Worcester Wolves 83 (18,46,61) (Williams 19, Ocitti 16, Masiulis 16)
Glasgow Rocks 70 (15,31,50) (Murray 18, Fantazia 10, Robinson 10)
The Worcester Wolves have regained fifth place in the BBL Championship after beating the Rocks, to whom they lost it the night before, 83-70 in the Midlands. It’s the seventh straight home win for the Wolves, a run that stretches back to the opening weekend of the season, while for the Rocks it was the first defeat in three.
Kai Williams led the Wolves with 19 points, while Stanley Ocitti had a big double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds. Gareth Murray led the Rocks with 18 points. The Wolves gained the ascendancy in the first half, and never lost it although they didn’t manage to shake off their visitors until the closing stages.
Neither side scored for over two minutes at the start of the game, until Alex Owumi opened the scoring with a three-pointer. The sides were not separated by more than one score throughout the opening ten minutes, despite the Rocks coming back with the next 5 points, a Sterling Davis triple giving them the lead, and they held an edge until midway through the first quarter. Williams hit a three for a 10-7 lead for the hosts and they held that through to the end of the period as Arnas Kazlauskas scored with their last attack for an 18-15 lead.
And that momentum carried into the second quarter as they opened with 6 unanswered points in what became a 9-2 run for a double digit lead at 27-17; the Wolves scored 9 points in a minute and a half with Arturas Masiulis scoring 4 and Kazlauskas adding a three-pointer. That was just the start for the Wolves as they posted a further 9-2 surge shortly afterwards including another Williams triple and 4 in a row from Ocitti to make the score 36-19. The Rocks stemmed the flow and got back to 37-27 on Owen McNally’s score, but there was a further push to come from the hosts as they then held their visitors scoreless for three minutes, while rattling off 9 of their own, to see the lead reach its peak at 46-27 inside the final minute. Fantazia and Ringgold scored for the Rocks before they headed into the break 46-31 in arrears.
This time it was the visitors’ turn to carry momentum across the break as they scored the first 4 points of the third quarter; but, as had happened previously, the Wolves were resolute and responded in kind, with Masiulis adding another 4. The Rocks hit back with the next 6, but again the hosts kept them at arm’s length as Owumi connected from beyond the arc. And again the Wolves would not allow the Rocks to bridge the gap, as a further 8-0 tear, during which Ocitti added another 6, put them back up 61-43 inside the last two minutes of the third period. Nevertheless, there was another run for the Rocks as they held the hosts scoreless in those final two minutes, while pouring in the last 7 points including 5 from the free-throw line.
And the Rocks had the deficit down to single figures immediately in the fourth quarter as Murray opened the scoring, and he continued to register for the visitors, scoring all of their first 5 points during the decisive fourth quarter. When Wedemire and Fantazia added scores, it became a 9-2 run and the gap was down to just 4 points at 63-59. But, epitomising the second half, the Wolves showed their resilience once more, this time with Sherrad Prezzie-Blue making a three-pointer and Owumi, Ocitti and Williams adding scores in a 9-0 run that forced the Rocks into a timeout, 13 points down with under five minutes to play. And that run proved decisive as Kazlauskas made another three-pointer not long after the time out, and they finally managed to suppress the Rocks with Kazlauskas and Prezzie-Blue controlling the game down the stretch.