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Wolves Boss Applauds Strong Defence

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2015 01:31pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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Saturday 28 November 2015

 

Bristol Flyers 70-83 Worcester Wolves

 

For the second night in a row Worcester Wolves imposed a defensive stranglehold on their opponents when completing a weekend of consecutive wins by triumphing 70-83 at Bristol Flyers on Saturday.

Coach Paul James praised his players’ intensity after Friday’s 76-66 victory over Leeds Force, and was again able to highlight their ability to limit the other team’s offense, saying: “You have to learn how to play defense. Bristol is a tough place to come to, and to then hold them down to just 70 points shows what our guys can do when they work as a unit.”

Seven of Wolves’ squad had significant minutes on court and all seven of them contributed near-enough double-figure returns, allowing James to express further approval: “Everyone had a hand in the win. It was a real team effort. I’m very proud of them,” he added.

Josh Cameron was introduced to the action after just three minutes and he responded with 19 points and a bagful of assists. Perris Blackwell and Javier Mugica each tallied twelve points, followed closely by Jay Couisnard and Pavol Losonsky with eleven points apiece. Ben Eaves and Disraeli Lufadeju rounded off the balance of the scoring by both hitting nine points.

Wolves fell behind early when their former guard Roy Owen finalised a 14-3 start for the hosts. Cameron opened his personal account and then drilled the ball to Blackwell for his teammate to also debut on the scoresheet. A Cameron triple was followed by rat-a-tat scores for Mugica, helping the visitors into a 19-21 advantage at the close of the first period.

Neither side was able to pull clear of the other over the remainder of the half. Doug McLaughin-Wiliams sank successive three-pointers to edge Flyers 38-36 ahead as the sides entered the locker rooms.

A set-play after the interval saw Lufadeju float a shot home from the left corner to re-take the lead. Continuing accuracy from distance saw Worcester draw away to 56-62 by the third quarter’s end.

The final period saw Wolves place a cover over their own basket. Bristol’s attacks were repeatedly repulsed by stifling defense. Wayward passes were accompanied by rushed shot attempts. Four scoreless minutes led to a Flyers’ time out once an embarrassing airball from McLaughin-Wiliams had drawn howls of derision from a large Wolves’ following amongst the crowd.

Points from the free throw line were all that Bristol could muster until their forward Mathias Seilund finally broke the drought after a further two minutes had elapsed.

In the meantime Worcester kept their side of the scoreboard ticking over nicely. Players on the bench and travelling supporters were all brought to their feet when Cameron threaded a pass to Blackwell who in turn placed it in the hands of Couisnard for a powerful slam and a decisive 60-73 cushion.

The match ended with more points snapped up from turnovers, completing a winning weekend for the Wolves and boosting them up to second place in the British Basketball League.

It will be nearly two weeks before Worcester are back in action when third-placed Midlands rivals Leicester Riders visit the city on Friday 11 December. James is welcoming the opportunity for a break, saying: “I was very concerned about tonight’s game being our second in two days, but it’s great that I can now give players a few days off. We have some guys who are really beat up right now.”

When the combatants last met in September Wolves sank to a 54-88 reversal. James feels that it will be a different affair this time around, adding: “When we played them before it was very early in the season when we still had players finding their roles. We’ll now be much more ready for them, rested and looking to put on a show for all our loyal fans back at the University of Worcester Arena.”


Worcester Wolves 76-66 Leeds Force

 

Worcester Wolves coach Paul James applauded a solid defensive performance as he watched his players close the doors on any Black Friday bargains for Leeds Force in the first game of a doubleheader weekend.

After losing their last two outings at the University of Worcester Arena, James was pleased to see his charges provide a positive reaction with a 76-66 success, saying: “It was important to get back to winning ways, especially at home.

“Yes, there were a few moments of doubt here and there, but to only give up 66 points is a great defensive effort. We dug in and made it difficult for Leeds to get good shots.”

A month ago Wolves walloped their visitors with a 27-point margin of victory; it was a much tighter affair on this occasion with the hosts only pulling clear in the later stages.

In a satisfying spread of scorers, point guard Ashton Khan led the way on 20 points, with reliable centre Perris Blackwell following closely on 18 points. Javier Mugica also impressed with a double-double return of 12 points and 14 rebounds.

It was a nervy start to the evening with Wolves falling 9-15 behind after five minutes had elapsed and James signaling for a time out to talk it over. After the restart, Blackwell opened his account and then assisted Pavol Losonsky to do likewise. Two more first-quarter buckets from the American helped reverse the lead to 22-19 by the period’s end.

Finding hands in their faces as they attempted outside shots, and losing the battle inside against Blackwell and his fellow big man Ben Eaves, limited Leeds to just ten more first-half points. Meanwhile Worcester kept the scoreboard ticking to move further ahead at 36-29.

After their British seven-footer Zak Wells made his presence felt with a ferocious dunk, and their import pairing of DeAndre Bullard and Kwan Waller had finally begun to consistently connect, Leeds had dragged themselves back to trail by just 48-47. 

However, Khan took control of the final quarter proceedings, confidently distributing the ball while still making his own shots. On one play he amazed the crowd by spinning around defenders and still converting despite falling to the floor as he was fouled. With their defensive intensity now back on show, Wolves were able to ride to the win.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s trip to Bristol Flyers, James added: “Leeds showed that every team in this league needs to be respected. Bristol will provide a similar challenge. We’ll get our rest now and hopefully get the job done again.”


 

 

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