Register

Two Wins & Wolves Go Second

Worcester Wolves Weekend Results

Last Updated: Apr 21, 2014 09:32pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
53557f2c67b67.jpg
Share |

 

Saturday 19 April 2014

 

Surrey United 77-103 Worcester Wolves


 

In their first game of this British Basketball League season, back in September, Worcester Wolves came away from a trip to Surrey United with a massive 117-60 victory.

Seven months later the venue was the same for Wolves in their final regular season game and, while the winning margin may not have been quite so large, the outcome was another comprehensive win for Coach Paul James’ charges.

This latest 103-77 triumph puts Worcester, at least temporarily, into second place in the table, pending the outcome of Sheffield Sharks’ match at Plymouth Raiders on Sunday afternoon. If the Sharks lose in Devon, Wolves will retain their placing and face the league’s seventh-place finisher in the first round of the post-season playoffs. A Sharks win will drop Wolves to third place and mean their opponents, over two legs, will be the London Lions.

A couple of baskets each for forward Stefan Djukic and guard Zaire Taylor were the feature of a 12-7 start for Worcester. For Surrey, Lithuanian centre Ces Kucinskas was the early standout, hitting six points to aid his team to climb back to 19-18 by the last minute of the quarter. When American import Nick Freer then opened his scoring account, the visitors trailed for the first time.

Aside from three wins over bottom-of-the-table Birmingham Knights, Surrey have only tasted success in one other match this season. Accordingly, they could have been excused for finding it difficult to hold on to a lead against one of this year’s elite sides. And so it proved to be when a score from Taylor restored natural order within a couple of minutes of the beginning of the second period.

On the next play Taylor tormented his opposite number Joel Henry into giving up the ball, and the Surrey player immediately compounded his error by fouling Kai Williams on a three-point shot attempt. Williams made two of the three free throws he was consequently awarded, and a moment later stood clear to sink a three-point shot and open daylight between the teams at 31-26. It was from here that United crumbled. Club captain Alex Owumi floated home the first two of what would prove to be six personal triples overall, and by half-time the lead had accelerated to 52-36.

Owumi’s hot streak carried over past the interval. When a Djukic missed free throw bounced out it was Owumi who was the first to react, immediately passing the ball back for the Serbian big man to dunk through the hoop. Between the fourth and sixth minutes of the third quarter Owumi totally knocked the stuffing out of Surrey with a stunning burst of three consecutive triples, helping Wolves establish an unassailable 72-48 advantage.

Entering the last ten minutes coasting at 80-56, there was no let-up in the torture. Taylor and Owumi both converted from the outside, and young English forward Harry Turner then delighted a sizeable band of travelling Worcester fans by joining the three-point shooting party. In the final seconds, for good measure, reserve guard Caylin Raftopoulos ensured he also dotted his name on the scoresheet with a long-range success, tipping Worcester over the century of points tallied.

Just as in Friday’s win over Glasgow Rocks, there was an even spread of scorers across the Worcester roster. Owumi led the way with 24 points, closely followed by Taylor with 22. Taylor served up ten assists to register a double-double of statistics, while Will Creekmore also grabbed the honour, with a 19 point and eleven rebound performance. Williams and Djukic made their mark with 19 and nine points respectively. Kucinskas top-scored for Surrey with 26 points.

While Wolves await confirmation of the name of their opponents for the first round of the playoffs, the timing of the second leg of the encounter has already been set. This will take place at the University of Worcester Arena next Sunday afternoon, 27 April, (tip off 3pm).

 

 

Friday 18 April 2014

Worcester Wolves 84-79 Glasgow Rocks


Worcester Wolves held on to their chance of claiming second place in the British Basketball League by defeating Glasgow Rocks at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday.

With the current holders of the runners-up spot, Sheffield Sharks, also emerging victorious in their penultimate fixture, the final standings will not be confirmed until Sunday afternoon after Sharks have completed their trip to Plymouth Raiders. If Wolves win as expected in their match at lowly Surrey United on Saturday, then matters will hinge on what takes place in Devon the day after.

With Glasgow battling hard to stay in contention for a playoff place, Good Friday was never an entirely comfortable way for the Worcester players to enjoy a Bank Holiday. Although a substantial 51-32 advantage had been accumulated by halfway through the contest, the Rocks doggedly stuck to the task, leaving the game still up for grabs in the final seconds, with Wolves just managing to secure a hard-fought 84-79 success.

Nearly half of Wolves’ first quarter points came from an unlikely source, young English forward Kalil Irving. He floated home a three-pointer to bring up an early 8-4 lead, and a few moments later impressed with a confident drive to the hoop. Glasgow edged in front after Gareth Murray was on target with a triple, but eight additional points from Irving soon regained the lead.

Kai Williams sank from the outside to close the first quarter at 29-24, and Alex Owumi did likewise as the second quarter opened. Another double of baskets from Williams stretched the advantage to 37-24 at seven minutes left in the half, forcing a Glasgow time out. The short interruption did little to help the visitors as Zaire Taylor opened his account, and Disraeli Lufadeju came off the bench to sink a deuce of three-pointers.

However, the longer interval break seemed to have a different effect as Glasgow rallied. Wolves’ centre Will Creekmore hit two scores in the first minute of the second half, but it would be a further three minutes before any other Worcester player would score again from the field. In the meantime the Rocks chipped away at the deficit, closing matters to 58-51 with two minutes of the third period remaining.

After the first couple of minutes of the final quarter had elapsed, the gap had reduced to just 68-63 after a series of successes for Murray, and for his forward partner Fran Urli. Accurate shooting from Owumi initially looked to have put down the resistance as the advantage widened back out to 75-63 at five minutes to play, prompting Rocks’ player-coach Sterling Davis to urgently call for another break.

With their season on the line, Davis’ troops responded, providing an exciting finale. With Scottish-born Murray’s scoring inspiring his team mates, the arrears were once more reduced to 80-74 approaching the last minute of the evening. Williams was adjudged to have impeded Chris Johnson as he laid the ball home, and then had to watch his fellow Canadian make the bonus free throw, to make it a one-shot game.

At 38 seconds to go the tension ratcheted even higher after Taylor got in the way of Alex Marcotullio’s desperate three-point attempt. Marcotullio converted two of the three foul shots he was awarded, bringing his side tantalisingly close at 80-79. However the valiant efforts of the visitors were not ultimately rewarded as Taylor found Lufadeju open, and the first-year Worcester man was able to float home his third long distance success of the evening.        

Wolves’ coach Paul James reflected on what took place, saying: “We always knew Glasgow would scrap hard, with their play-off hopes still in the balance. The message to our players was to end the regular season as we started it here, with a win. We did well in the first half, but became static in the second. Ultimately we came through though, helped by a big three-pointer at the end from Dizzy.

“I’m also pleased that we had five players scoring in double-figures, as well as a stunning performance from Zaire Taylor; 14 rebounds, 13 points and 11 assists – what more can you ask for from your point guard.”

Top scorers for Worcester were Owumi and Irving with 21 and 15 points respectively. Murray and Johnson joint top-scored for Glasgow with 18 points apiece.

The regular season will conclude for Wolves with Saturday’s trip to Surrey. The home leg in the first round of the play-offs will take place at the University of Worcester Arena next Sunday, 27 April, (tip off 3pm).

British Basketball League

 

 

 

Standings as at Friday 18-April-14

 

 

Played

Win

Loss

Points

1.     Esh Group Eagles Newcastle

33

28

5

56

2.     Worcester Wolves

33

27

6

54

3.     One Health Sharks Sheffield

32

26

6

52

4.     Leicester Riders

33

23

10

46

5.     Cheshire Phoenix

32

18

14

36

6.     London Lions

32

16

16

32

7.     Plymouth University Raiders

32

14

18

28

8.     Manchester Giants

32

13

19

26

9.     Durham Wildcats

32

13

19

26

10.   Glasgow Rocks

32

12

20

24

11.   Surrey United

32

4

28

8

12.   Birmingham Knights

33

0

33

0

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus