playing his first game for the Five Arrows after being released earlier in the week by the Evessa, and Yu Okada each had 19-point performances in the loss.

Michael Gardener added eight points, six rebounds and seven assists for Takamatsu, which fell to 8-19.



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