WORCESTER Wolves could not force overtime with a final shot from deep as they were beaten 70-67 by Leicester Warriors on Saturday.

A large crowd at the University of Worcester Arena watched Leicester come out on the high side of a 70-67 thriller, driven by a stunning 33 points from their East Midlands veteran Delaney Powell.

The opening minutes of the contest saw Powell grab a double of steals and a handful of points, setting the scene for what would follow.

Wolves also had a single player dominating the early scoring as Matei Balteanu settled into a pattern of close-to-the-basket points, restricting Warriors to a 20-14 first-quarter lead.

Wilfrid Santhe and Aryan Davoodi both pulled up to sink three-pointers, drawing the teams level at 22-22 by three minutes into the second period.

Further Powell output pushed Leicester 34-26 in front before Jacob Dearman stepped forward to drive Worcester’s response.

Dearman dispossessed his opponent ahead of a layup and then twirled around to   scoop the ball into the net.

A lively exchange of passes with fellow guard Santhe set up Humberto Ferreira and dragged Warriors back to a mere 36-34 half-time advantage.

Multiple ties punctuated the third quarter. Consecutive Santhe free throws, a Balteanu hook shot and a spectacular Ferreira slam all left the sides locked together before another Powell-led Leicester flourish put them 57-52 to the good entering the last quarter.

With two minutes of the evening remaining the visitors still held sway at 69-63. 

Ferreira rebounded a Davoodi miss and Santhe profited from a shot-clock violation to bring matters back to 70-67 by the last half-minute.

However, Wolves’ failed to prolong the contest when a Santhe corner shot attempt went awry.

Balteanu and Santhe led the home scoring with 19 and 17 points respectively.

"We couldn’t quite get over the hump," admitted Worcester coach Dean Blake. "Powell is a very experienced player who knew how to take advantage of his matchups and we unfortunately couldn’t do enough to contain him."

Next Saturday 17 February (tip off 6.30 pm) will see Wolves take on the challenge of a trip to table-topping Bristol Hurricanes. The following Friday 23 February the team return to the University of Worcester Arena to face Myerscough Basketball Academy.

"We took Bristol to overtime last time we played them so if we can keep things close again we’ll have a chance,” added Blake. “We’re going to compete every game."