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Worcester Wolves 83-78 London Lions

Last Updated: Nov 9, 2014 07:03pm
St. Clement, Worcester
By Sarah Diston
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Worcester Wolves produced a stirring come-from-behind 83-78 victory over much-fancied London Lions on Friday. The latest win puts Wolves into joint-second place in the British Basketball League, alongside Leicester Riders and just below leaders Newcastle Eagles.

Last year’s player-of-the-season Zaire Taylor returned to the University of Worcester Arena for the first time since his summer move to the nation’s capital, and led his side’s scoring with 19 points. Eleven of those points came in the early part of the contest, helping the visitors to a healthy double-digit lead. However, Taylor’s performance was matched by his point guard replacement Chavis Holmes who benefited from greater support at the big man position, with Robert Thurman powering to 23 points.

Taylor soon hushed a raucous crowd by draining consecutive three-pointers. A double of baskets from forward Makal Stibbins moved Lions ahead at 5-17 after just three minutes had elapsed, prompting Paul James to call for a time-out. 

Steadied by their Coach’s words, Wolves gradually pulled back the deficit. The first quarter drew to a close on an impudent steal from Taylor by Disraeli Lufadeju, with the less-experienced player converting to draw matters back to 22-24.

Holmes was worryingly the only Worcester man to trouble the scoreboard for the first six minutes of the second period. London began to pull away, until a slew of fouls allowed Wolves success from the free-throw line, and half-time respectability at 38-44.

Five points from Stibbins helped Lions to once more draw clear at 42-51 by midway through the third quarter. It was from here that a thrilling fight-back began. Holmes took charge from outside the perimeter, while Thurman patrolled on the inside, sharing nine points between them to level the match at 55-55.

Lufadeju floated home a confident triple to finally move the hosts into their first lead of the evening. The Arena exploded when Canadian forward Jamal Williams also sank from the outside, closing the third period at 65-58.

By now Lions were hampered by a succession of players in foul trouble. Stibbins left the court on a technical after arguing with officials, while centre Adrien Sturt’s efforts were restricted as he teetered on the edge of expulsion. Wolves gleefully maintained their advantage to roll on to the eventual 83-78 outcome.

Paul James was delighted with the victory, saying: “It was a great win in the end. I was concerned early on, but we got back to our defensive duties, got some stops and set the tone for our offence.” 

James also highlighted an important contribution from Disraeli Lufadeju, adding: “We had a hard week in practice and players were told what was expected from them. Dizzy gave us a great burst of energy.”

Next Friday, Wolves will face the only side to inflict defeat on them so far in the league, Manchester Giants. The match takes place at University of Worcester Arena, tipping off at 7.30pm. 


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