WORCESTER Wolves opened their British Basketball League (BBL) campaign with a hard fought 80-69 victory over Glasgow Rocks at the University of Worcester Arena.
The Wolves faced a few first night nerves on Friday before the new-look squad settled sufficiently, pulling away from the Rocks to claim two points and begin the season well.
With head coach Paul James distributing minutes across his wolfpack, there was a spread of scorers, but it was the ex-Leicester duo of Pavol Losonsky and Jay Couisnard who led the way with 20 and 19 points respectively.
Losonsky got the Wolves’ scoreboard moving, with guard Malik Smith and forward Perris Blackwell the next men on target and, despite missing out on most of Worcester’s pre-season, Couisnard was soon able to make his mark with eight first-quarter points.
A slender 23-22 lead increased to 33-29 with the help of consecutive baskets from Ashton Khan and Spanish forward Javier Mugica delighted home fans by finally nailing his first points in a Wolves’ vest as half time approached.
Wolves were not allowed to pull away going into the break as Rocks’ Great Britain international Kieron Achara tallied five quick points to help his team to a 44-42 interval advantage.
The third period saw more of the same nip-and-tuck action with Wolves threatening to pull away before Glasgow would once more pull them back but, entering the last quarter leading 60-58, persistent ball movement finally wore down a tiring Rocks defence.
Couisnard gifted Disraeli Lufadeju, Blackwell and fellow Englishman Ben Eaves with baskets as Worcester finally broke clear of their opponents, with Bristol Flyers and Leicester Riders next in line.
“It was a bit of a nervous affair. In the first half we were tentative, but after that we had some key plays and made some key stops to come out with the win,” said James.
“Bristol are always well-drilled and Leicester are always a challenge, but we go pretty deep with our squad this year so we’ll be up for whatever we face,” he added.
Wolves face the Flyers on Friday at 7.30pm at the University of Worcester Arena before travelling to the East Midlands the next evening to face the Riders.