WORCESTER Wolves ended their 2018 fixtures with a home defeat against British Basketball League newcomers London City Royals.

Although Worcester stayed within touch of their visitors at 75-70 with three minutes remaining, a closing London surge saw them take a 91-75 win.

Wolves began slowly before five points from Darell Combs and a dish to Filip Kramer tied the teams up at 9-9.

A handful of early points for former NBA Summer League participant Matthew Bryan-Amaning helped his side to a 25-18 first-quarter lead.

When he produced a behind-the-back assist for his front-court partner Ashley Hamilton to convert, the advantage widened to 32-20 after three minutes of the second period.

Robert Crawford and Miki Servera got onto the scoreboard to reduce the deficit and recent big man signing Lester Prosper threw down a powerful dunk to level matters at 34-34.

Back behind at 42-36 entering the second half, Worcester’s problems increased when inspirational forward Deshawn Freeman fell heavily to the floor.

Once Freeman had been helped off the court Royals took charge, maximising their superiority at 56-39 by midway through the third quarter.

With six minutes left London still held sway at 74-60.

Combs and Servera took turns in driving to the basket for 10 unanswered points and a sniff of success.

But a London time-out steadied their ship, profiting from careless ball-handling and slotting in second-chance points after missed free throws to grab the victory.

Combs led the home scoring with 14 points followed by Servera and Crawford with 12 and 10 respectively.

Director of basketball Ty Shaw highlighted a disparity in the number of fouls called as a contributing factor to the loss.

He said: “We got 15 offensive rebounds but only came out of that with 16 free throws.

"In the second half they shot 27 free throws and we didn’t shoot a single one. I’ve never seen that in a basketball game.”

Wolves will open 2019 with matches on the road at a couple of championship contenders.

On Saturday (7.30pm) they travel to Leicester Riders followed by a visit to Sheffield Sharks on Friday, January 11.

“We’ll have to see if Deshawn can play or not,” added Shaw.

“We need to see how long he’s going to be out with his ankle.”

It will be Friday, January 18, before Wolves come back to the University of Worcester Arena to entertain London Lions.