A HOME BBL Cup quarter-final is almost guaranteed for Worcester Wolves as they round off the group stage of the competition with the visit of the Surrey Scorchers to the University of Worcester Arena on Friday (tip-off 7.30pm).
Matt Newby’s men go in search of the win which will confirm a home tie at the end of the month, likely against the third-placed team in the BBL Cup north group.
The Wolfpack are on the brink of securing a top-two finish in their BBL Cup pool after bringing home a stirring 90-85 victory from the London Lions last Friday.
The visitors had seemed comfortable with a 78-65 advantage entering the final quarter of the evening before a late London revival made for an exciting finish.
Coach Newby was delighted with the win and said: “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 for Worcester. 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 Wolves 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 and celebrated another deep-range success with a gun-slinging mime of replacing pistols in a holster.
Maarten Bouwknecht debuted on the scoresheet to push Wolves 80-71 ahead with six minutes of the contest remaining but a spell of careless ball-handling narrowed the gap to 86-83 as the final couple of minutes approached.
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.
Josephs led the points tally with 22, followed by 17 for Williams and 16 from Hughes.
Newby was pleased with the spread of scorers.
“It’s great that we’re getting output from all areas,” he said. “We’ve got guys here who are willing to find other players and make the extra passes that a team needs.”