Worcester Wolves stunned the table-topping Newcastle Eagles on Friday by coming back from a 13 point last quarter deficit to defeat them 94-86 on their own court.
If facing a side unbeaten in all eight of their matches in the BBL this season was not enough of a challenge, the Wolves also had to show that they could bounce back from the disappointment of losing last weekend’s cup semi-final against Plymouth Raiders.
A score from centre Richie Gordon, followed by three made foul shots from Tommy Freeman pushed Wolves into a 5-0 lead to open the game. The teams traded baskets throughout the rest of an opening quarter that ended with the Eagles on top at 24-21.
The second period saw the home side begin to put their mark on the contest as some big three-pointers from their strong American duo of Charles Smith and Joe Chapman helped them extend their lead to 47-33 just before the half-time interval. A score from distance by Wolves’ Sherrad Prezzie-Blue, followed by a late basket from fellow guard Callum Jones, pulled matters back to 47-38 heading into the locker rooms.
In the third quarter the Wolves were unable to make much headway into the Newcastle advantage and still trailed 51-64 as the period ended.
However in the first minute and a half of the final period a remarkable four consecutive scores from outside the arc by Freeman slashed the Worcester deficit to just four points at 63-67. It was fitting that yet another Freeman basket, a couple of minutes later, took the Wolves into their first lead since the start of the game at 71-70.
Whilst Eagles continued to struggle to defend the free-scoring Freeman, more space opened up for Prezzie-Blue to join the Wolves’ points frenzy. With four minutes remaining in the match the visitors led 83-74, and there was no way back for a shell-shocked Newcastle side that saw their proud unbeaten run ended.
Freeman top scored for the Wolves with 33 points, including five three-pointers. Prezzie-Blue was Wolves’ next-highest scorer with 23 points, including four three-pointers. Newcastle’s Charles Smith led all scorers in the game with 37 points.