Wolves cling on for victory over Lions

Worcester News: Worcester Wolves 98 London Lions 91 Worcester Wolves 98 London Lions 91

A DOGGED Worcester Wolves needed two periods of over-time to see off the challenge of a determined London Lions.

Wolves controlled matters for most of the 40 minutes of regulation time at the University of Worcester, but allowed the Lions to cling to their shirt tails and tie the game with a Perry Lawson lay-up as time expired.

In the first period of extra play the hosts again looked to have clinched victory until the Lions once more took the last score, this time from their England international forward Orlan Jackman.

It was only after double overtime that the home side were able to pull clear as their visitors lost players due to foul trouble.

Stan Ocitti top-scored for Worcester with 21 points, followed by Alex Owumi with 18 points.

Kai Williams registered a notable double-double of statistics, nailing 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

A relieved head coach Paul James said: “We had opportunities to win in both regulation and in the first period of over-time.

“But it was about time we got a bit of luck and we managed to grind out the win.”

After six minutes Williams dunked home a pass from Ocitti and the Wolves led 12-9. A minute later both had hit triples to increase the advantage to 18-11.

As the quarter clock wound down, Arturas Masiulis found himself a long way from the basket and, with no option but to fire up a shot, floated the ball home to push the home lead to 23-17.

London’s Joel Barkers fouled Masiulis as the second quarter opened and then watched him sink the first foul shot but miss the second.

However, young Worcester forward Kalil Irving snatched the rebound and passed the ball back to Masiulis who duly converted.

After four minutes of the period Wolves were dealt a temporary blow when influential guard Owumi was forced to the bench after committing his third foul when impeding Lions captain Mike Martin.

A nine-point cushion was maintained, moving from 28-19 to 42-33 but that had been reduced to 42-36 at half-time.

Three minutes into the third quarter the scores were tied at 49-49 following another triple from Adrien Sturt.

Owumi then registered his first score and quickly followed up with three more to move Wolves ahead at 67-58.

Worcester had their biggest lead at 74-63 midway through the final quarter but saw their visitors reel off seven unanswered points.

Lawson’s last-second lay-up tied the game at 79-79 and forced a nervy extra five minutes. The Lions lost Tayo Ogedengbe on five fouls and Wolves’ Lithuanian forward Arnas Kazlauskas followed for the same reason.

Jackman levelled at 86-86 before Irving took the first score of double-overtime. At 91-86, London’s resistance finally crumbled after the departure of captain Martin and playmaker Lawson.

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