WORCESTER Wolves head coach Paul James has challenged his side to get back to winning ways after their run of nine victories in a row finally ended on Saturday at Leicester Riders.
The Riders were the last team to beat them back in November when the Wolves succumbed to a heavy 71-94 reversal.
The latest meeting was a much more even affair, with Leicester, the leaders of the British Basketball League, grateful to escape with a 91-82 victory.
Worcester were unable to get in front of their hosts until the close of the third quarter after nine unanswered points had fired them into a dizzy 75-66 lead. However, a dearth of scoring from the visitors over the last eight minutes of the match allowed Leicester to take the spoils.
Dallin Bachynski was the sole Wolves scorer for the opening seven minutes, slotting in an impressive ten points but his side trailed 31-20 entering the second quarter.
Leicester’s JR Holder sank his fourth three-pointer of the evening and fellow forward Shane Walker was also on target from distance to maximise the hosts’ advantage at 49-35 with three minutes to go until half-time.
Bachynski floated in a triple as the first half ended, inspiring a stunning switch in momentum after the interval. Trayvon Palmer and George Beamon both connected and the former provided a clever assist for Bachynski to flush through the hoop.
Robert Gilchrist rejected a Leicester shot attempt before converting a crowd-pleasing alley-oop from an Elvisi Dusha lob, tying the sides at 54-54.
Dusha gave Worcester their first lead at 69-66. With four minutes of the evening remaining the scoreboard was again level at 79-79, but with a closely-officiated Wolves now being disadvantaged by carrying a team-foul penalty which would gift their opponent two free throws for every further infraction.
Bachynski dominated Wolves’ scoring with 31 points, followed by Beamon and Palmer on 19 and 17 points respectively.
James felt his side had prepared well for the clash but failed to carry out what they had worked on and dug themselves a hole.
“We came back really well in the third quarter but then dipped again,” said the head coach.
“Brandon (Parrish) picked up an ankle injury which put us down to a six-man rotation. Some fatigue set in towards the end and Leicester took advantage. We fought to the end but it’s a tough loss.”
Worcester return to the University of Worcester Arena on Friday (tip off 7.30) against Bristol Flyers.