Basketball
Wolves' title hopes dashed after big defeat

By Nigel Slater 24/04 Updated: 25/04 13:58

WORCESTER Wolves' hopes of winning their first ever BBL Championship title were dealt a huge blow after suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of Leicester Riders.

A dramatic second half collapse saw Wolves' eight-match winning streak come to a disappointing end on Friday at the John Sandford Sports Centre as the Riders cruised to a comfortable 91-68 win - one of Wolves' biggest league defeats of the season.

And with leaders Newcastle Eagles beating MK Lions on the same night and stretching their lead to four points, the chances of Wolves lifting the title now appear to be very slim.

Wolves started the game the brighter of the two teams taking a 12-4 lead in the middle of the opening quarter.

But a series of turnovers was a sign of things to come as Leicester came back in to the game thanks to former Wolves player Barry Lamble. The sides were level 21-21 going into the second quarter.

Riders’ dangerous guard paring of Cameron Rundles and Bradd Wierzbicki hit long-range baskets in 9-2 run for the hosts at the start of the second quarter that pushed them ahead to 30-23.

Baskets from Tommy Freeman and David Watts helped to keep Wolves in contention but their scores were matched by replies from Rundles taking Leicester into a 49-40 interval lead.

And the home side gained further control in the second half when Wolves' scoring fell apart. Riders led 61-46 after a triple from Great Britain captain Andrew Sullivan, forcing a Worcester time out with four minutes left in the third period.

Wolves' Richie Gordon battled hard adding 13 points to the six he scored in the first half but aside from a solitary long range score from Prezzie-Blue, no other Wolves player was able to make any impact as shot after shot went awry.

And with a healthy 74-56 lead going into the final quarter, the Riders maintained their dominance and cruised to a thumping victory winning by a massive 23-point margin.

Wolves return to action on Good Friday when they face the long trip to Newcastle to play the title favourites in a must-win encounter.

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