DIRECTOR of basketball Paul James says Worcester Wolves paid the price for their poor start against Newcastle Eagles.

British Basketball League leaders Wolves saw their 14-game winning streak come to an end at a packed University of Worcester Arena with an 86-78 defeat.

The visitors, who are now just four points behind at the top, led from start to finish, including a 31-18 advantage at the end of the first quarter, and Wolves were unable to recover.

Worcester also only managed five three-pointers from 32 attempts in a below par display of shooting.

James said: “We never fought back from the first quarter, it was really quite appalling and shocking.

“To give up 30 points in 10 minutes of basketball is just ridiculous and to do it against a team like Newcastle, it was a long way back.

“I was really disappointed at both ends during that first quarter. Some of our shot selection was not the best.”

James added: “I think we came out a bit too lax, the intensity and energy wasn’t there. Defensively, we were slow-footed.

“Offensively, we were walking the ball down the floor, which was allowing them to rest, so there were a lot of things that went wrong in that first quarter before we actually woke up and tried to give ourselves a chance to win.

“We got it back to four points and I think at that time we had the ball so we could have gone two or one point down, but they ended up turning the ball over twice in a row off crazy mistakes.”

Will Creekmore top-scored for Wolves with 23 points, closely followed by Alex Owumi (20) and Zaire Taylor (19), but the latter saw himself frozen out by Eagles.

James said: “Credit to Newcastle, they did a great job in getting the ball out of Zaire’s hands so we had to have Alex and others bring the ball down court sometimes and that took us out of our rhythm a little bit.

“They did their homework, did a good job and we’re going to have to bounce back.”

Worcester’s misery was compounded with forward Kalil Irving suffering a suspected dislocated shoulder in making a defensive block in the second-half. James said: “That will be a big loss if he’s going to be out for a little while because Kalil’s done a fantastic job for us.

“The last time he was out injured we lost three games in a row so we’re going to have to try to manage the situation.”

The next matches for Wolves will be the Trophy encounter with Sheffield Sharks.

The away leg takes place on Friday with Sharks travelling to Worcester on Wednesday, March 12, for the return.

l For a Wolves match report, see page 38.