AN INABILITY to quell an early Newcastle Eagles onslaught led Worcester Wolves to fall to an eventual 94-85 defeat in the North-East on Friday.
Eagles powered 59-40 ahead by half-time before a second-half reboot allowed Worcester to give respectability to the final score-line.
“It certainly wasn’t a good start,” admitted Wolves’ coach Matt Newby. “We were inconsistent in our defence and Newcastle exploited that to the full.
“Conversely in the second half we were consistent, making stops on defence and by late on we’d cut the lead right down.
“But you can’t win games on only two quarters of output. It’s frustrating for everyone.”
It took three minutes of the evening to elapse before Jordan Williams spun forward to open Wolves’ scoring account, with their hosts having already strolled to ten points.
Williams continued to plug away and Brandon Anderson came off the bench to notch a swift nine points to restrict Newcastle’s lead to 29-20 entering the second quarter.
Former Worcester guard Cortez Edwards quickly pushed the margin into double-figures and with his backcourt partner Rahmon Fletcher also on song the gap between the teams rapidly escalated.
With little more than Williams’ forays to the basket on offer offensively Wolves dropped into a half-time hole.
A double of turnovers as soon as the game re-started only added to the torment before a switch in scoring focus encouraged a revival.
American guard Lamarr Kimble connected first from outside the arc and then watched his countryman Kj Lawson twice do likewise.
Anderson joined the shooting party and triples from Josh McSwiggan either side of another from Lawson brought up seven long-range successes from eight third-quarter attempts.
A confident drive to the hoop from Maarten Bouwknecht dragged Eagles’ advantage down to 84-76 with four minutes left in the evening and when the same man palmed the ball in from underneath the net a couple of minutes later the gap closed further to 86-80.
However, the visitors’ resurgence ended shortly afterwards in deflating fashion when a referees’ discussion switched a Newcastle defensive foul into a charging call against Wolves, enabling their hosts enough space to hold on for victory.
Williams posted a double-double performance of 18 points and 12 rebounds. Anderson put up 17 points while Kimble and Lawson supplied 14 apiece.
Wolves will set out on their challenge for the BBL Trophy this Wednesday (February 10) when they take on Manchester Giants at the University of Worcester Arena. The match tips off at 7pm and will be streamed live and for free on Worcester Wolves YouTube channel.
“We have to ensure we are ready for Manchester,” said Newby. “They can be a bit unpredictable in the way they play. They have a lot of freedom in their offense and that can be dangerous.”
The match against Manchester will be the second game in an accelerated run of fixtures that sees the club scheduled to play nine matches during February.
“We have a lot of games coming up in a short time so I need to think about rotations and give balance to the minutes that players accrue,” added Newby.