By Nigel Slater Saturday 09 February 2013 Updated: 10/02 18:38
WORCESTER Wolves reached the semi-finals of the BBL Trophy after a brilliant victory saw them knock out the reigning champions Newcastle Eagles.
In arguably their finest win of the season, Wolves booked a two-legged semi-final clash against the Leicester Riders after beating the country's top team 94-88 on their home court.
A tightly contested quarter-final was decided in the final moments of the match when Newcastle's Kareem Maddox was sent to the bench after committing his fifth foul of the contest which allowed Wolves to get some vital points at the matches' most critical stage.
Neither side able to settle and take control early on. But it was Wolves, who were boosted with the return of Sherrad Prezzie-Blue from a knee injury, held a 23-20 at the end of the first quarter after the American and Arturas Masiulis hit their strides with early baskets.
The second quarter began with a triple from Joe Chapman and was quickly followed by another score from Maddox as the lead see-sawed between the sides.
Worcester fought back as Owumi produced a fine scoring burst to put the visitors back ahead. But it did not last long, as six late points from Newcastle restored their lead at half time.
Owumi and Masiulis helped fire Worcester back ahead at the start of the second half but the topsy turvy nature of the match continued as former Worcester guard Anthony Martin tallied five points to nudge the Eagles back in front.
When Maddox slotted home four free throws after consecutive fouls, Wolves faced their largest deficit of the evening at 48-55 with four minutes of the third quarter remaining. But Lithuanian Arnas Kazlauskas came to the rescue when he hit his first points of the evening and then quickly contributed a further five points to tie the teams at 61-61.
Wolves led again when Prezzie-Blue hit a three-pointer before he slotted in another basket after stealing possession. But Newcastle hit back and restricted Wolves’ lead to a single point.
With the game drawing to an exciting close the key incident came midway through the final quarter when Maddox was ordered to leave the court. And Wolves made full use of the extra space around the basket as scoring from Masiulis and Owumi gave the visitors a useful lead with four minutes left.
The home side refused to give in and nine successive points from Smith helped them back into contention trailing 84-82. But Wolves restored daylight to the score and clinched the win with baskets from Owumi and Carlos Fernandez.
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