Worcester Wolves followed up Thursday’s success at Plymouth Raiders with a thrilling 81-79 victory over Surrey Scorchers on Friday that was labelled by their Coach Paul James as ‘ugly’.
A big festive crowd at the University of Worcester Arena were forced to bite their nails watching Surrey have a chance to take the win in the dying seconds before they fumbled possession, allowing Wolves to rise to fifth place in the British Basketball League with a 7-5 win-loss record.
“It wasn’t pleasant at the end,” admitted James. “We never really got out of first gear but we still managed to grind out an ugly win.”
“We put in a good show last night at Plymouth but, just like today, we were up against a tough physical opponent. We didn’t get back to Worcester until the early hours and we were tired.
“It wasn’t our best performance today but the players stuck at it and found a way to get the win. That shows the mettle of our team and our mental toughness.”
Wolves centre Dallin Bachynski stood out in the early going. After opening his account with a three-pointer he converted a series of assists from Elvisi Dusha.
Trayvon Palmer spun around like a spiralizer taking care of the Christmas carrots for a circus basket. When his bonus free throw went awry it was Bachynski who thrust everyone aside to grab the put-back rebound and put Worcester 16-8 to the good.
At the close of the first quarter the hosts led 29-18, but Surrey reduced the arrears with a triple from former Wolves guard Caylin Raftopoulos. By half-time the advantage had been slashed to 39-37.
With Surrey turning up their defensive intensity, Wolves’ offenses stuttered. By the close of the third period the hosts trailed 57-60.
Two more Raftopoulos triples helped push Scorchers out to a 73-67 lead by midway through the final quarter.
A double of scores from Brandon Parrish kept Wolves in touch but a long-ranger from one-time Worcester favourite Alex Owumi maintained a 78-75 edge for Surrey with two minutes remaining.
Robert Gilchrist powered forward to level the contest and George Beamon took advantage of a Tony Hicks turnover to put Wolves 80-78 in front.
Hicks had the chance to once more tie things up but missed one of two free throws and was the man lying on the floor at the end as he stumbled into defenders to gift Wolves the win.
Bachynski delighted in a 23 point and 15 rebound double-double display. Parrish put forward 16 points, followed by 14 points apiece for Palmer and Beamon and 11 for Gilchrist.
Wolves are next in action at top-of-the-table Leicester Riders on Saturday 6 January, before returning to the University of Worcester Arena on Friday 12 December (tip off 7.30) to greet Bristol Flyers. Tickets are available here.
“We’re going to enjoy how we’ve ended this year but then get back to work to ensure we give a good account of ourselves in Leicester. We’ve had a fantastic run of wins to end 2017 and we’re going to keep the hard work going in 2018,” added James.
Match report by Colin Taylor
Image credit Razorlight Imagery