WORCESTER Wolves misfired in the latter stages of their BBL Cup qualifying group match against Plymouth Raiders, allowing their visitors to snatch a 59-57 victory.
Wolves held sway for most of the contest last night (Friday) accumulating a 57-50 cushion with five minutes to go before being held scoreless for the remainder of the evening.
“Today was a tough game,” acknowledged coach Matt Newby. “I felt we were solid defensively, but offensively we really misfired.
“There was a disparity in the volume of perimeter shots we took and our return. Additionally, untimely fouls showed a lack of discipline.
“My own sharpness needs to return as I feel I could have impacted the game more effectively.
A tight opening quarter featured Maarten Bouwknecht setting up a Matthew Bryan-Amaning dunk and slotting in a solo success.
Bouwknecht profited from an impudent behind-the-back pass from Jordan Williams to edge Worcester 18-17 ahead as the second period began.
Bryan-Amaning settled into a pattern of inside scoring and Micah Elan rounded off a trio of baskets with a weave through traffic to aid a 37-32 half-time advantage.
Henry Wilkins made the most of extended court-time with a three-pointer to maximise the hosts’ lead shortly after the interval.
Tola Okiki was another player keen to impress as he also hit the target from distance and then drove the side-line to lay on a two-point and a bonus free-throw for Bryan-Amaning.
A 49-46 lead entering the final quarter was added to when Okiki hustled the ball out of the hands of former Worcester man Elvisi Dusha, allowing Elan to dance to the hoop.
When Raiders’ Great Britain international Will Neighbour was frustrated into a technical foul Wolves looked to have control. But a dearth of offense ensued while Plymouth efficiently chipped away to the eventual turnaround.
Bryan-Amaning provided a 17 point and 11 rebound double-double performance but with none of his teammates similarly able to puncture double-digit scoring.
Wolves are straight back into action tonight (Saturday) visiting Surrey Scorchers, for their penultimate qualifying group fixture, needing a win to guarantee their place in the quarter-finals.
“Surrey will be a tough matchup. We need to dictate the tempo of the game from the outset,” added Newby.
“Scorchers are a talented unit with several volume scorers. We need this win and will do everything we can to bring it home.”