Basketball
Impressive Wolves clinch Sharks win

By Nigel Slater 24/04 Updated: 25/04 13:59

WORCESTER Wolves' BBL Championship title hopes were boosted after an impressive win against Sheffield Sharks.

Title chasing Wolves scored 60 points in a brilliant second half performance at the University of Worcester to complete a 95-80 win which saw them close the gap on BBL leaders Newcastle Eagles to just four points.

Saturday's win was Wolves seventh straight league victory and by reaching 38 points they secured a top four finish in this year's BBL Championship.

The match got off to a low-scoring start and it was the visitors who made the brighter opening when Jimmy Langhurst scored five straight points to give the Sharks a 14-9 lead. But Wolves got back into it deep in the first quarter with two-pointers from Tommy Freeman and Alex Zimnickas as the home side trailed by just a single point at the end of the first period.

The second quarter continued in the same vein with neither team able to establish a clear advantage. David Watts came off the bench and scored seven points to give Worcester the lead before Langhurst turned the tide back with the visitors as they enjoyed a slender 38-35 lead at half time.

But Wolves in the second half showed their class with a stunning display. Freeman opened the scoring in the third quarter with a three-pointer which sparked the American to find his top form once again. He then netted two more shots from distance to help Wolves gain a six-point lead at 62-56 ahead of the final period.

Sheffield threatened a comeback when Ryan Patton hit a three pointer at the start of the fourth quarter to reduce the deficit to just three points. But this was the closest they came to Wolves as a burst of scoring from Freeman and Sherrad Prezzie-Blue put the hosts in control.

Sharks' player-coach Atiba Lyons called a time-out to try and break Wolves' rhythm but this backfired as Arnas Kazlauskas hit consecutive baskets to put the home side clear and ensure another league win.

After the game Wolves head coach Paul James admitted a few words were said at half time to rally his side into action.

"I wasn't happy with the way we played in the first half," he said. "A few words were said during the break and the players responded well and won a tough game in the end."

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