WORCESTER Wolves ended a busy week of fixtures with a hard fought 83-70 victory over Manchester Giants in the British Basketball League.
Wolves’ fourth game in a week might have been expected to produce fatigue in the players on Friday at the University of Worcester Arena.
However, although the evening began slowly, Wolves broke the contest open in the second quarter and ended a three-game losing streak.
Two scores for former Wolves captain Callum Jones and a three-pointer from dangerous forward Ingus Bankevics pushed Giants 11-8 in front.
Perris Blackwell replied with a basket and then wrestled the ball out of Jones’ hands to set up a Jay Couisnard triple, putting the hosts ahead.
Javier Mugica opened the second period with two scores and laid one on for reserve guard Jordan Dawes.
Dawes returned the favour for Mugica as Wolves found themselves 24-15 ahead and by half time the advantage had stretched to 38-28.
Early successes after the break for Giants’ hulking centre Flo Larkai gave fleeting hope to his side, but Worcester’s own front line of Blackwell, Pavol Losonsky and Ben Eaves restored control at 60-47.
The first five minutes of the final quarter saw an astonishing 16-point burst from Manchester’s speedy guard Stefan Gill but, with little support from elsewhere, his toils were in vain.
As he tired, Ashton Khan sprang upwards to deny him another basket and sealed the victory, bringing a packed house to their feet.
Blackwell and Losonksy led the way with 18 and 16 points respectively, closely followed by Orlan Jackman on 14 points.
Wolves head coach Paul James said: “I’m delighted. We’ve had a rough run lately, but turned things around tonight.
“We were solid defensively and on offense we got back to sharing the ball more. 16 assists in the first half alone shows we were making extra passes for each other and it paid off with lots of scoring opportunities.
“It’s been quite a stretch of matches recently and the players need a rest. They’ll have three or four days to themselves now before we come back to training and start looking towards the play-offs.”
The win comes on the back of an 80-72 BBL defeat to London Lions.
Couisnard and Blackwell tallied 21 points apiece, while former Wolves favourites Alex Owumi and Kai Williams led the Lions’ scorers.
Wolves now enter a fortnight’s break until their visit to Leeds Force on Friday, March 4.