Worcester Wolves’ nine-match winning streak finally ended on Saturday at the home of the Leicester Riders, the last team to beat them, back in November.
In their previous encounter with Riders the Wolves succumbed to a heavy 71-94 reversal. This meeting was a much more even affair, with the leaders of the British Basketball League grateful to escape with a 91-82 victory.
Worcester were unable to get in front of their hosts until the close of the third quarter after nine unanswered points had boosted them into a dizzy 75-66 lead. However, a dearth of scoring from the visitors over the last eight minutes of the match saw Leicester take the spoils.
Coach Paul James was disappointed about the defeat, saying:
“I thought we’d prepared well for the game, but then we didn’t carry out what we had worked on and dug ourselves a hole. We came back really well in the third quarter but then dipped again.
“Brandon (Parrish) picked up an ankle injury which put us down to a six-man rotation. Some fatigue set in towards the end and Leicester took advantage.
“Additionally, I’m really disappointed with some of the calls we didn’t get down the stretch. We fought to the end but it’s a tough loss.”
Dallin Bachynski was the sole Wolves scorer for the opening seven minutes, slotting in an impressive ten points but seeing his side struggle to a 20-31 deficit entering the second quarter.
Leicester’s JR Holder sank his fourth three-pointer of the evening and saw his fellow forward Shane Walker also on target from distance to maximise the host’s advantage at 49-35 with three minutes to go until half-time.
Bachynski floated in a triple as the first half ended, inspiring a stunning switch in momentum after the interval. Trayvon Palmer and George Beamon both connected and the former provided a clever assist for Bachynski to flush through the hoop.
Robert Gilchrist rejected a Leicester shot attempt before converting a crowd-pleasing alley-oop from an Elvisi Dusha lob, tying the sides at 54-54.
Dusha gave Worcester their first lead at 69-66. With four minutes of the evening remaining the scoreboard was again level at 79-79, but with a closely-officiated Wolves now being disadvantaged by carrying a team-foul penalty which would gift their opponent two free throws for every further infraction.
Worcester now faltered on offense and Leicester indeed converted a series of free throws to seal their thirteen win of the season versus just a single defeat.
Bachynski dominated Wolves’ scoring with 31 points, followed by Beamon and Palmer on 19 and 17 points respectively.
Worcester return to the University of Worcester Arena this Friday 12 January (tip off 7.30) to greet Bristol Flyers. Tickets for the game are available here.
James added: “We’ll need to take our game up a level. We’ll prepare for what will hopefully be the start of another winning run.”
Match report by Colin Taylor
Image credit Razorlight Imagery