Worcester Wolves moved back to joint-top of the British Basketball League after comfortably seeing off the challenge of the Durham Wildcats 86-72 at the University of Worcester on Saturday.
Having beaten the league’s tenth-placed side, the Mersey Tigers, on Friday, the Wolves ensured that no mercy was shown to the team at the foot of the table the day after.
Before the tip-off Wolves centre Richie Gordon was presented with the gold-painted Molten match ball after being recognised as the BBL Player of the Month for December. He soon showed that the festive break had done nothing to interrupt his output as he dominated play close to both baskets, rattling up a quick-fire ten first quarter points and five rebounds.
With Tommy Freeman soon back into his scoring stride after serving a one-game suspension, the Wolves led 21-16 at the end of the first period.
Useful three-point shooting from Durham guard Paul Elderkin hinted at a competitive game, but this ended once he had to take a seat on the bench with a couple of fouls. David Watts hit consecutive outside scores of his own, and even Carlos Fernandez floated home a rare basket from beyond the arc as Wolves went into the half time interval 46-33 to the good.
Gordon registered the opening points of the second half with a gentle put-back, and followed this with a ferocious dunk a moment later. With swaggering confidence he swatted away a shot attempt from Wildcats veteran Ralph Bucci, and then showed a behind the back dribble as he put Fernandez in for a bucket.
Sherrad Prezzie-Blue bagged a couple of three-pointers and then converted an easy layup from a Fernandez steal and assist, finally putting down any lingering Wildcats resistance.
Going into the final quarter already holding a 67-48 advantage, it was almost cruel to watch the ease with which Gordon outmuscled the Durham defenders to score freely on his way to a game-high 30 points to go along with a whopping 20 rebounds, as Wolves eased to the victory.
Worcester Director of Basketball Paul James was pleased with the weekend’s work, commenting:
“These are the sort of games that make you nervous in case the players relax too much, but we stayed focused and did what we had to. When we meet the tougher teams like Newcastle and Plymouth we will need to pick off those games too.”
Richie Gordon was typically modest about his outstanding personal performance, saying:
“I just wanted to come into the game and play solidly, and bring to the table what I can.”
Fernandez with 14 points, and Prezzie-Blue and Freeman with 13 points apiece, supported the scoring power of Gordon. Forward Mario Flaherty top-scored for Durham with 20 points.
Wolves will again be at the University of Worcester next Saturday when they meet the mid-table Cheshire Jets (tip off 7pm).