WORCESTER Wolves swiftly put aside any lingering disappointment from their last-minute defeat against the league-leading Newcastle Eagles by pummelling the British Basketball League’s fourth-placed team, Plymouth Raiders.
In a game that was dominated for long periods by the home side, Wolves small forward Tommy Freeman gave a stunning individual performance, firing in a season-high 40 points.
Prior to the match Plymouth coach Gavin Love had declared how much his team liked playing at Worcester, having already won there twice this season.
Raiders’ inside presence was a significant factor in both of those victories and when Plymouth took an early lead through a lay-up from Lehmon Colbert and a powerful dunk from his fellow American big man Paul Williams, it looked as if a repetition could be on the cards.
However, this was to be the visitors’ only lead of the night as Freeman swiftly found his aim from beyond the arc.
A 25-16 lead with a couple of seconds to go in the opening quarter was extended when Freeman made all three free throws awarded after he was fouled in the act of shooting from the corner of the court by Raiders guard Michael Ojo.
In the second period, Arnas Kazlauskas joined in the long-range fun when hitting consecutive three-pointers to widen Wolves’ advantage to 34-18.
Replies in kind from Ojo and his backcourt partner Jeremy Bell helped Plymouth to briefly rally to reduce the deficit to 51-44 by the end of the half.
The third quarter began with Raiders’ Great Britain International James Jones floating home a basket to pull his side to within four points, but order was soon resumed when Freeman once more came to the fore.
Stumbling under the challenge of Williams, but somehow still making the basket, was enough to ignite the frustration of the Raiders, leading to a technical foul called against them.
The subsequent free throws were duly converted by Freeman, re-establishing a 59-47 cushion for Worcester.
A 75-64 lead entering the final period was soon boosted to 80-64 when Wolves forward David Watts sank the last of his four three-point baskets of the game.
Final fluttering Raiders resistance was shown with further scoring from Ojo and Bell to pull their side to 86-78 with three minutes remaining, but this was once more put down by the sublimely accurate shooting of Freeman as the hosts accelerated to the final decisive victory.
Next highest scorers for Wolves were Watts and Sherrad Prezzie-Blue, with 18 and 17 points respectively. Bell with 23 points, and Ojo with 19, led the Plymouth scoring.
Wolves will once more be at the University of Worcester on Saturday to take on the challenge of mid-table Milton Keynes Lions.