WORCESTER Wolves will have to make up a three-point difference in the BBL Cup semi-final second leg at Leicester Riders after losing 66-63 at the University of Worcester Arena last night.

Both teams took a while to settle into the game with a low-scoring first quarter as the starting fives defended strongly.

A flurry of points from Mark Hughes set the hosts on their way to lead 13-11 before the sides upped the intensity levels in the second 10 minutes.

Andy Thompson made in impact from behind the three-point line for the visitors but some neat play on the low post set Worcester off well on the offensive end of the floor.

Maarten Bouwknecht and Kofi Josephs both found success in and around the basket as well as from beyond the perimeter.

Riders clawed back into the first leg to take a 37-34 lead into half-time and returned to the floor with a different approach to the game.

They built a healthy lead with good spells of scoring and a strong defensive display to go 59-47 ahead.

But Wolves found a rhythm and started to chip away at the lead.

Offensive rebounds and put-backs from Julius van Sauers and Cortez Edwards as well as a well-shot corner three from Raheem May-Thompson with just seconds left of the third cut Riders' lead to 12 points.

A physical final quarter saw Wolves continue to push their offence with multiple steals leading to Hughes running the floor to slam the ball home.

It was followed by a drive through the lane and two-handed dunk for van Sauers with Josephs adding to the tally.

“Both teams defended well in the first quarter giving the low score and errors hurt both teams in the game,” explained Wolves head coach Matt Newby.

“A couple of cognitive errors late in the game were probably the difference and that comes from experience and maturity.

"My guys gave a huge effort, maybe we were not bold enough. I am looking forward to the second leg and we will see how it plays out."

Josephs headed the scoring for Wolves with 16 points while Amir Williams' dominance on the boards continued with 14 rebounds alongside 11 points.

Edwards, who also got 11 points, and Hughes both claimed four steals to highlight Wolves' defensive efforts.

Riders' Namon Wright got 17 points, Jamell Anderson 12 and Darien Nelson-Henry 12.

Wolves visit Bristol Flyers in the BBL Championship tonight (7.30pm) before returning to Worcester on Friday, December 20, when they welcome Glasgow Rocks for the first time this season.

The cup semi-final second leg at Leicester is on Friday, January 3.