12th Apr, 2021

Lions overcome Wolves in overtime classic

Rob George 6th Apr, 2021

WORCESTER Wolves were involved in a barnstorming match against title-challenging London Lions at the University of Worcester Arena, coming from behind to force overtime, before eventually losing out 93-85.

After Friday’s thrilling 77-72 win over the Bristol Flyers, Wolves went into the clash with renewed optimism but London led 66-61 at the three-quarter mark of regulation time and still held a 76-74 edge entering the final minute.

Lamarr Kimble tied matters up to leave Lions with possession and just four seconds to produce a game-winner. Intense defence harried the visitors into failing to inbound the ball, now giving Wolves a last-gasp chance.

A shot attempt from Kimble was foiled, sending the afternoon into five minutes of added time where London proved superior.

Lions had the hot hand as the game began, going 10-2 up before Wolves ignited with Kimble and Maarten Bouwknecht taking turns to set up baskets for the big-man pairing of Elijah Burns and Mike Parks.

Burns demonstrated a hop, step and a jump to restrict London’s first quarter advantage to 25-24.

By half-time it was Worcester who were in front at 46-45 on the back of a sizeable eight assists from Bouwknecht, directed mainly to his team’s inside duo.

Lions succeeded in subduing their hosts’ earlier pattern of success after the interval with a couple of three-pointers from Bouwknecht and Kimble the only significant third period input.

London’s former NBA forward Deandre Liggins dribbled from side to side before sinking an imperious triple to close out the period.

The excitement of the final minutes of regulation time looked as if it might carry over into overtime for Wolves once a swift five points for Burns had put them 81-78 to the good.

But Liggins once more took the spotlight from distance to regain the advantage at 83-81 with three minutes remaining and repeated the feat to send the contest out of reach at 88-82 by the last minute.

Burns led the scoring with 24 points, supported by 19 for Bouwknecht and 17 from Parks.

Wolves coach Matt Newby said: “It’s a tough loss to take. We turned the ball over fifteen times and gave up seventeen offensive rebounds.

“Even after that we still managed to stay in the game with a chance to win. We didn’t execute our last play well, but that one play didn’t decide the match,” he added.

Wolves’ recent busy schedule continues with upcoming visits to the University of Worcester Arena by Leicester Riders tomorrow (Wednesday) and by Cheshire Phoenix on Friday (April 9)

“Hopefully we show a conscience and bounce back against Leicester,” added Newby. “It wasn’t a great performance today. It was a game that was there for us to take but we didn’t.”

Visit Worcester Wolves – YouTube to watch the games for free and highlights from the weekend.

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