WORCESTER Wolves overcame a sluggish start to beat Bristol Academy Flyers 84-68 at the University of Worcester Arena to go third in the NBL Division Two table.

Just as they did in their thrilling overtime win last weekend at Doncaster Eagles, Wolves had to dig deep to haul back several double-digit deficits before eventually emerging with a win.

While happy to see his side move up to third place in Division Two of the National Basketball League with a 3-2 win-loss record, Wolves’ coach Dean Blake acknowledged improvement is still needed.

“We seem to have this terrible habit of starting poorly before managing to pull it back and make a game of it,” said Blake. “I’m pleased we got the win, but I’m doing something wrong in how I prepare these guys.”

Bristol bagged the opening eight points of the evening before Worcester co-captain Jacob Dearman was able to ignite the home scoring.

Flyers’ dangerous forward Guiseppe Landolfi finalised a bumper eleven-point early output when sinking a triple and a bonus free throw as the first quarter expired to establish a 19-11 lead.

The visitors pounced upon defensive frailties to accelerate their advantage to 29-13, forcing Blake to call for a time-out.

Isaiah Walker marked his return from injury with a layup and James Turner stole the ball to begin a fightback.

Aryan Davoodi produced a confident drive and a follow-up three-pointer to slash the deficit to 32-26 and leave Bristol as the side now requesting a break in play.

Emmanuel Yeboah swatted aside an attack and fired a length of the court assist for Zak Riabi to convert. A moment later he laid on another zip-line pass to Riabi, sending a rejuvenated Worcester into the half-time locker rooms just 32-30 in arrears.

The third quarter saw Riabi explode with a further ten points and the hosts confidence set alight as Dearman cheekily handed the ball off behind his back to freeze defenders and gift Humberto Ferreira an easy score.

52-49 to the good as the final quarter began, it was now all one-way traffic for Wolves.

As Bristol hurried their shots and fumbled their possessions Riabi and Dearman took turns in spinning to the hoop to torment their markers or stepping back to connect from long-range leaving Worcester to waltz to victory.

Riabi led the scoring with 28 points, supported by 20 from Dearman.

With stalwart point-guard Wilfrid Santhe still sidelined by injury, Dearman is revelling in his extra court-time.

“Wilf is one of our best players and I’m doing the best I can to fill some big shoes,” said Dearman. “I try to let the game come to me, try to get other guys going with assists and, when it’s there, try to score when I can.

“We went down early today but when we really got things going Bristol couldn’t stop us. I love the minutes I’m getting but I have to say I’m looking forward to Wilf returning to bring the team back up.”