WORCESTER Wolves emerged on the high side of an up-and-down encounter at Bristol Flyers on Saturday to put themselves on the verge of qualification for the BBL Cup quarter-finals.
Wolves’ 69-64 triumph gives them a 2-1 win-loss record in their group while their hosts now fall to a 1-4 return and almost-certain elimination.
But the victory was only achieved after Worcester twice fought back from deficits.
Bristol swept 30-17 ahead by the first moments of the second quarter but their M5 neighbours roared back to a 37-32 half-time lead.
Flyers again took charge at 54-46 entering the last quarter before Wolves once more turned the tables
Coach Matt Newby praised his team’s fighting qualities, saying: “I’m really really pleased for the players.
“Yes we were in a hole, but we showed great resilience. In the last quarter we revisited what we were doing and got our rhythm back.
“The right players stepped up at the right time and did what was needed to get us over the line.”
The evening began with Matthew Bryan-Amaning setting a strong screen to free space for Maarten Bouwknecht to connect from distance. Josh McSwiggan similarly secured a three-pointer to restrict Bristol to an 18-16 early advantage.
Rebounding superiority helped Flyers to stretch away. In one sequence Marcus Delpeche finally sank a shot at the fifth attempt after his teammates jumped highest to snatch a quartet of offensive boards.
Swarming defence restricted Bristol to a paltry four second-quarter points. In the meantime Jordan Williams delivered close to the basket and McSwiggan floated in a double of shots from beyond the perimeter.
Worcester went to the locker rooms with a spring in their step in celebration of a last- moment success. Ten seconds before the half-time interval Newby called a time out to draw up a final play that saw Henry Wilkins find Williams breaking open for a powerful slam.
After the break Flyers again profited from second-chance shots as Worcester’s attacks again slowed.
However Bryan-Amaning chose the last period to add a sizeable ten points beside his name on the scoresheet. As Bristol allocated resources to battle the big man’s inside moves, Bouwknecht found more room to manoeuvre.
At a half-minute remaining Wolves trailed 63-64 before McSwiggan set up Bouwknecht for a triple.
Bristol lost their final chance to stay in the contest as their Great Britain guard Teddy Okereafor was harassed into failing to inbound the ball from the side-line in the permitted five seconds.
Bouwknecht led all scorers with 21 points, supported by 14 apiece for Bryan-Amaning and McSwiggan while Williams grabbed a 16 point/11 rebound double-double performance.
Next up for Wolves is a doubleheader of weekend action. On Friday 27 November (7pm) they host Plymouth Raiders and the next day (6pm) travel down to Surrey Scorchers.
“We want to get into a winning habit,” added Newby. “We need to show we can step up in back-to-back games and handle business.”