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Golden Kings split pair with Niigata

Date Posted: 2008-12-11

The Ryukyu Golden Kings first snapped a two-game losing streak with a win over the Niigata Albirex to keep a grip on first place in the Basketball Japan League Western Division, then turned around and lost a second match to even the series.

The Niigata Albirex fell to Okinawa 88-80 Saturday behind the shooting of Golden Kings Anthony McHenry and Shigeyuki Kinjo, who each poured in 14 points.

A thriller on Sunday went the other way as Niigata planted a basket with five seconds remaining in the game to squeak past the Golden Kings 74-73. The loss drops Okinawa to 12-4, still enough to cling to the top division spot. The Albirex win clipped a six-game losing streak, with Niigata’s Dokun Akingbade scoring a team record 20 points while hauling down 13 rebounds.

Chris Ayer racked up a game-high 22 points for the Ryukyu squad, which now has been on the losing end of three of the last four games. Jeff newton picked up 11 rebounds and 12 points for Okinawa, while Naoto Takushi helped the cause with 10 points, either rebounds and seven assists.

Tokyo’s Apache stretched its winning ways to five consecutive games, solidly holding the top spot in the league’s eastern division. The Apache beat Oita’s HeatDevils 99-79 and 101-82 in weekend action. The Osaka Evessa split a pair with the Saitama Broncos, losing 83-66 Saturday, then bouncing back to trounce Saitama 96-68 on Sunday.

The hapless Toyama Grouses couldn’t seem to even buy a basket over the weekend, falling 100-86 and 117-78 to the Takamatsu Five Arrows. The Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix split a weekend bill with the Rizing Fukuoka, winning 76-74 on its home court, then turning around and losing 82-77.

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