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Worcester Wolves 101 Surrey United 79
5:59pm Sunday 15th December 2013 in Sport
WORCESTER Wolves confirmed their place at the top of the British Basketball League after overcoming a surprisingly feisty Surrey United at the University of Worcester Arena.
For several spells in the game, Surrey belied their bottom-of-the-table position, leading for most of the first quarter and outscoring their hosts in the final quarter, resulting in a respectable scoreline.
Wolves coach Paul James used the night to spread court time across all members of his squad, except for stalwart Will Creekmore who was allowed to rest after a recent bout of food poisoning.
Three minutes in, Surrey’s young point guard Elvisi Dusha stole the ball off his opposite number Zaire Taylor to put his side in front at 10-6.
The teams were tied at 12-12 following a score from Wolves’ Stefan Djukic.
Kai Williams, back in a Wolves shirt, got onto court after six minutes had elapsed and immediately reminded fans of his shooting prowess by floating home a triple to put the score to 18-12.
A determined 11-4 burst regained the lead for United but, as the opening quarter expired, Taylor passed to Djukic directly under the basket to edge Wolves 24-23 ahead.
Seven points from Worcester big man Andreas Schreiber and a brace of three-pointers from his colleague Caylin Raftopoulos suddenly created daylight between the teams at 39-30.
An early time out from United coach Jack Majewski did little to prevent the slide.
Forward Kalil Irving nailed a rare score from the outside and then accepted an assist from Taylor to deliver an alley-oop dunk, extending the advantage to 54-34 with three minutes remaining in the half.
Coming out of the locker rooms already ahead at 62-41, Wolves killed off the contest with a 14-2 surge over the next five minutes.
Ten of those points came from reliable guard Alex Owumi, before he and his backcourt partner Taylor finally took their seats on the bench.
Despite the exit of two of Wolves’ starters, Surrey still had trouble penetrating on offence, settling for too many rushed outside shots and struggling with swarming Worcester defenders, ending the third period in arrears at 88-53.
With victory in the bag, James gave plenty of minutes of the last quarter to his reserve players, mercifully easing the onslaught against tiring opponents and allowing them to give respectability to the eventual outcome.
The Wolves coach said: “In the first quarter we were feeling our way back after a two-week lay-off so our slow start was kind of expected.
“In the second quarter we raised our intensity, got some stops on defence, executed our plays and finally broke the game open.
“I was pleased that I was able to give minutes to some of our younger players and extended court time to Stefan and Andreas.
“Caylin, Daniel (Belgrave) and Calvin (Morant-Hudson) also did a good job for us.”
Owumi led the Worcester scorers with 20 points, with Schreiber and Djukic both registering a double-double of statistics.
Schreiber scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Djukic tallied 14 points and 12 rebounds.
American guard Brandon McGill top-scored for Surrey with 20 points.
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