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A Successful Start to 2015 for Wolves

Plymouth Raiders 90-95 Worcester Wolves

Last Updated: Jan 6, 2015 01:23pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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Worcester Wolves have started the New Year in successful fashion after grinding out a 95-90 win at Plymouth Raiders on Sunday.

By the close of the first half Wolves had established a nine-point lead and looked in control. Towards the close of the third quarter they had fallen behind 61-68. As the final period progressed Worcester once more stepped on the gas to overtake their hosts, with one-time Plymouth forward Jamal Williams particularly impressing against his former employers with 21 points.

The opening quarter was notable for an explosion of three-pointers from Raiders. Pierre Hampton connected twice, while their latest signing, Great Britain guard Ben Mockford, was on target three times. Wolves’ centre Robert Thurman returned to the court for the first time after sitting out a trio of matches with an ankle injury, making an immediate impact when jamming home a Remi Dibo miss.

It was Thurman who moved Worcester ahead at 30-29 as the second period began.  With four minutes remaining until the interval, a couple of baskets from point guard Chavis Holmes ignited a 14-4 burst to close the half at 51-42.

Williams maximised the Wolves’ advantage at eleven points straight after the break, but Plymouth once again found their range from long-distance to roar back into the contest. Josh Wilcher started the run, followed by his backcourt partner Brent Benson. Mockford showed continuing accuracy to sink another trio of triples, with Hampton icing the comeback.

With eight minutes of the afternoon left, the teams were tied at 71-71. A Thurman finger-roll nudged Worcester in front before Benson replied. The sides were finally broken apart at 84-75 following a double of scores from reserve guard Disraeli Lufadeju. Plymouth slowed the end by repeatedly sending their visitors to the free-throw line, but were by then unable to replicate their earlier shooting success.

Thurman, Holmes and recent addition Paul Guede all put forward impressive performances. Thurman returned 14 points and nine rebounds; Holmes totalled 19 points and nine boards, while Guede’s numbers stood at 17 points and eight rebounds. Wolves’ coach Paul James was pleased to see across-the-board contributions to the victory, saying: “Plymouth got hot at the start and again in the third quarter, but we kept our composure and shut them down. Jamal was superb and is revelling in playing major minutes. With four other guys scoring in double-figures, we had a great balance.”

The next outing for the Wolves will take place this Friday at the University of Worcester Arena versus top-of the table Newcastle Eagles. Wolves remain the only team to defeat them so far this season. James remarked: “We beat them at their place on opening night but they haven’t lost since. It will undoubtedly be tough, but we’ll be ready for them.”

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