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Golden Kings hold Western Conference lead

Date Posted: 2012-02-09

The hometown fans were ecstatic, watching the Ryukyu Golden Kings whip out a pair of high scoring wins over the Takamatsu Five Arrow in a weekend sweep.

The Golden Kings now have a comfortable Western Conference lead in the Basketball Japan League with a 24-6 record. The Okinawa squad saw Takamatsu come into town with a lowly 2-26 record, stepping onto the Okinawa City court to face the Golden Kings. When the buzzer hit, Okinawa won 88-58, with Naoto Kosuge firing off five three-pointers as part of his 21-point contribution. Anthony McHenry added 1t plus 11 rebounds, while Dillion Sneed and Morihisa Yamauchi each had 13 points.

Sunday’s action was even wilder, with the Golden Kings pulling off a 100-60 victory behind Jeff Newton’s 25 points and 17 rebounds, and david Palmer’s six three-pointers and 23 points total. Dillion Sneed scored 21 and hauled down 10 boards, Naoto Kosuge added nine and Narito Namizato went into the record books with seven assists.

It was a big weekend for the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix, the Eastern Conference powerhouse that’s struggled a bit this season. Former Osaka Evessa forward Lawrence Blackledge joined the Phoenix and made his debut with 23 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals as the Phoenix outdid the Shimane Susanoo Magic 79-62, and earned the best record in the Eastern Conference at 19-10.

The Phoenix worked magic again Sunday, edging the Magic 85-83, with Jermaine Dixon scoring a game-best 27 points. The win pushed the Eastern Conference leaders to a 20-10 record, while the Susanoo Magic dropped to 17-13. The Osaka Evessa, meanwhile, outlasted the Shiga Lakestars 70-69 on Saturday, then took Sunday’s game with a little less stress, 88-66. The Evessa are now 20-8, with the league’s stingiest defense that allows opponents only the league low 69.5 points per game.

The Kyoto Hannaryz drubbed the Fukuoka Rizing, which is struggling with team members battling the flu, 97-74 on Saturday, only to have the Rizing bounce back Sunday with a 72-63 win in Kyoto. The Sendai 89ers made it two in a row over the Albirex BB, picking up a Saturday win 80-73, and keeping momentum Sunday to outlast the host Niigata squad 66-62.

The Toyama Grouses also swept a pair over the weekend, upending the Oita HeatDevils 86-73 on Saturday, then taking an 83-74 win on Sunday. The Yokohama B-Corsairs split a pair with the Iwate Big Bulls, winning 79-64, only to fall Sunday 69-62. The Akita Northern Happinets split a series of their own with Shinshu Brave Warriors, claiming an 80-73 Saturday win, then falling 90-78 on Sunday. The Happinets are now 18-12, while the Brave Warriors drop to 12-18. The Chiba Jets worked a series split with the Saitama Broncos, with Chiba winning the second stanza 103-84.

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