Worcester Wolves beat London Lions in BBL Cup

November 09 2019
Worcester Wolves beat London Lions in BBL Cup

Worcester Wolves are on the brink of securing a top-two finish in their BBL Cup pool following a 90-85 victory at London Lions on Friday.

Their 6-3 win-loss return, and holding the head-to-head record over third-place Bristol Flyers, now puts Wolves in the box seat for a quarter-final tie in Worcester at the end of the month.

A 78-65 advantage entering the final quarter of the evening had the visitors looking comfortable, before a late London revival made for an exciting finish.

Coach Matt Newby expressed his delight with the win, saying: “We built up our lead with what I think was our best second quarter of the season.

“Lions came back at us in the last quarter but I’m so pleased with the way our players stemmed the rally. We gave London less time to operate by the end and made some big defensive plays when it mattered. The guys came out with bite.”

A Jordan Williams three-point attempt bounced up off the rim and dropped back in to begin the scoring. Backing down his defender and taking a hand-off assist from Cortez Edwards enabled Williams to keep Wolves in front.

Raheem May-Thompson joined the fray and made an immediate impact with a trio of scores to contain a London lead at 27-26 as the first period ended.

Mark Hughes produced a slap-down block to deny Lions’ dangerous forward Brandon Peel and then sank a triple to put Worcester 33-32 ahead.

Kofi Josephs ignited as he made two of three foul shots and floated in a double of long-distance shots, helping his side to a 54-46 half-time advantage.

The visitors’ growing confidence was typified after the interval when May-Thompson raced back the length of the court to swat the ball out of the hands of a startled London attacker.

Josephs was the next man in the spotlight. Not satisfied with repeated whiplash drives to the basket he celebrated another deep-range success with a gun-slinging mime of replacing pistols in a holster.

Maarten Bouwknecht debuted on the scoresheet to keep Wolves 80-71 ahead with six minutes of the contest remaining.

However, a spell of careless ball-handling narrowed the gap to 86-83 as the final couple of minutes approached.

Lions’ guard Jorge Romero continued his team’s momentum to put the outcome on a knife-edge at 86-85.

The combatants exchanged misses before, with just a minute to play, Hughes kept his cool to connect from the left-corner of the court, taking the air out of London’s fightback and deciding the victors.

Five Worcester players scored in double-digits. Josephs led the way with 22 points, followed by 17 for Williams and 16 from Hughes. May-Thompson and Edwards notched 13 and 12 points respectively.

Newby was pleased with the spread of scorers, saying: “It’s great that we’re getting output from all areas. We’ve got guys here who are willing to find other players and make the extra passes that a team needs.”

Wolves round out their BBL Cup qualifying fixtures against Surrey Scorchers at the University of Worcester Arena next Friday, November 15 at 7.30pm.

“Surrey will want to finish their fixtures in a good fashion but so do we,” added Newby. “If we continue playing with the spirit we’ve shown today then we will be in a good place and can keep our momentum going ahead to the quarter-finals.”

Photo: Kofi Josephs. Photo by Keith Hunt.

BBL Cup Group South

 

 

 

As at Friday 08-Nov-19

 

 

Played

Win

Loss

Points

1.   London City Royals

7

6

1

12

2.   Worcester Wolves

9

6

3

12

3.   Bristol Flyers

8

5

3

10

4.   London Lions

8

3

5

6

5.   Plymouth Raiders

8

2

6

4

6.   Surrey Scorchers

6

1

5

2