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Worcester Wolves 102 Birmingham Knights 72
7:26pm Sunday 29th December 2013 in Sport
WORCESTER Wolves carved up Christmas opponents Birmingham Knights at the University of Worcester Arena.
As expected against a team struggling in their debut British Basketball League season, Wolves encountered little difficulty, leading from start to finish to enter 2014 sitting proudly at the top of the table.
Their fifth win in a row was the fourth time during the run a century of points had been accumulated.
Director of basketball Paul James said: “We did what we had to do, performing professionally against an improving Birmingham side.
“We saw some great individual performances from Alex (Owumi), Zaire (Taylor) and Will (Creekmore), and it was a chance for me to give extended court time to other players.
“It was a great way to end the year and enter the new one, undefeated through December and going into 2014 at the top of the table.”
Almost three minutes had elapsed before Knights troubled the scoreboard with a basket from American guard Brent Benson.
Wolves had already taken seven points which was extended by a confident triple from forward Kalil Irving and a Taylor score.
Taylor entertained a near-capacity home crowd with a behind-the-back pass for Andreas Schreiber to lay home and make it 14-2 after five minutes. Ex-Wolves guard Michael Gayle doubled the visitors’ points tally and ignited some respectability towards the 27-16 first-quarter scoreline.
Knights’ brief revival continued into the second period as a score apiece for Gayle and Benson, along with five points for emerging English forward Joshua Rolls-Tyson, helped close the gap to 35-26.
However, normal business was resumed when Wolves’ Owumi intercepted a Rolls-Tyson pass and allowed Calvin Morant-Hudson to open his account.
Daniel Belgrave grabbed his first points and also accepted a long assist from Taylor to re-establish the hosts’ dominance at 47-28 with three minutes left in the first-half.
A 55-35 interval lead was added to when Creekmore rebounded an Irving miss and unselfishly allowed fellow big man Schreiber to put through the hoop.
The recently-returned Kai Williams pinged home a couple of three-pointers to maintain the Wolves’ cushion at 76-55 entering the final quarter. A 15-4 run over the first five minutes of the final period, including nine points for Owumi, signalled the last of any Birmingham resistance, prompting James to withdraw his starters.
Taylor left the court with 10 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds, while Creekmore added 16 points and 16 rebounds.
Owumi sat down on 24 points. Belgrave and Morant-Hudson shone by continuing the barrage of outside shooting as Worcester sauntered to a comfortable triumph.
Williams and Belgrave managed 14 points apiece, while Benson top-scored for Birmingham with 18.
Referring to Taylor’s near triple-double of statistics, James joked his playmaker had to bear responsibility for just falling short of the accolade.
He added: “Yes, Zaire did have a bit of a joke with me about taking him off but, if he wanted his triple-double, then he should have achieved it in the time he got.”
Wolves open 2014 at Manchester Giants on Sunday.