WORCESTER Wolves rose to the big occasion on Saturday afternoon by thumping Brighton Bears 79-59 in the first-round of the NBL Division Two North play-offs. 

The outcome was still in the balance at half-time with the visitors just 45-35 to the good, but lockdown defence after the break left no doubt about the result.

Two Worcester stalwarts, Lucas McGregor and Ian Vivero-Rodriguez combined for all but a couple of the points in their teams 22-19 first quarter lead.

Matei Balteanu accepted a simple layup after a bullet McGregor assist and then added to his scoring after stealing the ball at mid-court.

Aryan Davoodi joined the action with a clever hand-off for Humberto Ferreira to convert while Vivero-Rodriguez continued to bump up his personal points tally.

Turnovers from both sides abounded as the second half began. It would take over five minutes before a confident McGregor drive broke a scoring drought and moved Wolves 49-36 ahead.

McGregor rebounded a Vivero-Rodriguez missed three-pointer and the latter then found the target on his next two triple attempts to accelerate the advantage to 57-39.

Resolute defence blocked repeated Brighton attacks, preventing any successful field goals until the very last minute of the third quarter.

Entering the final period with a healthy 61-42 cushion, more Worcester men took the
chance to ink the scoresheet. Vivero-Rodriguez set up consecutive Tom Grayling
inside baskets and Liam Langridge-Barker twice connected from outside the
perimeter as Wolves danced to victory.

McGregor and Vivero-Rodriguez dominated the scoring with 28 and 27 points respectively while Ferreira controlled the boards with an impressive 14 rebounds.

Worcester will make the short trip up the M5 to the home of familiar foes City of
Birmingham Rockets next weekend.

The last meeting between the sides in February was only decided in favour of Birmingham by a last-minute game-winner, leaving matters now poised for another tight encounter.