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Friday, Jan. 28, 2011
Apache turn on heat late in big victory over Rizing
By ED ODEVEN
Tokyo Apache coach Bob Hill vowed his team would play harder in the series finale against the Rizing Fukuoka on Thursday at Yoyogi National Gymnasium.
The Apache also played a smarter game, capitalizing on their varied strengths — depth, athleticism, size and speed, to name a few — and limiting their miscues for large portions of the contest.
Tokyo poured on the intensity in the second half en route to a 92-72 victory.
The Apache improved to 13-9, bouncing back from a four-point loss on Wednesday which ended their five-game winning streak. Fukuoka dropped to 17-13.Hill emptied his bench as the rout was on, using all 13 Apache players on the night.
Cohey Aoki's 3-pointer, which put Tokyo ahead 80-56 early in the fourth, was the team's 13th 3 of the game. The 14th 3, made by Kendall Dartez, made it 85-57 as the rout moved into overdrive.
All that remained at that point was for the game to officially finish.
"I thought the guys played with a lot of energy," Hill said. "We're going to keep getting better and better. . .
"This was the best game we've played."
Jumpei Nakama scored 20 points to lead Tokyo, while Michael Parker's 20 led Fukuoka. Aoki had 16 points for the Apache and Robert Swift had 13.
The Apache had a 58-39 advantage in rebounds and collected nine steals.
Tokyo was 14-for-22 on 3-point shots and pushed the tempo throughout the game.
In the third quarter, Apache big man Swift, made the first two baskets of the half as Tokyo took an eight-point lead, the biggest of the game up to that point.
Michael Chappell's rainbow-arc 3-pointer made it 53-42 as a quarter-opening seven-point spurt gave the Apache a little breathing room.
Following a Rizing timeout, the Apache run continued. Byron Eaton hit a jumper in the lane just before the shot clock buzzer went off and Nakama converted a layup on the team's next possession to push the lead to 57-42.
A Kensuke Tanaka 3-pointer made it 60-44 and then the Apache pushed the tempo and Aoki ran straight to the basket and banked in a layup — and the run reached 16-2 to open the half.
But not for long.
Aoki spotted up and dropped a 3 through the net for a 65-44 lead as the game morphed into one-sided domination by the hosts.
The Apache, playing with a greater sense of urgency than in the series opener, led 75-54 after three quarters, getting the period's final points on Eaton's buzzer-beating 3.
Tokyo outscored Fukuoka 29-12 in the third, a quarter in which the Rizing "didn't get the ball inside," coach Tadaharu Ogawa said, adding that ball movement was poor in the game-changing period.
Tanaka started in place of Eaton in the backcourt, giving the team a different look against the Rizing in the rematch. In the frontcourt, Chappell got the nod instead of Dartez.
Tanaka, a speedy guard, has flourished in spurts on the offensive end under Hill's tutelage. Eaton, who leads the team with 15.6 points per game, came off the bench for the first time since Nov. 7. For Tanaka, it was his first start of the 2010-11 campaign.
Parker's jumper tied the score at 7-7 early in the first and an Aoki 3-pointer pulled the Apache to within 13-12 moments later, starting an 11-2 run that gave Tokyo a 20-15 advantage. It included a Chappell 3 and Swift's slam dunk.
Dartez's 3 knotted it at 26-26 just before the first quarter ended.
Tokyo canned 4 of 5 3-pointers in the first; Fukuoka was 4-for-6 as the quarter was a showcase for perimeter shooters.
Jun Nakanishi, a Tokyo native, swished his first three 3-point attempts (he had a 13-point game), the last of which put the Rizing ahead 31-28 early in the second quarter. Parker, arguably the league's top finisher inside, made it 33-28 on a nice back-door cut and layup.
Parker came into the contest having scored fewer than 20 points in only four games. He also had a 53-point eruption on Nov. 7.
An Akitomo Takeno steal, alert hands and swift feet aiding his effort, led to an easy deuce by Parker and a 36-33 Rizing lead. The play was a reminder of Fukuoka's ability at any moment to nab momentum, with the special talents of Takeno and Parker on display.