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Monday, Dec. 19, 2011

Tyner gives Evessa a big lift in triumph over Northern Happinets

Staff writer

The Osaka Evessa needed a spark on Sunday.

Reserve guard Kevin Tyner, who attended little-known Western Oregon University, provided one for the Evessa, scoring a season-high 21 points in a 71-64 win over the Akita Northern Happinets in their bj-league series finale.

Osaka earned a series split despite losing power forward Lynn Washington to an ejection in the first quarter due to a flagrant foul.

The Evessa improved to 13-5, including 8-2 on the road.

"Our energy and demeanor was totally different than on Saturday," Osaka coach Ryan Blackwell told The Japan Times after the game. "We did a much better job defensively today, especially on Ricky Woods and Stanley Ocitti."

The Happinets won the series opener 85-68 in Yokote, Akita Prefecture.

In the rematch, the Evessa outscored the hosts 25-9 in the decisive fourth quarter.

"Kevin Tyner was a big difference for us on both ends of the floor," Blackwell said. "He did a great job leading our offense, creating for everybody and knocking down shots. ... Everybody stepped up in (Lynn's) absence."

All-Star guard Cohey Aoki had 16 points, four assists and two steals and Lawrence Blackledge added 15 points, nine rebounds, five blocked shots, four steals and three assists.

Curtis Terry and Kazuhiro Shoji each scored 12 points to lead Akita (13-7). Woods and E.J. Drayton scored 11 apiece and Ocitti had 10. The Happinets had 19 turnovers without star guard Michael Gardener, who missed his second straight game.

Jets 104, Grouses 96

In Yachiyo, Chiba Prefecture, Jamel Staten scored 33 points and sank 12 of 13 free throws as the Jets bounced back from a loss on Saturday.

Maurice Hargrow had 25 points for Chiba (10-10), Kensuke Tanaka added 14, Reina Itakura had 13 and Jamal Holden 12.

The Jets were 31-for-47 at the foul line and scored 71 second-half points. They snapped a four-game losing streak.

Brian Harper was the high scorer for Toyama (8-10) with a 19-point game. Haakim Johnson scored 17, while Ira Brown added 15 and Masashi Joho and Devin Searcy had 14 apiece.

"Basketball is a crazy game," Jets coach Eric Gardow said later. "I guess that is why all of us are involved with it. From game to game, anything can happen. Like scoring 71 in a half when we struggle to get 71 for a game."

The combined 27 points by Tanaka and Itakura was a key factor for the Jets. "We will win a lot of games when that happens," Gardow said.

Defensively, Gardow pointed to the job Hargrow did guarding Joho and the work Chiba's Shota Isshiki did against Toyama's Takeshi Mito, who was held to eight points on 2-for-6 shooting.

Itakura was effective operating against his defender, Joho, Gardow noted, adding "we exploited that matchup."

Staten added seven boards, three assists and three steals in another strong game. He's the "most versatile player in the league," Gardow declared after the game.

"It's not that we won tonight, it's how we won that mattered most," Gardow said. "Down 17 points after losing four straight, congratulations to my players."

Shining Suns 79, 89ers 67

In Sendai, Miyazaki's Darryl Dora scored a game-high 22 points and Dexter Lyons finished with 20 as the visitors completed a series sweep.

Lewis Witcher and Taishiro Shimizu contributed 10 points apiece as the Shining Suns improved to 9-11. Lyons made five steals.

Veteran guard Kenichi Takahashi led the 89ers (11-9) with a season-high 18 points. O'Neal Mims had a 16-point game and Dan Fitzgerald added 11 points and 10 boards. Takehiko Shimura dished out six assists along with nine points.

Sendai coach Bob Pierce called it "another frustrating loss."

The 89ers shot 28-for-74 from the field.

"It was a one-point game (Miyazaki led 65-64) with less than three minutes to play, but 18 turnovers and poor free-throw shooting (15-for-25) were too much to overcome," Pierce added. "Miyazaki came up with big plays on offense and defense when they needed them.

"The good news for us is that Kenichi Takahashi is starting to look like himself, with 18 points off the bench."

Albirex BB 104, Broncos 70

In Niigata, Saitama's lack of frontcourt size was a big problem in another one-sided loss to the hosts.

The Albirex out-rebounded the Broncos 52-26 and grabbed 23 offensive boards, which led to numerous second-chance scoring opportunities.

Yuichi Ikeda paced Niigata (10-8) with 19 points and Chris Holm scored 17. All told, six Albirex players reached double figures in points. What's more, Niigata made 12 of 24 3-point shots.

Jayme Miller led Saitama (6-12) with 15 points and John Flowers had 12. Backup guard Darin Satoshi Maki, a longtime Tokyo Apache player, had a season-high seven assists. The Broncos have lost eight of their last 10 games, including three in a row.

Phoenix 78, Brave Warriors 73

In Toyokawa, Aichi Prefecture, Jermaine Dixon led Hamamatsu Higashimikawa with 14 points, Masahiro Oguchi provided 13 points and six steals off the bench and four teammates poured in nine points apiece in a win over Shinshu.

With the sweep, the Phoenix improved to 12-8. Post player Herve Lamizana, a native of Cote d'Ivoire, swatted five shots for the victors.

Derek Raivio scored 25 points for the expansion Brave Warriors (9-11) and Lee Roberts had 18. Takanori Goya scored 12 points.

Golden Kings 115, Five Arrows 79

In Takamatsu, the Five Arrows yielded 90 points over the final three quarters en route to their 20th loss in as many games.

Seven Ryukyu players scored in double figures, including David Palmer (22), Jeff Newton (17), Reggie Okosa (15), Anthony McHenry (14) and Tsubasa Yonamine (12). McHenry chipped in with nine boards and seven assists, while Newton pulled down a team-best 11 rebounds.

The Golden Kings are now 15-5 overall, 10-2 on the road.

Masaaki Suzuki and Paul Butorac each scored 24 points for the hosts, who trailed 25-24 after one quarter.

Susanoo Magic 92, HeatDevils 69

In Saiki, Oita Prefecture, Reggie Golson notched a triple-double and Michael Parker poured in 31 points as Shimane completed a series sweep.

The Susanoo Magic improved to 12-8, getting 12 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds from Golson. Edward Yamamoto had 14 points, seven assists and five steals and Jeral Davis scored 21 points on 10-for-17 shooting. Davis also had eight boards and three blocks.

Kohei Mitomo was Oita's top scorer with 20 points. Matt Lottich had a 19-point outing for the HeatDevils, who fell to 4-16.

Oita gave up 61 second-half points.

Rizing 93, Big Bulls 69

In Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, Gary Hamilton had 22 points on 11-for-15 shooting and 17 rebounds and Akitomo Takeno scored 21 as Fukuoka earned a sweep.

Jermaine Dearman poured in 17 points off the bench and Carlos Dixon scored 15. Jun Nakanishi contributed nine points and five assists for the Rizing (13-7).

Iwate (5-15) shot 26-for-83 from the field. Thomas Kennedy led the hosts with 27 points and Shawn Malloy had 10.

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