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Newcastle Eagles 81-75 Worcester Wolves

Last Updated: Mar 14, 2016 06:26pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By colin Taylor
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Worcester Wolves fought hard before finally succumbing to a 75-81 defeat at the hands of the runaway leaders of the British Basketball League on Friday.

Back in January it was Worcester who put paid to Newcastle Eagles’ record-setting 28-match unbeaten run, but on this occasion they just fell short of another upset win.

In a see-saw contest, Wolves fell behind early, but went 42-38 up by half-time. They trailed again at 52-61 entering the last quarter, before their hosts did just enough to quell another fight-back.

Though disappointed not to have seen his team win, Coach Paul James was keen to give praise to his players’ efforts, saying: “We gave Newcastle a fight. We battled well. We took more shots than them, we out-rebounded them. Unfortunately we had one or two lapses at key stages which led to them outscoring us.

“They hit their shots at the right times and we didn’t, but again I want to highlight our work-rate. We pulled down sixteen offensive rebounds and that doesn’t happen unless everyone is working hard.”

Perris Blackwell muscled his way to 27 points to lead all scorers, supported by Pavol Losonsky and Javier Mugica on 16 and 11 points respectively.

Wolves fell into an early hole, 16-23 behind entering the second quarter. Ben Eaves and Orlan Jackman got on the scoresheet to bring matters back to 24-25, prompting a Newcastle time out.

A rapid-fire three baskets in a minute for Losonsky opened a 37-32 lead for Wolves. Mugica further widened the advantage with a triple before Eagles’ guard Joe Chapman closed the gap at the interval.

Back and forth scoring after the break tied the match at 51-51 after five minutes had elapsed. However, a barren end to the third period saw Wolves once more in arrears.

Newcastle still held sway at 73-63 with four minutes remaining, following another Chapman three-pointer. Jackman replied in kind and was then on hand to grab the ball after an Ashton Khan miss and present it for Khan to convert.

A long-range success for Mugica brought his side to 73-77 in the final minute of the evening before time finally ran out for the plucky visitors.

Wolves will make their first appearance at the University of Worcester Arena in over a month, next Friday 18 March, when Plymouth Raiders visit the city. James is looking forward to coming back to Worcester, saying: “I’m relishing our return to our own court. Hopefully there’ll be a big crowd to welcome us back and see us repeat the passion and intensity we showed tonight.”

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