FRUSTRATED Worcester Wolves coach Tony Garbelotto claimed his players ‘don’t know how to win’ after his side went down to a narrow 96-93 defeat to the high-flying Newcastle Eagles.
Despite Wolves clinging to the coat-tails of their third-placed British Basketball League visitors at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday (March 29), Garbelotto criticised his side after the defeat.
“I can’t argue with the players’ effort, they want to win. But they don’t know how to win – that’s the biggest problem,” he said.
“We’re good enough to beat Surrey, but this club should be beating the top teams and we have a chance to do that next week against London.”
Any chance of victory looked to have ebbed away once Newcastle had established a 32-18 second-quarter advantage.
But Wolves scrambled back to tie matters by half-time.
Eagles’ double-digit lead was re-built in the second half before their hosts again clawed their way back.
The opening quarter ended with Worcester trailing 17-24. The deficit immediately expanded to 17-28 when former Wolves forward Kai Williams was impeded shooting a three-pointer, resulting in successful foul shots and a bonus free throw as players argued the referees call.
Newcastle’s quicksilver guard Rahmon Fletcher twice sliced to the hoop before the tide turned. Deshawn Freeman ignited the comeback by swatting away a Williams attack. Miki Servera then sank a triple and fired a bullet assist for Freeman to convert.
Alex Navajas backed down his defender to the basket and Eagles were rattled into consecutive turnovers. Another Servera success levelled the half-time scoreboard at 42-42.
Newcastle re-asserted control after the break, opening a 79-69 cushion as the final period began.
Robert Crawford sprang up with a trio of scores and Lester Prosper was able to bully his way forward to once more level the contest at 81-81 with five minutes remaining.
With just nine seconds to go Eagles held a 94-93 edge when a Victor Moses basket was ruled out for a shot-clock violation. But after the referees had gathered for further discussion the initial decision was overturned to seal the win.
Wolves will be back at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday to welcome Surrey Scorchers (tip-off 7.30pm) before travelling to the championship-contending London City Royals on Saturday.