WORCESTER Wolves celebrated a welcome British Basketball League victory over fellow strugglers Surrey Scorchers at the University of Worcester Arena last night.

Wolves raced into a 51-31 half-time lead and held onto a similar advantage with six minutes remaining before defying a strong Surrey comeback to emerge with an 84-79 success.

It was only their second league win of the season in 20 attempts and the first since beating Sunday's opponents Plymouth Raiders on the opening night.

Interim head coach Tony Garbelotto said: “It’s a win for the fans – they’re the ones who needed this. I’m extremely happy for them.

“We played well in the first half to get 20 points ahead but then took our foot off the gas. But a win is a win and we now have to build on it.”

A Lester Prosper double got Worcester off to an inspired start.

A Darell Combs finger-roll and a corner three had Scorchers calling for a time-out only five minutes into the evening, trailing 13-4.

When play resumed Combs immediately jabbed the ball out of Surrey hands to gift the opportunity for Deshawn Freeman to announce his long-awaited return from injury with a powerful layup.

A 22-12 first-quarter lead accelerated as Freeman got into his flow.

At three minutes before half-time he accepted a defence-freezing assist from Prosper to thump in his sixth score of the evening and push his side 37-22 in front.

Combs typified Wolves’ brimming confidence when sprinting coast-to-coast to finalise the hosts' healthy interval cushion.

However, matters slowed down when the teams returned from the changing rooms.

Scorchers’ dangerous guard combo of Tayo Ogedengbe and Quincy Taylor were able to repeatedly penetrate to the basket.

A 77-57 advantage ought to have been sufficient but home fans were forced to endure a nervy ending.

Taylor sank a triple and converted a bonus foul shot to reduce the arrears to 80-69 with three minutes remaining.

More points for Ogedengbe closed the deficit to 82-75 entering the final minute before the visitors ran out of time to spoil Worcester’s triumph.

Freeman led all scorers with 23 points supported by 16 from Robert Crawford.

Freeman said: “I’ve been out a while, it felt like months. I’m just happy to be back out with my team-mates and to get the win was amazing.”

Garbelotto praised his American forward, saying: “We’ve really missed him. His energy alone is infectious. He’s a massive boost for us.”

Wolves swiftly return to action on Sunday (3pm) at Plymouth, an opponent they beat on the opening day of the British Basketball League season in September.

They are managed by former Worcester head coach Paul James.

“Both teams now have some different players,” added Garbelotto.

“Plymouth have a lot of confidence with plenty of wins. It will be a really tough game. We will have to absolutely play at our best – hopefully the players will rise to the occasion.”