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Worcester Wolves 76 Durham Wildcats 82
7:15pm Sunday 23rd September 2012 in Sport
A Wolves side that contained a raft of fresh faces was unable to gel together quickly enough to repel the challenge of their well-drilled opponents, slipping to an 82-76 reversal.
A burst of early scoring from Wolves’ new recruits, hulking centre Arturas Masiulis and power forward Stanley Ocitti, helped the hosts to a 12-7 advantage midway into the opening quarter.
However, a trio of outside baskets from Wildcats’ Paul Elderkin and Mike Baldarelli closed the Worcester lead to just 21-19 by the end of the period.
The next 12 points of the game came from a double of long-distance scores by Baldarelli and Wolves’ new guard Alex Owumi, leaving the contest poised at 27-25 with eight minutes of the half to play.
A 40-35 half-time lead soon evaporated as Durham continued to rain in three-point baskets.
The visitors went into the last period 56-51 ahead as the impressive Baldarelli nailed his fourth triple.
Consecutive dunks from Masiulis and Ocitti briefly revived Wolves’ fortunes before a steadying time-out called by Durham coach Dave Elderkin calmed matters.
A slew of Worcester missed free-throws and turn-overs helped the visitors to maximise their lead at 80-71 with two minutes remaining before winding down to the final outcome.
Wolves’ director of basketball Paul James pointed to a significant factor in the defeat for his new-look team, saying: “It was a game that was scrappy in parts and one where we looked like a side that had only had a week of full practice.”
Owumi led the Worcester Wolves scorers with a total of 24 points, supported by Masiulis and Ocitti with 15 and 14 respectively.
Baldarelli top-scored for visitors Durham with 25, including a whopping six three-pointers.
Worcester Wolves now face the daunting task of travelling to the reigning BBL champions Newcastle Eagles on Friday.
This is followed by a return to the University of Worcester on Saturday to take on Manchester Giants.