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Monday, March 22, 2010
Rizing edge Lakestars
By ED ODEVEN
The Rizing Fukuoka and Shiga Lakestars staged a playoff-like encounter in Sunday's series finale. The margin was four points or less throughout a tense fourth quarter, and it was decided in the final minute.
Fukuoka earned an 85-84 victory and improved to 24-16, including 12-8 on the road, under first-year coach Tadaharu Ogawa.
The visiting Rizing earned a series split by making more plays down the stretch, including Thiago Cordeiro's game-winning hoop with 29 seconds remaining. That broke an 83-83 tie. Shiga veteran Mikey Marshall's free throw accounted for the game's final point.
Michael Parker paced the visitors with 31 points and 11 rebounds, Marlyn Bryant scored 25 and Sylvester Morgan added 16 points and 15 boards. Kohei Mitomo dished out five assists.
For Shiga (22-20), Ray Schaefer was the leading scorer with 21 points and Gary Hamilton scored 17. Masashi Joho had 14 points and Marshall added 11.
If the bj-league season ended today, the Rizing and Lakestars would be the Western Conference's second and fourth-playoff seeds, respectively. But both teams are not content to rest on their laurels, as evidenced by their spirited play on Sunday.
The Sendai 89ers, meanwhile, extended their winning streak to nine games with an 85-77 home triumph over the Toyama Grouses.
Nick DeWitz's 24-point, 11-rebound effort and Josh Peppers' 20-point outing helped Sendai improve to 26-12. Chris Holm (16 points, 16 boards) and Gyno Pomare (11 points, 10 boards) also provided inside muscle and hustle, while Kenichi Takahashi poured in eight points.
For the slumping Grouses (14-24), Brian Harper and Bilal Abdullah each scored 21.
Balanced scoring carried the Oita HeatDevils to a 100-97 win over the visiting Takamatsu Five Arrows.
Mike Bell (23 points, 12 boards) and Ricky Woods (20 points) led the way for the HeatDevils (20-22), who won their fourth straight game. Matt Lottich added 17 points and 12 assists, while Yukinori Suzuki scored 16 and Kimitake Sato had 10.
Michael Gardener had 27 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Five Arrows (11-29) and Satoshi Takeda scored 24.
David Palmer scored 30 points and Lynn Washington had 23 in the host Osaka Evessa's 105-85 drubbing of the Kyoto Hannaryz.
Palmer shot 10-for-12 from the field, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range, and was 7-for-8 at the charity stripe in 25 electrifying minutes, helping Osaka improve to 22-16.