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Newcastle Eagles 86-74 Worcester Wolves

Friday 22nd November 2013

Last Updated: Nov 24, 2013 06:34pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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Worcester Wolves were just seconds away from inflicting a second home defeat on one of their closest challengers on Friday.

A late rally from Esh Group Eagles Newcastle allowed them to scrape into overtime, before going on to dominate the extra period.

In a match that was notable for wayward shooting from both sides, it was Wolves who led 66-60 with just a minute remaining. Eagles’ guard Paul Gause stood on the free-throw line with just three seconds left on the clock, needing to make both foul shots for his side to stay in the contest. After duly converting the shots he went on to lead Newcastle to the eventual victory, allowing them to join Worcester at the top of the British Basketball League.

Andreas Schreiber grabbed all seven of the Wolves’ opening points, before taking a break on the bench. However, he was quickly recalled to the action to replace centre Will Creekmore who had picked up his second foul of the night after just six minutes had been played. A succession of free throws from Alex Owumi helped Wolves take a slender 14-13 advantage into the second period.

The lead was extended when Owumi assisted Schreiber to dunk home. Already juggling his troops, with Jamal Williams sat on the side-lines nursing a calf injury, coach Paul James would have been troubled to see forward Kalil Irving called for his third foul by midway through the quarter, and his team in arrears at 24-29.

Minutes later it was the turn of the Eagles to be dismayed when their veteran captain Charles Smith swiftly fell foul of the referees. After being awarded his fourth infraction for a push on Creekmore, Smith compounded the situation by disputing the call and being disqualified from the evening.

Creekmore coolly sank both the double of free throws given for the push and the double of shots for the technical. Daniel Belgrave scored on Wolves’ next possession, reducing the deficit to 32-35 by the half-time interval.

Both teams had been completely off-target from long range during the first half, unable to make any of 16 three-pointers attempted. It was Scott Martin who finally broke the drought, taking his side seven points ahead, before Zaire Taylor replied in kind for the Wolves.

With four minutes of the third quarter remaining, point guard Taylor was adjudged to have charged into Gause. A moment afterwards his backcourt partner, Owumi, joined him on the four foul count mark, with Worcester in arrears at 43-48. As if enraged by the referees’ judgements, Taylor promptly rattled off the next four baskets of the match to put his side 53-50 in front by the end of the quarter.

The momentum swing continued into the final period of regulation time, with the next eight points going the way of the visitors, including five for Belgrave. With six minutes to go the score stood at 61-50 as Newcastle struggled to puncture Worcester’s zone defence.

Gause and Martin pulled back four points and Malik Cooke then nailed his first triple of the evening. Cooke repeated the feat to see the score hauled back to 63-60 entering the final couple of minutes. By now Taylor had exited the game after his fifth foul, but his back up, Caylin Raftopoulos, silenced home spectators when floating in a wondrous shot from beyond the arc.

Great Britain International Darius Defoe battled to a score and quickly followed this up with two made free throws after being fouled by Irving. After Irving’s next shot went astray, Gause was fouled by Schreiber as he made for the hoop, calmly levelling matters from the free-throw line.

In the overtime period the momentum had firmly swung back to the hosts. Gause and Cooke combined for a trio of three-pointers and Wolves suddenly trailed 66-77, with no way back into contention.

Owumi and Taylor led the Worcester scoring with 16 and 13 points respectively. Cooke top-scored for Newcastle with 29 points.

Wolves will next take to the court on Friday evening, when Manchester Giants visit the University of Worcester (tip off 7.30pm). 

British Basketball League

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standings as at Friday 22-November-13

 

 

 

 

 

Played

Win

Loss

Points

1.     Esh Group Eagles Newcastle

10

8

2

16

2.     Worcester Wolves

11

8

3

16

3.     Leicester Riders

9

7

2

14

3.     One Health Sharks Sheffield

9

7

2

14

3.     London Lions

9

7

2

14

6.     Plymouth University Raiders

10

6

4

12

7.     Durham Wildcats

9

4

5

8

8.     Manchester Giants

9

3

6

6

9.     Cheshire Phoenix

10

3

7

6

10.   Glasgow Rocks

8

2

6

4

11.   Birmingham Knights

8

0

8

0

11.   Surrey United

8

0

8

0

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