HIGH-FLYING Worcester Wolves showed little love towards Plymouth Raiders and former director of basketball Paul James during their Valentine’s Day date at the University of Worcester Arena.
Wolves cemented their place in the BBL top three with a 116-91 victory.
Plymouth entered Friday’s contest looking for their third win on the bounce, having recently added several big-name signings to their roster. Meanwhile, Wolves were looking to rebound from a disappointing performance at Sheffield Sharks.
While Raiders’ debutant Matt Scott led their scoring with 26 points, he was outgunned by two Worcester men piling up season-high totals with Kofi Josephs rattling in 31 points and Mark Hughes accumulating 29.
“Our players are getting more mature game-by-game,” said Wolves coach Matt Newby. “We had a tough time last week in Sheffield but the guys are learning from mistakes.
“Plymouth have a great squad and will come good by play-off time but I’m really pleased that we showed great composure and came together to beat them.”
Hughes’ effervescence was on display from the start as he intercepted a lazy pass to open the scoring on his way to 11 first-quarter points.
Plymouth had already been whistled for their fifth foul only four minutes into the evening as they struggled to slow the pace, with the resultant Wolves’ free-throws allowing them to take a 22-20 edge into the second period.
Josephs was the man with the hot hand when the match resumed, floating in his first three-pointer and then profiting from a rare four-point play as he was bustled to the ground when sinking a second triple. His form continued as he danced to a further eight quick points, widening Worcester’s lead to 54-46 by half-time.
A packed home crowd were brought to their feet after the interval as they marvelled at an explosive outburst from their team. While Hughes and Josephs continued to pound forwards, Raheem May-Thompson and Cortez Edwards both accepted invitations to the three-point party.
Captain Maarten Bouwknecht got on the scoresheet from long-range, Hughes jabbed the ball away from Scott to set up an Edwards slam and a bucket for reserve guard Matt Williamson completed the victory.
In support of the 60-point blitz from Josephs and Hughes, Edwards came within two statistics of a triple-double display after totalling 16 points, nine rebounds and nine assists while Amir Williams posted 13 points.
Wolves now have a two-week break before their next outing. Bristol Flyers, the team Wolves defeated in the BBL Cup final, are next at the University of Worcester Arena on Friday, February 28 (tip-off 7.30pm).
“We don’t take anyone lightly. It’s nice that we’ve now got some time off to get guys healthy, but then we need to get back to practice because we still have things to clean up,” Hughes said after the game.