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Worcester Wolves 69-81 Sheffield Sharks

Last Updated: Feb 13, 2016 04:22pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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An inconsistent performance saw Worcester Wolves slip to a 69-81 reversal against Sheffield Sharks on Friday.

A 47-42 half-time lead ought to have been a reasonable basis for a competitive match. However, Wolves could muster just less than half less that scoring output over the rest of the evening, while Sheffield stayed steady.

Jay Couisnard led the Worcester scorers with 19 points, but lacked reliable support from any other player. Orlan Jackman and Perris Blackwell finished with 16 and 14 points respectively, but, significantly, all but a couple of those points came before the interval.

Jackman was the feature of a competitive first quarter. When a long-distance effort from Javier Mugica bounced up off the rim, Jackman rose highest and fastest to slam the ball back in with both hands, exciting a large home crowd.

Blackwell battled his way to a double of close-to-the-basket scores to open the second period. When Jackman floated in a triple, the teams were tied at 27-27. Couisnard hit a three of his own. and rounded out the first-half by tipping home an errant attempt from Jackman.

Three minutes after the break Wolves’ lead had maximised at 53-44 following more energetic plays from Couisnard. From there the Worcester offence stagnated.

In the meantime, Sharks continued to plough an even furrow. Their American backcourt duo of Brandon Hogg and Jerrold Brooks combined well to keep their side in contention. Even when Hogg gave way to reserve British guard George Brownell, there was no disruption to the visitors’ composure. Five rapid points from the Yorkshireman helped matters back to 57-57 approaching the close of the third period. 

It was still all square at 61-61 after a confident dribble from Mugica saw him ink the scoresheet for the first time in the opening minute of the final quarter. With four minutes remaining, another Mugica bucket kept matters poised at 68-70.

A Brooks triple worried Worcester. Another three-pointer, this time from forward John Barber, turned the screw. A series of rushed replies and a 24-second shot-clock violation finalised the defeat.

Coach Paul James expressed his disappointment: “We had too many soft plays in the second half and didn’t get enough points on the board. Sheffield made us pay.”

Wolves now turn their attention to hosting Newcastle Eagles at the University of Worcester Arena on Sunday (tip off 3pm), looking to overturn a seven-point BBL Trophy semi-final first-leg deficit.

“We need to get over today’s game very quickly,” added James.

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