Wolves out to make most of home comforts

Worcester News: HOME ADVANTAGE: For Paul James. Picture: KEITH HUNT. HOME ADVANTAGE: For Paul James. Picture: KEITH HUNT.

WORCESTER Wolves are looking to make the most of playing at home second in their British Basketball League play-off semi-final against Sheffield Sharks.

Although Worcester finished lower in the table, the Sharks have had to surrender home advantage in the second leg due to the English Institute of Sport being unavailable.

It means Wolves, in the last four for the first time in their history, will travel to South Yorkshire tonight (7.30pm) before hosting Sheffield at the University Arena on Sunday (6.30pm).

The winners will meet either Newcastle Eagles or Leicester Riders at Wembley Arena on Sunday, May 11.

"The fact that they're having to play the home leg first I think helps us," said director of basketball Paul James.

"Initially they were going to play on Sunday but for some reason they can't get their facility so they're having to play tonight.

"In a way it plays in our favour and they'll be a lot of pressure on them in the first leg to get the job done. We'll be working as hard as we can to make sure that doesn't happen. We can do the damage in that first leg."

Wolves have lost to Sheffield in each of their three meetings in the league but, crucially, triumphed in the two-legged semi-final en route to winning the BBL Trophy.

James has also called on the supporters to turn out in force for the second leg at the Hylton Road arena.

"If we can go up there and, like we did in the trophy, either win it or keep it close, we can get the job done playing in front of our crowd on Sunday," James said.

"Hopefully, the people of Worcester will realise the magnitude of this game and how much the team needs them to get behind them.

"If we can get a good crowd and they make it loud and intimidating for Sheffield, I'm quite confident we can get the job done."

Wolves went down 83-64 and 86-76 in Sheffield in November and last month respectively, as well as losing 82-73 at the arena in March.

But it was a better story in trophy, also in March, with Wolves adding an 84-70 home victory to their 62-60 success in Sheffield for a 146-130 aggregate win.

James added: "The last time we played them up there we weren't great and they beat us but we're not going to think about that, we'll be thinking about how we can slow them down and maybe make it a low scoring game.

"I really like our chances. Now that we're through to the semi-finals, I think the guys are totally mentally focused on what we have to do."

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