WORCESTER Wolves' coach Dean Blake voiced his frustration following his side's 73-72 NBL Division Two defeat to bottom-of-the-league Northants Titans on Saturday.

Wolves' sloppy start was punished by Titans, who moved of the foot of the table with their victory.

"This is the same side we had a miraculous win against at the start of the season," said Blake. "They’ve improved and got better as a team. I said then that better teams will punish us and that’s exactly what happened today.

"We’re putting ourselves in positions at the beginnings of games that we don’t need to put ourselves in.

"We’re starting as if we don’t know there’s a basketball game to play and then find ourselves in a hole that we somehow expect to get out of."

A half-court violation, a careless pass, and failing to inbound the ball correctly set a pattern of mistakes that allowed Northants to push 13-5 ahead after five minutes of play.

By early in the second quarter the hosts still held a comfortable 26-13 lead before Worcester finally awoke from their slumbers.

Isaiah Walker joined the action with a double of three-pointers, Eben Effah slammed the ball through the hoop and Jacob Dearman pulled up to sink a triple, restricting Titans to a 42-38 half-time advantage.

The introduction to the court of James Turner at midway through the third period saw an immediate impact.

Turner threw up an assist for James Harrop to convert and, in the last moments of the period, floated home consecutive threes.

The fourth quarter began with the Wolves forward dropping his third triple from three attempts, propelling his side in front for the first time at 58-56.

Humberto Ferreira blocked a shot at one end and raced to receive a pass at the other to put matters into a 61-61 tie with seven minutes remaining.

A back-and-forth contest now ensued. Dearman stole the ball at midcourt and produced a scoop shot to peg Northants to a 69-68 edge before a Ferreira free throw levelled the evening entering the final couple of minutes.

By just eight seconds to go the hosts had forced 73-69 daylight, with another Turner long-range success insufficient to fully close the gap.

Wolves return to the University of Worcester Arena on Saturday 06 January 2024 (tip off 7.30pm) to host Bristol Basketball United.