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Sheffield Sharks 85-75 Worcester Wolves

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2016 09:15pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By colin Taylor
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An error-strewn performance saw Worcester Wolves fall to a 75-85 defeat at Sheffield Sharks on Friday.

After two minutes had elapsed, Sharks moved into a lead that they would hold until the final buzzer. On a couple of occasions Wolves managed to claw back to threaten their hosts, but failed to maintain the consistency needed to get in front. 

Javier Mugica led the Worcester scoring on 16 points, with five of his team-mates edging into double-figures. However, no one player in a Wolves vest was able to take control of proceedings in a match that cried out for leadership and calm.

Mugica blocked Sheffield’s first shot attempt, leading to a dunk for Jay Couisnard.  Sharks’ sparingly-used British guard George Brownell slotted home a triple to get his side off and running. A moment later he repeated the feat. By midway through the first quarter, veteran forward Mike Tuck was also able to make consecutive triples and Wolves trailed badly at 3-14. 

Perris Blackwell finally made his return from injury and initially paired effectively with Pavol Losonsky to help matters back to 16-23. The last play of the period saw Sheffield’s Jerrold Brooks pounce upon an errant Ashton Khan pass.

Approaching half-time Worcester staged a comeback. Josh Cameron hit a three-pointer. Orlan Jackman and Blackwell combined for a classic pick and roll move. Mugica fooled his defender with a sublime head fake and Cameron was again on target to level matters at 36-36 with a minute remaining.

But the jitters returned. Running down time for the final shot of the half, Cameron fumbled under pressure from Brownell. Tuck gleefully grabbed a basket. A panicky inbound pass led to a foul on Tuck and two more points towards the 36-43 interval deficit.

Brownell was left open to make his third long-distance shot from the corner of the court, and his side‘s advantage widened to 38-50. Mugica and Blackwell stood together close to the hoop to once more drag Wolves back into contention at 54-54 with a couple of minutes left in the third period.

This was to be the visitors’ last serious stand. More success from the outside for Sheffield’s Brooks who would finish on 21 points, and more buckets inside for Tuck who would total 22 points. An unfortunate tally of 14 turnovers by the close of the evening sealed Wolves’ doom.

Coach Paul James summarised what he saw, saying: “We certainly didn’t defend the three well and we definitely didn’t take care of the ball. We twice got back into the match and twice stopped doing what had got us there. It was a naïve display.”

After a run of four matches on the road, Wolves finally return to action at the University of Worcester Arena this Friday, (tip off 7.30), when league leaders Newcastle Eagles visit the city.

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