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Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010

BJ-LEAGUE

Ryukyu edges Fukuoka in clash of title contenders


Staff writer

The first-place Ryukyu Golden Kings held their own against the Rizing Fukuoka, their top challenger in the Western Conference, in the teams' first game of the season's second half.

Perpetual playmaker Anthony McHenry scored a game-high 26 points and drained 12 of 14 shots from the charity stripe in Ryukyu's 77-71 home win on Saturday.

The Golden Kings (20-9) improved to 2-1 against the Rizing.

All-Star center George Leach added 13 points, 17 rebounds and two blocked shots, Yasufumi Takushi scored 11 to go with eight boards and Tsubasa Yonamine and Bryan Simpson had eight points apiece for Ryukyu.

Fukuoka (18-11) trailed 63-52 with 9:44 remaining and stayed within striking distance the rest of the way, but was unable to tie it or take the lead down the stretch.

All-Star Game MVP Michael Parker finished with 20 points for the Rizing. Marlyn Bryant added 11 points and Richard Ford Jr. and Thiago Cordeiro had 10 apiece.

Ryukyu held Fukuoka to 5-for-23 shooting (21.7 percent) from 3-point range and 22-for-56 (39.3 percent) from 2-point range.

Elsewhere Saturday, the Niigata Albirex BB embarrassed the Saitama Broncos, handing the hosts a 97-63 loss.

Niigata (14-13) outscored Saitama 31-7 in the second quarter and took a 20-point advantage into the locker room at halftime.

Forward Uche Echefu had a 20-point, 21-rebound effort for the Albirex. Tyrone Levett scored 21 points, Yuichi Ikeda chipped in with 17 points and five assists and Antonio Burks scored 16. Akitomo Takeno had a nine-point effort.

Mario Jointer paced the Broncos (10-15) with 23 points.

Ricky Woods scored a game-best 35 points to lead the Oita HeatDevils to a 100-92 home win over the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix. It was the first meeting between the teams this season.

Bell pulled down 16 boards and Mike Bell added a double-double (16 points, 16 rebounds) as Oita improved to 13-16. Matt Lottich contributed 10 points, six rebounds and five assists, Masahiro Ohara scored 10, Yukinori Suzuki had nine and Kimitake Sato seven for the HeatDevils.

For the Phoenix (21-6), William Knight was the top scorer with 28 points and Wendell White had 27.

Lynn Washington's 21-point, 10-rebound effort and Ryan Blackwell's 18-point outburst sparked the Osaka Evessa to a 75-66 road victory over the Shiga Lakestars.

David Palmer added 14 points and 10 boards, Nile Murry scored 10 and Naoto Nakamura had five for Osaka (13-14).

Lakestars forward Gary Hamilton had a valiant effort in defeat, finishing with 15 points, 24 rebounds and five assists.

Shiga, however, stayed cold on the perimeter throughout the contest, shooting 3-for-23 from 3-point range.

Bobby Nash, who scored 12 points, was 1-for-5 on 3s. Masashi Joho, who had an 11-point outing, was 1-for-6 from beyond the arc. Takamichi Fujiwara, who added 10 points, was 1-for-7.

The Lakestars fell to 15-16.

The Toyama Grouses, meanwhile, started the season's second half on a high note, recording an 87-77 win over the visiting Kyoto Hannaryz, who took a five-game winning streak into the game.

Makoto Kato drained 5 of 6 3-point attempts and scored a team-best 24 points for Toyama (11-14). Kirby Lemons had 14 points, six rebounds, six steals and four assists, while Jason Arbet scored 13 and Jason Underwood added 12. Takeshi Mito poured in nine points, Brandon Thomas had eight and reserve guard Kenya Tomori added seven with four assists.

For Kyoto (11-16), Taizo Kawabe led the team with 21 points, Josh Bostic supplied 17, J.R. Inman had 12 and John Clifford had 11 with 11 boards. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a 40-year-old former NBA guard, shot 3-for-12 from the field and was held to six points in 22 minutes off the bench.

The Hannaryz made 26 turnovers in defeat.



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