WOLVES warmed up for a BBL Cup double-header with Plymouth Raiders with an agonising one-shot defeat to pool leaders London City Royals.
After dragging back a double-digit fourth quarter deficit, Wolves found themselves with a last-chance possession, 65-67 in arrears. Unable to spy an open team-mate, point guard Maarten Bouwknecht was forced to attempt a three-point winner but his shot bounced up off the rim.
Jordan Williams rose highest from a melee of players but was unsuccessful with a put-back try and the defeat drops Worcester to a 3-1 win-loss record, just behind London’s 4-0 tally at the top of the south group.
Royals’ dangerous import Matt Scott grabbed his side’s opening five points, setting out his stall for an eventual game-high 27 points.
Hometown star Kofi Josephs marked his return from injury with a triple to tie matters at 15-15 with three minutes left in the first period.
Julius Van Sauers notched a score and then dropped to the floor to wrestle the ball away from his opponent and set up a go-ahead success for Josephs at 25-24 as the second quarter began.
But this would be the last time Wolves would lead the contest. A double of lay-ups from former Worcester forward Orlan Jackman aided a 37-31 half-time London advantage.
Royals extended their control to 60-46 entering the final nine minutes of play before a Wolves comeback sparked by Raheem May-Thompson whose 11-point burst slashed London’s lead to just 65-63 with two minutes remaining.
Former Worcester guard Elvisi Dusha drove to the hoop to cushion Royals’ advantage ahead of the exciting end to the evening.
Josephs totalled 20 points with only May-Thompson also puncturing double-figure scoring for Wolves.
Speaking after the game, coach Matt Newby said: “We gave ourselves a lot of chances to score but just didn’t finish off the chances.
“I thought we did alright here and there but we needed to be much more consistent,” he added.
After the Raiders visit the University of Worcester Arena on Friday (7.30pm), Wolves make the long journey down the M5 for the reverse fixture this Sunday (3pm).