London Lions 73 Worcester Wolves 98

(5352334)

(5352334)

First published in Sport

WORCESTER Wolves consolidated their hold on second place in the British Basketball League with a comprehensive 98-73 win at London Lions.

In their last league encounter at London’s Copper Box Arena in October, the Wolves had to pull back a late deficit to finally triumph after overtime.

This time, however, the visitors moved into the lead shortly after the first quarter and stubbornly barred their hosts' attempts to mount a comeback.

Zaire Taylor led the Worcester scoring with 22 points, closely followed by Will Creekmore and captain Alex Owumi with 21 and 20 respectively.

Brothers Jamal and Kai Williams combined for 20 points between them, while Michael Martin top-scored for London with 19.

Head coach Paul James said: “It was a very good team performance with five of our players all hitting double-figure scoring for us to take the win.”

On the first possession, Martin's shot attempt went awry, Wolves’ Kalil Irving snatched the rebound and passed to Creekmore who sank a confident triple.

Creekmore was next to score for Worcester and saw team-mate Owumi take the next five points for an early 10-7 advantage.

A score from Joe Ikhinmwin levelled matters at 18-18 as the first quarter concluded, but a long-distance success from point guard Taylor soon put Wolves back in charge as the second period opened.

After three minutes had elapsed, the advantage had increased to 27-20, before Martin set off on a purple patch.

The 40-year-old former Great Britain forward nailed a remarkable half-dozen baskets before the end of the first-half and it was only a trio of three-pointers from Jamal Williams and Owumi that allowed Wolves to hold London at bay at 44-35.

It was Creekmore who was again first to move the scoreboard after the interval, before, inevitably, Martin replied.

Scoring support finally arrived for London in the shape of American forward Jason Davis, whose six points helped his side edge closer at 50-46 midway through the third period.

However, two fouls by Martin in little over a minute forced his withdrawal to the Lions bench, allowing the visitors to once more pull clear, leading 69-55 entering the final quarter.

Matters only worsened for the hosts in the next couple of minutes after a double of scores from outside the arc by Kai Williams helped build a healthy 77-57 cushion.

When Williams again connected two minutes later, the last flickerings of London resistance were extinguished.

With Taylor and Creekmore in particular continuing to rack up points, the victorious trip to the capital was sealed.

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