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Leaders Wolves make it two wins in 24 hours
11:20am Monday 10th February 2014 in Sport
PAUL James heralded the quality of his Worcester Wolves side as they strengthened their grip on top spot in the British Basketball League.
Wolves once again marked themselves out as the team to beat following a weekend which saw them win twice on the road in 24 hours.
Having crushed Plymouth Raiders 93-63 in Devon, they turned on the style to win 105-94 at Cheshire Phoenix.
The University Arena side, who host Durham Wildcats on Friday (7.30pm), now have a four-point cushion at the summit, having played one game more than second-placed Newcastle Eagles and two more than Sheffield Sharks, who are eight points adrift.
Director of basketball James said: "I can’t emphasise enough the magnitude of the weekend. Set up as one of our toughest, we came through it like the number one team we are right now.”
Victory against Cheshire was their 11th in a row and featured 30 points from point guard Zaire Taylor, while brothers Jamal and Kai Williams also contributed 30 points between them against their former employers.
James added: “I’m so pleased for them. Cheshire were spending a lot of time in a zone defence, so we shot them out of it.
"It was perfect for Kai, and I’ve been encouraging Jamal to shoot more, which he did.
"We should have beaten them by more. We totally destroyed Cheshire.”
Worcester established an early lead which they maintained throughout the contest.
The support of a raucous home crowd was initially rewarded as five points from England international guard Devan Bailey helped the hosts to an 11-7 lead after six minutes.
From here both Williams' entered the fray and soon made their mark. Jamal scored with his first touch of the ball and a moment later Kai floated home a shot from distance.
The brothers netted a basket apiece in the final minute of the quarter to extend the advantage to 20-13.
Four points from Victor Moses hinted at a Phoenix comeback, before Jamal Williams restored Wolves’ seven-point cushion and they held a 44-38 lead at half-time.
The nip and tuck pattern continued in a third quarter notable for a barrage of Worcester three-pointers.
Cheshire forward Dominique Coleman nabbed a couple but his input was matched by Wolves forward Kalil Irving, and outdone by a trio of triples from Kai Williams.
Taylor and Will Creekmore also got in on the act, as did reserve forward Daniel Belgrave, helping to widen their side’s advantage to 74-63 entering the final 10 minutes.
At six minutes to go the gap had lessened to 79-74 and additional scoring from Moses and Coleman closed it further to 81-78.
However, five points from Taylor and an outside success for Jamal Williams were enough to calm matters and once more put distance between the sides at 89-81 with three minutes remaining. Taylor grabbed eight more points in the final quarter, while his team-mates sank the majority of their free throws.
Creekmore garnered his latest double-double of the season with 17 points and 19 rebounds, while Coleman and Moses led the Cheshire scorers with 26 and 22 points respectively.