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League Leaders Outclass Knights

Birmingham Knights 60-117 Worcester Wolves

Last Updated: Feb 25, 2014 06:12am
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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The day after beating one of their closest rivals for the BBL Championship, the Newcastle Eagles, Worcester Wolves made the short trip to bottom-of-the-table Birmingham Knights.

Still on a high from seeing off the Eagles, Wolves made short work of the hopelessly outclassed Knights, sauntering to a 117-60 victory.

This latest triumph stretches Wolves’ unbeaten record to three months and leaves them with a record in the league of 20 wins and just three losses. For long periods coach Paul James was able to give a run out to the normally lesser-used members of his squad and they responded with lively performances, none more so than Stefan Djukic who rampaged to a career-high 30 points.

The tone for the evening was set early as Birmingham fumbled successive possessions while allowing their visitors to race to an 11-0 lead. After four minutes the Knights finally troubled the scoreboard, a three-pointer from forward Martyn Gayle. When his elder brother, one-time Worcester guard, Michael Gayle converted a couple of minutes later the Birmingham deficit stood at 15-7, the closest they would come to their opponents.

Alex Owumi sank the last basket of the initial quarter, moving his personal tally to nine points, and his team’s lead to 29-11. Kai Williams was the prime contributor as the second period began, taking the first five points, blocking an attacker’s shot and then lofting a long pass to Zaire Taylor who delighted in producing a spin reverse slam of the ball through the hoop.

Knights’ coach Paul Douglas attempted to quell the onslaught with a time out, but this had little effect in lessening his side’s woes. Reserve guard Caylin Raftopoulos thrilled a large band of travelling Worcester supporters by floating home consecutive triples to move matters to 47-18. The last play before the half-time interval typified Wolves’ dominance; centre Will Creekmore and Djukic teased Birmingham defenders by to-ing and fro-ing the ball several times between them until Djukic mercifully ended the torment by jamming it into the basket.

It was Creekmore and Djukic who largely continued the heavy artillery after the break. Creekmore registered nine points including an outrageous shot from behind the backboard as he tumbled out of bounds, while Djukic continually muscled players aside as he pounded his way to thirteen points.

A prominent feature of Knights’ performances this season has been the scoring of their American guard Brent Benson, averaging 23 points per game. It was another measure of Worcester’s control that it took over 25 minutes for Benson to open his account, with his team by then already staring skywards at a huge 71-28 deficit.

Entering the final ten minutes of the afternoon, a powering 86-38 lead had already been established, and most of Wolves’ starters had retired for the evening. Revelling in their increased court time were Calvin Morant-Hudson who got himself onto the score sheet, and fellow guard Raftopoulos who added to his earlier scores. Daniel Belgrave also came to the fore, swishing home a trio of three-pointers.

Paul James was satisfied at seeing his team assert their authority, saying: “We certainly carried on with our form from the Newcastle game. I was pleased that I was able to give everyone plenty of minutes, and no one disappointed me. Individually, Stefan Djukic was superb with 30 points and that’s fantastic for him.”

Behind Djukic, the next highest scorers were two players who both registered double-double of statistics. Creekmore tallied 17 points and ten rebounds, while Owumi nabbed 13 points and grabbed 12 boards. Martyn Gayle and Brent Benson were Birmingham’s only double-digit scorers, with 17 and 14 points respectively.

Wolves’ next outing will undoubtedly be a much harder task as they return to the University of Worcester Arena this Friday to meet Newcastle Eagles in a mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash.

Photo: File pic

British Basketball League

 

 

 

Standings as at Saturday 22-February-14

 

 

Played

Win

Loss

Points

1.     Worcester Wolves

23

20

3

40

2.     Esh Group Eagles Newcastle

21

17

4

34

3.     One Health Sharks Sheffield

20

15

5

30

4.     Leicester Riders

21

15

6

30

5.     London Lions

23

14

9

28

6.     Cheshire Phoenix

23

12

11

24

7.     Plymouth University Raiders

22

11

11

22

8.     Durham Wildcats

23

10

13

20

9.     Glasgow Rocks

23

9

14

18

10.   Manchester Giants

22

7

15

14

11.   Surrey United

22

3

19

6

12.   Birmingham Knights

23

0

23

0

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