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Wolves beaten in Trophy semi first leg
WORCESTER Wolves’ hopes of reaching their first major final hang in the balance as they head into tomorrow night’s British Basketball League Trophy semi-final second leg at Leicester Riders (7.30pm tip-off) trailing by nine points.
Paul James’ side battled throughout last night’s enthralling first leg at the University of Worcester, which the Riders won 82-73.
Alex Owumi led the Worcester charge with 29 points, while Arturas Masiulis added 16 in a feisty encounter in front of a sell-out crowd.
Zaire Taylor sunk 29 points for the Riders, who have already won the BBL Cup this season, with 17 from Pavol Losonsky.
Sherrad Prezzie-Blue managed six points in his first appearance in four games but was holding an ice pack on his troublesome knee during the second-half.
Despite 10 points from Arturas Masiulis and seven from Owumi, Wolves trailed 20-19 at the end of a feisty first quarter that saw neither side prepared to give an inch.
Wolves were quick out of the blocks at the start of the second period and opened up a 27-21 cushion.
Leicester, for whom coach Rob Paternostro was warned by the referee after taking exception to decisions, hit back and led 29-27 before Wolves stepped on the gas.
They pulled clear at 42-31 with some incisive play, inspired by Owumi, and remained in the driving seat at 44-40 at half-time.
The hosts held another eight-point advantage at 50-42 early in the third stanza but were again pegged back as Riders edged ahead 53-51.
Tensions mounted as the fourth quarter approached and Arnas Kazlauskas was penalised for an unsportsmanlike foul on Jorge Calvo.
Leicester entered the final period with a 63-60 cushion, a position they maintained. However, the visitors began to dominate and went 76-68 in front before increasing their lead in the final second.