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Guildford Heat 78 Worcester Wolves 100
7:30pm Monday 5th March 2012 in Match Reports
WORCESTER Wolves completed a quick-fire double with a commanding victory at Guildford Heat to seal their place in the British Basketball League play-offs.
The University of Worcester side followed up Saturday’s 95-79 home triumph over Cheshire Jets to ensure they will finish in the top eight this season.
However, that has never really been in doubt this term for a team currently second in the table and, with a third of the season left, Paul James’ men will be hoping to cement a top-four berth.
The Heat success went a long way towards that as Wolves notched their fifth win in a row to leave them just two points behind leaders Newcastle Eagles but having played two games more.
Their bid was also helped by the Eagles losing 85-76 at home to Plymouth Raiders on Friday.
Despite seeing a resurgence in their own form, including a win over the high-flying Raiders, Guildford had no answer to a Wolves side brimming with confidence.
There was early hope for the Heat when Wolves’ centre Richie Gordon was forced to the bench after picking up a couple of fouls with his side 14-11 ahead.
However, back-to-back three-point scores from Lithuanian forward Arnas Kazlauskas as the opening quarter came to a close extended their lead to 22-15.
After three minutes of the second period, the visitors’ advantage had grown to 30-17 when David Watts floated home a brace of long-distance scores.
The game looked almost beyond Guildford just before half-time as they trailed 40-26 before an optimistic hurl from Martelle McLemore found the net.
But Wolves, missing Carlos Fernandez following his collision with team-mate Tommy Freeman against the Jets, grabbed the first six points after the restart to establish a comfortable 46-29 cushion.
Callum Jones revelled in the extra minutes given to him by the absence of Fernandez.
Each time Heat threatened a comeback it was swiftly put down by accurate shooting from range by Kazlauskas or Watts and strength inside from Gordon.
Leading 70-56 heading into the closing quarter, Gordon fired home the next eight points.
Wolves were able to score steadily for the remainder of the game and enjoyed winding down to the final triumph.
Sherrad Prezzie-Blue led the Wolves scorers with 23 points, followed by Gordon with 19. Watts and Kazlauskas both registered one, contributing five and four triples respectively.