Worcester Wolves chose Bonfire Night to produce a dynamite performance and blast into the semi-finals of the BBL Cup after upsetting Glasgow Rocks 97-85 on their own court.
With Jermel Kennedy having departed the club in the run-up to Sunday’s tie, Paul James’ squad was further depleted by the withdrawal of point-guard Elvisi Dusha due to a hand injury.
Just six established players suited up for the long trip to Scotland, with James’ juggling of court-time proving crucial to the win. Composed displays from all participants meant a near double-figure lead was maintained for much of the afternoon.
Brandon Parrish led the scoring with 22 points, closely followed by George Beamon on 21. Alex Navajas tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds, with Dallin Bachynski hitting 15 points as well as grabbing 14 boards.
Trayvon Palmer made it a trio of double-digit performers by notching 12 points alongside his 10 rebounds. Ashton Khan chipped in nine points to round out the statistics of Worcester’s super-six.
“What a magnificent all-round team display,” beamed James.
“Yes we were short-handed in our numbers, but not in our spirit. We travelled up on Saturday which gave us time to focus on what we needed to do. We planned what we would do and we executed it.
“Everyone knew we could not afford any cheap fouls but at the same time that we still had to play with intensity. The whole team played with a ‘they shall not get past us’ mentality in defence, while we carried on taking our chances at the other end.”
Khan pushed Wolves into an 11-10 lead with a couple of minutes remaining in the first quarter. By the close of the period the gap had widened to 20-12.
Half a dozen points from Rocks’ Great Britain stalwart Kieron Achara helped his side drag matters back to a 25-25 tie, prompting a James time out.
Navajas coolly stepped back to sink an imperious three-pointer as the game restarted. Duplicating the feat just before half-time moved the visitors’ advantage to 43-36.
Worcester’s control carried over into the third quarter. Numerous Glasgow attacks were repelled by a wall of defenders. In the meantime Palmer set his personal scoreboard ticking with a coast-to-coast dribble while Parrish, Beamon and Khan all converted from distance.
Beamon pointed to his biceps as he again floated home a triple, embodying a confidence surging throughout the whole team.
A minute into the final quarter Rocks called for a break as they looked up at Wolves’ 72-57 advantage. But there was to be no recovery for the hosts.
Bachynski muscled his way to a double of offensive rebounds and subsequent put- backs, setting the seal on Worcester’s dominance.
The draw for the BBL Cup two-legged semi-finals takes place this week. London Lions, Sheffield Sharks and Cheshire Phoenix are the other three sides eying a place in January’s Cup Final at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena.
Wolves will meet Glasgow again, this time in league action, this Friday 10 November at the University of Worcester Arena.
James added: “We put in a fabulous shift today and need to carry that over to Friday. Glasgow now have to come to our court. We’ve had terrific crowds behind us at every game this year and want to put on another great show for everyone.”
Tickets for Friday’s game are available here.
If you keep and bring your ticket from the Glasgow Rocks to the Leicester Riders home game you will be entered into our grand raffle for free! Season ticket holders and those that are able to present a ticket will be the only ones able to enter the raffle for that game.
Match report by Colin Taylor
Image credit Razorlight Imagery