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Wolves bounce back with a win
8:00pm Sunday 8th April 2012 in Match Reports
WORCESTER Wolves bounced back from an agonising last-second 85-84 defeat at leaders Newcastle Eagles by seeing off Guildford Heat 85-77.
Head coach Paul James has seen Wolves beat his former club Heat in each of their six meetings this season.
A dogged start to the second-half finally saw them overcome their plucky visitors in the British Basketball League at the University of Worcester on Saturday night.
The sides traded runs in the first period and Heat led 13-7 after four minutes.
When Wolves forward Carlos Fernandez was fouled while scoring and converted the bonus foul shot, it started an 11-0 run for the hosts.
But steady points from Richie Gordon were matched by Guildford’s Shaun Durant and Frank Holmes as they retook the lead at 23-22.
Gordon slotted home the last of his tally of 15 in the first quarter to edge Wolves back in front before Durant nudged Heat ahead in the second period. A Sherrad Prezzie-Blue triple, Tommy Freeman three-pointer and Fernandez lay-up established a 36-31 advantage but Heat levelled 44-44 by half-time.
The third quarter opened with a 9-2 run for Heat but Wolves enjoyed a 15-0 run over five minutes, including back-to-back triples by Prezzie-Blue, to lead 66-57 by the end.
The Worcester advantage peaked at 78-63 with four minutes left before David Watts powered home a one-handed dunk.
Director of basketball James admitted: “It wasn’t a vintage performance after a hard night at Newcastle. We weren’t full of energy but managed to do the job and execute when we needed to.”
Gordon led the night’s scorers with 22 points ahead of Prezzie-Blue (21).
At Newcastle the night before, a last-gasp Andrew Thomson tip-in gave Eagles an 85-84 win and effectively dropped Wolves out of the title race.
Eagles broke a 7-7 tie with a 15-2 surge over the next five minutes and led 22-11 at the end of the first quarter.
Wolves dragged the score back to 27-25 before an Arnas Kazlauskas triple sent the teams into the locker room tied at 38-38. Eagles were back in command at 57-49 only for the visitors to surge into a 64-57 lead.
The hosts retaliated to take a 65-64 advantage into the final quarter and Gordon fouled out of the contest.
With Eagles 81-76 ahead, Kazlauskas scored five quick points to restore parity but then fouled out.
The teams traded baskets with Prezzie-Blue firing Wolves 84-83 ahead with 12 seconds remaining only for Thomson to pounce.
Gordon top-scored for Wolves with 23 and pulled down 11 rebounds, while Prezzie-Blue managed 19 points.
Wolves have their final regular-season home game on Saturday against Leicester Riders.