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Worcester Wolves 77-70 Plymouth Raiders

Wolves Consolidate Hold on Third Place

Last Updated: Mar 20, 2016 05:44pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Colin Taylor
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Worcester Wolves consolidated their hold on third place in the British Basketball League by seeing off Plymouth Raiders 77-70 on Friday.

Extra seating had to be hastily set up as lines of spectators poured into a packed University of Worcester Arena, eager to see their team return to the city after a month on the road. 

Buoyed by the noisy support, Wolves raced into a near double-digit lead before Raiders stabilised to make it a more even contest. Late in the game Worcester were able to once more step on the gas to take the victory.

New point guard Jordan Aaron and dependable centre Perris Blackwell notched 17 points apiece to lead the home scorers, closely followed by Pavol Losonsky on 14. Forwards Javier Mugica and Orlan Jackman had big rebounding performances, grabbing 13 and 10 boards respectively. Cory Dixon top-scored for Plymouth with 24 points.

Aaron announced his arrival in Worcester with a confident three-pointer after four minutes had elapsed and repeated the feat a minute later. Mugica added a score and Wolves were ahead 17-8.

Dixon was on the mark as time expired in the initial quarter to bring matters back to 24-18, before both sides settled into a defensive stand-off for the remainder of the first half. Mugica twice laid on clever assists for Blackwell to convert, helping the hosts stay just in front at 37-34 by the interval.

A textbook play where every Worcester player had a touch of the ball was eventually rounded off by Losonsky to open the second half. A wraparound dunk from Blackwell eased Wolves out to 43-36 after the opening three minutes. A double of baskets for Dixon again drew the sides back together at 49-47 as the third period wound down. 

The final quarter still stood close at 56-53 as Aaron readied himself to return to the action. But when Ashton Khan suddenly floated home an imperious triple, Wolves’ Coach Paul James signaled his newest signing to remain on the bench. 

Jackman then nailed his first basket from the field and Khan was again on target, breaking the match open at 66-57 to finally end Raiders resistance. Fans were on their feet in the last minute to celebrate Aaron rattling home the last of eight consecutive successful free throws that sealed the win.

James declared his satisfaction with what he saw, saying: “It was a really good win for us. We stuck to our plays and got stops when we needed to. It was a solid team effort.” 

It will be a fortnight before Wolves are back in action, welcoming title-contenders Leicester Riders to the University of Worcester Arena on Friday 01 April. James is anxious that his side do not lose their focus, saying: “It will be a break from competitive games, but we will definitely continue to work hard during those two weeks. 

“Leicester will be a big game. We might not be able to win the league this year, but we can certainly have an influence on who does.

“Our fans were tremendous tonight and produced a fabulous atmosphere. It should be another fantastic game and a fantastic crowd against Leicester. Get your tickets early!”

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