WORCESTER Wolves maintained their red-hot streak of form as they overcame London Lions 83-72 to reach the BBL Trophy quarter-finals.
Victory, their ninth in a row and the third time they have beaten the Lions this season, sets up a mouth-watering clash at high-flying Newcastle Eagles later this month.
The last time Wolves travelled to London’s Copper Box Arena they had to pull back a late deficit to finally triumph after overtime.
On this occasion the visitors left no room for error, moving into the lead shortly after half-time and continually repelling their hosts' attempts to turn the tables.
After being delayed by traffic, Worcester had less time to prepare and subsequently got off to a laboured start.
They slipped 7-2 behind with only Alex Owumi troubling the scoreboard. But by midway through the quarter, a 16-11 advantage had been established following Owumi’s first three-pointer.
Wolves led 28-23 at the end of the first quarter and successive baskets from Zaire Taylor, Will Creekmore and Kai Williams moved them clear at 34-26.
However, seven points from Chez Marks helped edge London ahead at 39-36 with four minutes of the half remaining.
Worcester still trailed 50-47 at the start of the second-half but drew level after Taylor snatched the ball from Marks and floated in a triple.
Harassing defence from Wolves saw them stifle their opponents and take control at 66-60.
When the pairing of Rod Brown and Kramer Knutson converted, the Lions were back in touch at 69-67 with five minutes left.
A time-out from coach Paul James was enough to steady the ship. From the restart, Brown was the man to suffer as firstly Taylor, and then Creekmore, stole possession from him and upped their team’s lead.
With less than three minutes to go, Taylor was once more tormenter-in-chief. After out-duelling everyone to rebound his own missed shot, he then floated a pass for Kalil Irving to dunk through the hoop, re-establishing a comfortable 77-69 advantage and leaving too much for the Lions to claw back.
Taylor, who was on court for the full 40-minute duration, put forward an all-round performance, top-scoring with 25 points, as well as contributing six assists, four steals and five rebounds.
Owumi and Creekmore were next highest scorers with 15 and 14 points respectively, with Creekmore registering a double-double of statistics by also grabbing 11 rebounds.
Marks and Joe Ikhinmwin scored 21 and 15 points for London respectively.