Taking to the court in Halloween-appropriate pumpkin-orange shirts, Worcester Wolves ensured there were no unpleasant shocks as they downed winless Manchester Giants on Sunday.
With stalwart forward Jermel Kennedy a late withdrawal from Wolves’ trip to the North-West, just seven players suited up, including University of Worcester freshman Mark Jacobs.
After racing to a commanding 56-37 half-time lead, inevitable foul trouble and tiredness caused Wolves to falter as the afternoon progressed, but still manage to hold on for a 91-84 success.
Coach Paul James expressed his pleasure at seeing his charges to their third victory of the season, saying: “I’m delighted that we could get a win like this, on the road, in difficult circumstances. We began really well, lost our way a little as guys got tired from playing extended minutes, but showed a lot of character to close out the win.”
Wolves opened in stirring fashion by holding their hosts scoreless for four minutes while blasting to sixteen points of their own. Andrew Bachman rattled in an impressive triple of three-pointers in that total and even swooshed home a couple more before the end of the quarter.
Jacobs showed no nervousness as he spun beneath the basket for his opening score, aiding a 31-16 first-period lead.
When Giants diverted resources to deter further Bachman attacks, Danny Huffor was the next man to flourish, stacking up twelve second-quarter points.
Manchester came back into the contest after the interval. Guard Jerelle Okoro tallied a quick-fire ten points and a double of buckets for former Worcester favourite Callum Jones pulled matters back to single figures at 69-60.
A series of powerful moves from forward Samuel Toluwase and further deft touches from Jones ate into Wolves’ advantage. By the final minute of the match the scoreboard was at 89-82 and falling, but Giants ran out of time to complete their comeback.
Huffor and Bachman joint top-scored for Wolves with 21 points, closely followed by Alex Navajas with 19. Toluwase was the standout for Giants with 26 points.
Asked about the contributions of Bachman and Jacobs, James replied: “They both did very well. Andrew couldn’t miss in the first quarter and attracted defenders after that. Mark took his chance to impress and handled himself well, he’s one to look out for in the future.”
Wolves are next in action this Sunday 6 November, (tip off 4pm), when hosting Surrey Scorchers at the University of Worcester Arena in the Quarter-Final of the BBL Cup.
James added: “We did some good things today. Foul trouble meant we couldn’t be as aggressive as we would have liked on defence, but we certainly showed improvement from recent games. We’ll go into Sunday with lots of confidence.”