21st Nov, 2019

Newby salutes Wolves’ spirit after dazzling comeback win

Rob George 11th Oct, 2019

WOLVES head coach Matt Newby hailed his players’ fighting spirit after they maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a stirring 96-94 comeback win at Bristol Flyers.

Any chance of success in the BBL Cup clash looked remote when Wolves gazed up at Bristol’s commanding 60-38 lead five minutes into the second-half.

However, a pulsating fightback closed the deficit to 82-76 entering the final minute of the evening before consecutive three-pointers from Maarten Bouwknecht and Mark Hughes pushed the contest into overtime.

Inspired by a never-say-die 35-point performance from Cortez Edwards, Worcester defied fatigue to take the spoils and stay at the top of their BBL Cup pool.

“To be competitive in this league you need to be resilient in nature and show a strong self-awareness,” Newby said. “I have asked players to be individually accountable and collectively responsible for outcomes – the last 15 minutes was a step towards that.”

In a pedestrian beginning to the evening more than three minutes elapse before Wolves’ first points. Their continuing offensive struggles allowed Flyers to race to a 28-14 lead as the second quarter opened.

A 48-32 half-time advantage widened further before Wolves finally drew a line in the sand. A series of powerful lay-ups from Jordan Williams featured in the turnaround.

When Edwards was fouled as he drained a long-range shot, a rare four-point profit went into the books, narrowing the deficit to 64-59.

Williams picked up his fifth foul to leave the court before the end of regulation time and Raheem May-Thompson was similarly dismissed as added time began.

But the ongoing effervescence of the American duo of Edwards and Hughes helped give their side the upper hand to secure the victory.

Edwards posted nine rebounds and nine assists to sit alongside his substantial points haul. Hughes tallied 20 points, including five triples, while Bouwknecht and Williams grabbed 18 points apiece.

“Cortez was incredibly resolute. By his own standards he started slower than usual, but came out punching in the second and was clutch in overtime,” Newby said. “He was a catalyst when we needed him but the unique contribution of each player was the determining factor.

“At different junctures there were some huge plays across the board from the likes of Jordan, Maarten and Mark, and that’s exciting.”

Wolves will return to the University of Worcester Arena on Friday (tip off 7.30pm) to face the joint-leaders of their cup pool, the London City Royals.

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