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Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012

Defense fuels 89ers as Kyoto's win streak ends

Staff writer

The Sendai 89ers belatedly rang in the new year with a confidence-boosting win on Saturday. At the same time, the Kyoto Hannaryz lost their first game since Nov. 6, falling 76-62 to the host 89ers.

As a result, Kyoto's 12-game winning streak ended.

Johnny Dukes led Sendai with 28 points and 8-for-12 shooting at the foul line, Dan Fitzgerald scored 15 and Kenichi Takahashi added 11 and made 3 of 6 3-point shots. Takehiko Shimura handed out seven assists and made three steals for the victors. Rashaad Singleton, a 213-cm big man, added nine points, 11 boards and six blocked shots in 40 minutes.

Croatian big man Filip Toncinic, a 213-cm veteran, made his 89ers debut and played nearly 12 minutes, with five points and five boards.

Sendai improved to 12-11.

In a message posted on Facebook, Dukes issued the following remarks: "Big-time win for the 89ers tonight. We fought hard for 40 minutes and came out victorious. Great way to start the new year, knocking off one of the best teams in the league who were also riding a 12-game win streak. (I) couldn't be more proud of my guys."

Lance Allred had a team-high 19 points with 11 rebounds for Kyoto (15-6) and Rick Rickert added 16 points and 15 boards. Kyosuke Setoyama scored seven points.

"We were really focused all week on the things we needed to do to stop Kyoto's winning streak," said Sendai coach Bob Pierce, whose team last played on Dec. 25. "I felt we had a pretty good game plan, and was really proud that our players stayed poised, and kept their focus on the defensive and offensive schemes we had practiced."

Kyoto's rotation includes a trio of 211-cm players: Rickert, Allred and Babacar Camara.

"That may be the first game in Japan with five players out there 211 cm or taller," Pierce said. "Rashaad was huge for us. He was selected as the Game MVP. ... But a lot of credit has to go to Filip Toncinic for what he did in practice to help Rashaad and our team prepare to face the three bigs from Kyoto."

In addition, Takahashi had his second-best scoring output of the season.

"Ken told me this week that he would be ready, and he was, hitting 3 of 6 three point shots," Pierce noted. "And Take (Shimura) was superb as the steady floor leader."

Sendai's defense has been solid in recent games, and that was a key factor in the 89ers' first game of 2012.

"In our last three games our opponents have scored 60, 61, and 62 points. So even though we lost two in Osaka, we had lots of confidence in our defense coming into this one," Pierce added.

The 89ers picked up a big win on Saturday night, but there will be little time to savor the victory.

"The problem is that (Kyoto) coach (Honoo) Hamaguchi is as good as there is at getting his team ready to avenge a defeat the following day," Pierce said. "So we need to be ready to come out and play even tougher tomorrow."

B-Corsairs 80, Broncos 68

In Yokohama, Justin Burrell scored a game-high 33 points and the hosts earned a series sweep.

Pape Mour Faye added nine points, Chas McFarland had eight points with 10 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks in 27-plus productive minutes as Yokohama, a first-year franchise, improved to 11-13.

The B-Corsairs held a 50-35 rebounding edge.

Kenny Satterfield paced Saitama (7-17) with 18 points and Jayme Miller scored 17. John "Helicopter" Humphrey, who has 37-, 40- and 52-point games this season, scored two points and only attempted three shots from the field (0-for-3). Humphrey was 10-for-18 for 28 points in the series opener.

Shining Suns 96, Albirex BB 90

In Miyazaki, swingman Dexter Lyons scored 20 points, Tsubasa Yonezawa poured in 19 and the hosts beat Niigata in the series opener.

Yonezawa reached double digits in scoring for the fifth time in the last seven games. He was averaging 5.2 points per game entering Saturday's contest. Lewis Witcher chipped in with 17 points for the Shining Suns (12-13), while O'Neal "Trey" Mims had 14. Big man Darryl Dora added 11 boards and seven assists.

Nile Murry was the top scorer for the Albirex (14-9), finishing with 24 points. Erron Maxey had 16 points, Yuichi Ikeda scored 15 and Chris Holm hauled in 14 rebounds.

Northern Happinets 75, Grouses 67

In Akita, Curtis Terry had a game-high 36 points, including seven 3-pointers, Ricky Woods scored 14 and the hosts snapped a three-game losing streak.

Stanley Ocitti added a double-double (11 points, 12 boards) for the Happinets (14-9).

For Toyama (10-11), Brian Harper was the high scorer with 18 points, Takeshi Mito had 12, and Devin Searcy and Masashi Joho each scored 10.

Brave Warriors 75, Big Bulls 64

In Nagano, Derek Raivio had 27 points, five rebounds and five assists and Tyler Hughes contributed 19 points and 10 boards as Shinshu won its first game of 2012.

Edward Morris had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Brave Warriors (10-13).

For Iwate (7-18), Shawn Malloy scored 18 points and raked in 20 boards, while teammates Thomas Kennedy and Gordon Klaiber had 15 points apiece.

Susanoo Magic 85, Lakestars 63

In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, balanced scoring carried coach Zeljko Pavlicevic's squad to a victory over Shiga.

Reggie Golson was the Magic's top scorer (23 points), followed by Michael Parker (19 points, 15 rebounds), Jeral Davis (11 points, eight boards), Jumpei Nakama (11 points) and Edward Yamamoto (eight points and six assists). Shimane improved to 13-10.

Julius Ashby led the Lakestars (15-8) with 17 points, Yu Okada scored 15 and Ray Nixon 13.

Evessa 71, Five Arrows 65

In Takamatsu, Wayne Marshall scored 13 points, Kevin Tyner had 12, Cohey Aoki added 11 and Osaka held off the undermanned Five Arrows.

Lynn Washington and Lawrence Blackledge both scored nine points for the Evessa (16-5).

Takamatsu (1-22) is winless at home in 11 games this season. Hiroyuki Kikuchi scored 20 points to lead the hosts and Nyika Williams added 18 points and 16 rebounds. Paul Butorac, Keishiro Tsutsumi and Masaaki Suzuki were unavailable due to a viral illness and visited a local hospital, and the team only dressed six players. League rules state a team must dress eight players for a game, but an exception was made this time, the league stated in a press release.

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