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Wolves demolish Surrey United

Surrey United 60-117 Worcester Wolves

Last Updated: Sep 29, 2013 02:27pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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Saturday 28 September 2013

Surrey United 60-117 Worcester Wolves

It was definitely a case of men versus boys on Saturday evening in Guildford as Worcester Wolves demolished Surrey United 117-60. Surrey have begun the latest British Basketball League season under new ownership, with the Heat part of their name dropped and replaced by United. While the name-change may not have been too radical, the overhaul in their personnel certainly has been, with not a single player remaining from last year’s roster. Not only that, but most of their replacements are barely into their twenties, with no experience of competing at the BBL level.

In contrast, Wolves’ coach Paul James has built a squad with just a sprinkling of youngsters, and with his starting five boasting a wealth of big-game experience. With the additional factor of his charges raring to get back into action after the long summer break, it was always going to be difficult for Surrey to hold back the onslaught.

The first seven points of the night went the way of the Wolves, before the hosts were able to pull matters back to 12-12 following a neat lay up from their Great Britain under-20 point guard Elvisi Dusha.

Wolves’ new signing Caylin Raftopoulos, son of former Surrey coach Creon, then stepped on to court to warm applause from the home supporters and reminded them what they are missing, with an immediate score. This was the beginning of an 18-2 tear that put Worcester firmly in command at 32-14 by the end of the opening quarter. The brief interval did little to disrupt the offensive flow of the visitors as they virtually doubled their scoring by half-time, whilst continuing to limit the production of their opponents.

Already trailing 26-61 at the half, Surrey’s job soon got even harder when the input of forward Sebastian Ferenc was hampered after picking up his fourth foul. At 6 feet 8 inches, Ferenc was the sole person providing any significant height to United coach Jack Majewski’s side. Wolves’ big summer capture Will Creekmore now found it even easier to claim space around the basket, on his way to a game-high 32 points.

With his team leading 93-43 entering the final quarter, Creekmore then displayed his versatility when sinking a three-pointer to bring up the century for Worcester. As the game wound down, the Wolves’ starters mercifully retired to the side-lines, freeing Surrey’s Lithuanian guard Ignas Sijanas to notch eight late points and give some cheer to the healthy home support, on the way to the final 60-117 scoreline.

Paul James was pleased with the efficiency of the performance, commenting: “I was delighted with the way everyone applied themselves. We did what we had to do against a team that we had to put away. I’m sure we’ll have much harder games to come and this was a useful opener for us.”

James was also generous in his remarks about United, saying: “Their guys kept battling until the end. They’ve got one or two more players to come in and I’m sure things will improve once they arrive.”

As well as his 32 points, Creekmore dominated the boards, grabbing 17 rebounds. Next highest scorer was guard Zaire Taylor, who just missed out on a double-double of statistics when registering 29 points and nine assists. Two of last year’s Wolves stalwarts, Alex Owumi and Kalil Irving, notched 18 and eleven points respectively. Sijanas top-scored for Surrey with 19 points.

Wolves will now continue their build-up to what will undoubtedly be a much stiffer task this Friday (tip off 7.30pm) when they make their BBL home debut at the new University of Worcester Arena, against Leicester Riders. Last season’s treble-winning Riders will also enter the contest on the back of a substantial opening- night victory, having swept aside the Birmingham Knights 90-56.

Wolves Starters vs. Surrey: Zaire Taylor, Alex Owumi, Jamal Williams, Stefan Djukic, Will Creekmore. 

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