Worcester Wolves continued their fine run of form by rolling to their seventh consecutive win when visiting Plymouth Raiders in the British Basketball League on Thursday.
There was little between the teams for most of the contest. With six minutes to play an Alex Navajas three-pointer looked to have established some daylight for Wolves at 72-65.
But Plymouth would not be cowed, overturning their visitors lead to push 80-75 ahead with a couple of minutes remaining.
Five quick points for Brandon Parrish levelled matters and, on a night when Worcester managed to miss a disappointing ten free throws, Navajas held his nerve on four trips to the foul line to give his side the final edge at 86-83.
Coach Paul James declared his satisfaction with the victory, saying: “It was certainly a match that ebbed and flowed, but I’m delighted that we came out on top in the end.
“We controlled large parts of the game, had a couple of spells of sloppiness, but got hold of things again and saw out a tense finish.”
Wolves had fallen 18-23 behind by the close of the first quarter as Plymouth guard Neil Watson sank a trio of three-pointers.
An unanswered double of scores for George Beamon and a Robert Gilchrist slam-dunk reversed the lead and had Raiders calling a time-out.
Daliin Bachynski palled up with Gilchrist to command the space close to both baskets. The former tipped home successive offensive rebounds while the latter revelled in rejecting the attacks of Plymouth’s seven-foot Zak Wells.
By just a couple of minutes into the second half, Worcester floor-general Elvisi Dusha had already accumulated his tenth assist when presenting a gift for Bachynski to jam home for a 50-43 advantage.
By the end of the third period the combatants had once more closed together with Wolves holding a mere 61-60 edge, setting the scene for the evening’s nervous finale.
Seven Wolves players tallied double-figure statistics. Beamon led the way with 24 points, followed by Gilchrist on 16 and Brandon Parrish on 12. Bachynski and Navajas grabbed 11 points apiece while Trayvon Palmer notched 10.
The spread of scoring, coupled with Dusha’s final count of 14 assists, had James praising his side’s team-ethic, saying: “Everyone played their part, everyone contributed and everyone got their reward.”
Wolves face their second match in as many days when welcoming Surrey Scorchers to the University of Worcester Arena on Friday (tip off 7.30).
James added: “Plymouth had a full house today. We’re looking for a big crowd of our own back in Worcester. Surrey can be dangerous, but we just need to keep playing like we have been in our winning run.
“We want to round out 2017 the right way with another win.”
Tickets for tonight’s game are still available here.