WORCESTER Wolves made a stunning start to the new British Basketball League campaign after defeating reigning champions Newcastle Eagles away from home.
In an absorbing contest throughout Wolves, boasting a new-look side, managed to hold out 86-81 winners in a truly impressive win at Sport Central on Friday.
It was Wolves’ second successive win against the Eagles after beating them in May to lift the BBL Playoff title at the end of last season.
There was little to separate the teams throughout and the drama reached its climax right to the last minute when a thunderous dunk from new signing Robert Thurman looked to have sealed the win but was soon replied as Newcastle’s Andy Thomson hit a much-needed triple to keep the contest in the balance with just seconds left on the clock.
But Wolves managed to battle their way to the winning line despite a crowd of more than 3,000 roaring on the home side.
The match was won with a great basketball move as Chavis Holmes, also making his debut, held vital possession before finding Thurman right under the basket who then fired home from close range to pull Wolves ahead. A couple of free throws then sealed a tense five-point win.
Match winner Thurman began the night’s scoring as a tight contest ensued from the very start with the first quarter edging Wolves’ way thanks to a late three-pointer from Kalil Irving.
A 49-48 deficit was reversed in the second half when Jamal Williams made the first of a trio of successful baskets. The lead then swapped hands several times but Wolves gained the upper hand going into the final quarter as Irving fired home again to give the visitors a slender 65-62 lead.
The match remained close during the final stages before Wolves ran out winners as new-signing Thurman had a debut to remember scoring 27 points on the night.
Wolves return to action on home soil on Friday when they entertain Cheshire Phoenix.