WORCESTER Wolves followed up Friday’s defeat of the British Basketball League leaders London Lions by beating a club at the other end of the table in Manchester Giants.

But Giants belied their lowly record to head the visitors for much of the afternoon with Wolves forced to grind out a hard-fought 79-76 victory.

The hosts were without their captain Callum Jones on Sunday but this was balanced by Worcester missing the input of stalwart centre Amir Williams who was watching from the sidelines.

“Amir played big minutes on Friday and it was my decision to rest him,” explained coach Matt Newby.

“We’re still in the hunt for several pieces of silverware so I need to think in terms of managing the squad.

"Other players took the chance of more time such as Daniel Johnson-Thompson who brought us some great energy.

“Credit to Manchester who were ready for us. If I’m honest we had a little bit of an apathetic approach at the start of the game.

"But different guys stepped up at different times and it was a collective effort that finally got it done against a team that wanted to take us off the floor.”

Wolves laboured in the early going, limping to a 16-3 deficit by midway through the opening quarter.

It took three-pointers from Kofi Josephs and Mark Hughes to ignite the offence, reducing the arrears to 20-16 entering the next period.

Another Josephs triple brought the teams together at 27-27 and when Johnson-Thompson dunked a deft assist from Cortez Edwards Worcester had their first lead four minutes before half-time.

Giants regained a slender 36-35 advantage as the second half began.

Raheem May-Thompson hit a purple patch in the third period.

Nine points in just a couple of minutes showed his attacking form and he further proved his worth when drawing an offensive charge and the fourth personal foul from Manchester danger man Delvin Dickerson.

Edwards produced a quicksilver dash and two-handed slam to finalise the period’s scoring and aid a 54-52 edge for the visitors.

Giants’ veteran forward Yorick Williams sank a long-range effort as the last quarter began and Josephs twice replied in kind.

With three minutes remaining Williams repeated the feat to nudge his side 70-69 in front.

Josephs immediately connected to reverse the lead only for Manchester’s James Jones to yet again turn the tables.

The back-and-forth finally ended in the last two minutes with baskets from Edwards and Jordan Williams while Giants contrived to turn the ball over on successive plays and fail to convert multiple offensive rebounds.

Josephs led the scoring with 24 points.

Hughes and May-Thompson posted a dozen points apiece while Edwards and Jordan Williams both tallied 10.

Josephs enjoyed his exchanges with Manchester’s Yorick Williams, saying: “I looked up to him when I started my basketball journey at Birmingham Bullets.

"We’ve talked over the years and it was great to finally play against him. It was fun.”

Wolves now turn their focus to their BBL Cup semi-final second leg at Leicester Riders on Friday (7.30pm).

Riders claimed a narrow 66-63 first-leg win but Worcester will be encouraged by having hauled back a sizeable 17-point second-half deficit to keep the name of the team who will face Bristol Flyers in the final at Arena Birmingham in the balance.

“Going to a final will mean a great deal to the players, to management and to our fans,” said Newby.

“We had a great following on Sunday with fans from all over. We had a couple of groups behind us from Leeds and a big contingent coming up from Worcester.

"We’ll need them again in the East Midlands so I hope we’ll see as many of them as possible at the Morningside Arena on Friday.”