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Comfortable 83-67 for the Wolves

Worcester Wolves 83-67 Cheshire Phoenix

Last Updated: Oct 5, 2014 10:00pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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Worcester Wolves confirmed that they will be one of the teams to beat this year by comfortably seeing off one of the British Basketball League’s pre-season favourites, Cheshire Phoenix, 83-67, on Friday. Last week the Wolves began their new campaign by overcoming reigning champions Newcastle on their own court; this week they gave their fans at a packed University of Worcester Arena a first chance to see what all the fuss has been about.

While Cheshire coach John Coffino has scoured his contacts to bring in a raft of new American signings, it was only the efforts of British pairing Gareth Murray and David Aliu who kept their side in the match. For Wolves, there were contributions across the team, with centre Robert Thurman especially catching the eye as he powered to a second consecutive double-double of points and rebounds. Pouring in 22 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, Thurman was once more the player in the right place at the right time, as his teammates continually found him open.

Liverpool-born Aliu began the night’s scoring with a neat turnaround jumper, and a few moments later Scotsman Murray drilled the first of his five three-point successes during the evening. Worcester showed that they are also well-stacked with outside threats when forward Jamal Williams and captain Alex Owumi nailed a trio of long-range scores, establishing a 23-13 first quarter lead.

The advantage had widened to 33-19 before a Phoenix fightback ensued. Guard Brad Karp hit a quick-fire eight points as the visitors tallied 13 points without reply, nudging to 33-32 by midway through the second period. 

Thurman rose high to block another Karp effort, finally signaling a halt to Cheshire’s burst of scoring. Spectators jumped to their feet in excitement as Thurman positioned himself perfectly to jam home a well-timed lob from Williams. By the time Thurman had once more dunked the ball through the hoop as the first half expired, a handy 45-38 cushion had been re-established.

The third quarter was notable for the emergence of another of Wolves’ coach Paul James’ big man summer signings. 6’10 Donatas Visockis prowled around Cheshire’s basket, making sure he was the first to respond to any errant shots, tipping in three consecutive misses.

Comfortably ahead at 66-52 entering the final period, Worcester gave no opportunity for a Phoenix comeback. Frenchman Remi Dibo added five points to become his side’s second leading scorer, with Owumi and fellow guard Chavis Holmes also adding buckets to finish on 12 and 11 points respectively.    

Paul James was rightly pleased with the victory, saying: “It was another great all-round performance. They came back at us in the second quarter, but we got back to hard defence and took control again.

“It was fabulous to see so many fans in the stands again and I was pleased that we could reward them with a victory.”

With his side quickly back into action at Manchester Giants on Sunday, James added, “They beat Sheffield last weekend, so are likely to be fired up for our visit. We’ll be ready, and I’m confident that we can do what we have to do.”

After Sunday, Wolves will take a near-fortnight’s break from play before returning to the University of Worcester Arena on Friday 17 October, to face Surrey United. 


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