Ending a gruelling spell of four games in a week, Worcester Wolves found enough energy to see off Manchester Giants 91-74 at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday.
Manchester came into the contest buoyed by a double-figure win in their last outing. Contrastingly, Wolves badly needed a reaction to their 78-96 reversal at Plymouth Raiders on Wednesday.
It was a couple of former Worcester players who made the biggest impact as the game began. Lithuanian Donatas Visockis sank a three-pointer and point guard Callum Jones took a bonus point after being fouled in the act of scoring, aiding an early 11-5 lead for the visitors.
Maurice Walker repeatedly ground his way to the basket in response, but Jones and Visockis would combine for another ten first-quarter points to maintain the gap.
As the period closed a hopelessly-misdirected inbound pass was seized upon by Manchester’s Sam Toluwase to leave Wolves trailing 22-28.
A stunning trio of three-pointers from Toluwase kept Wolves still in arrears at 32-37 at four minutes before half-time. But an equally-impressive burst of action from Wolves’ Danny Huffor would draw the sides together.
Dispossessing Toluwase at mid-court, Huffor slammed the ball home. A series of weaving drives to the hoop and accuracy from distance produced 11 personal points and nudged his team 43-42 ahead at the interval.
Jermel Kennedy debuted on the scoreboard after the break. With Huffor and Walker still connecting and a tighter emphasis on defence, Wolves began to pull clear.
A 65-56 advantage would expand further in the final period with Alex Navajas putting in a shift close to the hoop and Ashton Khan entertaining a large home crowd with several swirling successes.
Huffor and Walker topped Wolves scorers on 23 points apiece, while Jones led the way for Manchester with 18 points.
Coach Paul James was relieved to end Wolves’ busy spell with a victory, saying: “The players looked very tired, very heavy-legged. Despite that, I’m pleased that we were able to do enough to get the win.”
Wolves will welcome back a trio of their former players to the University of Worcester Arena next Friday (7.30) when London Lions are the visitors.
Alex Owumi, Zaire Taylor and Kai Williams form the backbone of Lions’ team this year and will be keen to avenge a 71-100 slapping handed out to them by the Wolves at the Copper Box Arena in January.
Asked what he is expecting to see, James replied: “I’m expecting to see another big turnout of our fans getting behind the great squad of players we have here in Worcester, and I’m expecting us to put another win on London.”
Tickets for the game are available at http://bit.ly/2cmPJcg