WORCESTER Wolves got back to winning ways with an impressive 66-58 triumph in the BBL at Durham Wildcats on Sunday.
The match remained poised until half-time, after which Wolves held their hosts scoreless for nearly seven minutes, building a 53-40 cushion and then keeping the Wildcats at bay.
Durham struggled to contain Robert Thurman who dominated the statistics with 18 points and 15 rebounds, having already accumulated a double-double by the interval while Wildcats’ usual sharpshooters were muted, making just four of their 16 three-point attempts.
Head coach Paul James said he was pleased his players had successfully followed the pre-game plan of closing down Durham’s outside threat, and capitalised on inside opportunities.
“It was a good win where we focused on our defence and achieved all the things we talked about during the week, being aggressive on the boards and not giving them any time to line up their shots,” he said.
“Individually, Robert did very well, he had an opportunity to go to work on them and that’s just what he did.”
After the opening five minutes Worcester had raced to an 11-4 lead but Durham’s Croatian forward Fran Urli pulled back four points before rattling home a quick double of outside scores to reverse the lead to 13-14 with his side still at a single-point advantage, 19-20 as the first quarter ended.
Wolves’ energetic young guard Disraeli Lufadeju pounced on a Durham turnover to sink a three-pointer and double of baskets from Thurman and another for Lufadeju moved Wolves back in front, going into the locker rooms, 39-28.
The initial two scores of the second half followed the same pattern with Thurman first to grab the ball and put back a miss from Kalil Irving, while Irving then did likewise from a Thurman miss.
At the other end there was a proverbial lid over the Wolves’ basket and the formerly-accurate Urli had misfired badly on several occasions, as did his colleague Ralph Bucci.
There was even a dispute over the score that finally broke Durham’s drought when Joel Madourie’s rejected shot was signalled as good due to goal-tending.
Thurman eventually took a seat in the last quarter to allow Dejan Radojevic to notch his first points as Wildcats continued to be harassed into turnovers or rushed shots, failing to put a dent into the Wolves’ lead.
The next-highest scorers behind Thurman were Alex Owumi and Paul Guede with 15 and 11 points respectively.
James added: “Today we executed our game-plan and next week we will look to do the same again, focusing our resources where we need to.”
Wolves will be on the road again next Sunday, at Glasgow Rocks with home fans having to wait until Friday 27 February before their team returns to the University of Worcester Arena, to face Sheffield Sharks.