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Leicester Riders 74 Worcester Wolves 62
7:43pm Sunday 3rd November 2013 in Sport
BRITISH Basketball League Cup holders Leicester Riders progressed to the semi-finals after consigning Worcester Wolves to their second defeat of the season.
Despite strong openings to two quarters and holding double-digit leads at several points, Wolves could not maintain consistency in the face of harrying Leicester defence, losing 74-62.
The visitors looked like a team on a mission, rampaging to a 9-0 start with Great Britain Olympic captain Andrew Sullivan twice called for travelling violations.
It took four minutes before Riders got on the scoreboard with a lay-up from Anthony Downing.
With two minutes left in the first quarter, Wolves’ Daniel Belgrave came off the bench to float home a three-pointer and build a 14-4 advantage.
However, the hosts hauled themselves back with the last nine points of the period and, for the rest of the first-half, a back-and-forth encounter ensued.
Wolves’ Jamal Williams hit his second triple and laid on a neat pass for forward partner Stefan Djukic to slam home.
Reserve point guard Caylin Raftopoulos introduced himself with a long-range score and Worcester were again in control at 26-18.
But Leicester took their turn and former Worcester centre Barry Lamble connected on his first touch, closing matters back to 34-31 at half-time.
Ex-Rider Zaire Taylor had been held to just two free-throws but sprang into life after the break.
He robbed his former colleagues to set up another Djukic dunk and then capped a 12-0 Wolves burst with a three-pointer.
However, Riders showed determination with a full-court press and reduced the deficit to 50-49 with Sullivan tabbing the closing five points of the third period.
After three minutes of the final quarter, the game was tied at 57-57 following a long-range score by Riders’ Jorge Calvo. He repeated the feat and Leicester’s guard combo of Downing and Jay Cousinard also got in on the outside shooting party.
Downing scored again to plunge Worcester into a 68-57 hole they could not get out of.
Hurried shots and an inability to handle their swarming opponents meant Wolves accumulated only five points in the last six minutes.
Assistant coach Alex Radu said: “We played pretty well until the last few minutes. They hit some big threes in the last part of the game and we were unable to respond.”
Taylor and Djukic led Wolves’ scoring with 13 and 12 points respectively, while Downing starred for Leicester with 22.
Wolves head to Sheffield Sharks on Friday followed by a trek to Glasgow Rocks on Sunday.