WORCESTER Wolves will be looking to new US import Deshawn Freeman to kick-start their season when he makes his home debut against the London Lions at the University of Worcester Arena.
Wolves tackle the Lions on Friday (tip-off 7.30pm) a week on from a disappointing 97-89 loss at Newcastle Eagles despite an impactful debut from the forward.
Unlike several recent runaway defeats, on this occasion Wolves gave themselves a chance of success, overturning a 46-52 half-time deficit to take a third-quarter lead before falling away in the late stages.
Five minutes had elapsed when Freeman trotted onto the hardwood with his side trailing 10-16. Within moments he rose highest amongst a swarm of defenders to put back a Darell Combs miss.
After rebounding his own miss and converting a Combs assist, Freeman displayed his versatility with a long three-pointer to keep Worcester 24-30 in touch at the close of the first quarter.
Miki Servera hit a trio of scores and then worked a clever pick and roll that ended with a Freeman one-handed jam.
However, as well as collecting his points, the Worcester newcomer was also in receipt of an unsportsmanlike foul when challenging Eagles guard Rahmon Fletcher as the first-half wound down.
Following the interval, consecutive Combs triples nudged Wolves into their first lead of the evening. Another Combs basket and a twisting Freeman layup had Newcastle rattled as they looked up at their visitors’ 67-61 advantage with three minutes left in the third period.
A couple of minutes into the last quarter Eagles had turned the tables to push 79-70 ahead. Further Freeman points reduced the arrears to 79-76 before he suffered the dismay of being ejected from the court after drawing a technical foul to be logged alongside his first-half unsportsmanlike infraction.
Filip Kramer now battled alone close to the hoop to keep the contest boiling at 90-86 entering the final two minutes before Newcastle’s Victor Moses twice thrust his way to offensive rebounds and subsequent layups to confirm the victors.
Combs and Freeman led the scoring with 20 points apiece, with the latter also grabbing 10 rebounds in only 18 minutes of action. Kramer and Servera contributed 13 and 12 points respectively.
After hosting the table toppers in the league on Friday evening, Wolves travel south to visit the Lions in the quarter-final of the BBL Cup on Sunday (tip off 4pm).