Following a free weekend, Plymouth Raiders were unable to pick up a win on their travels to Worcester Wolves, losing 95 – 84.
Both teams were missing players who were away on international duty and Coach Gavin Love was forced to change his starting line-up due to recent departures and the arrival on new player Eric Eaves. Eaves was put straight into the starting line up alongside fellow countryman Tre Bowman, and English trio of Louis Sayers, Will Neighbour and captain Zac Wells. Wells won the tip for the Raiders and scored the first basket of the game. A Sayers steal prevented Worcester from shooting on their first offence and Neighbour found Bowman to put Raiders four up from their first two possessions. The visitors held the lead until half way through the opening period when Worcester edged ahead 12 – 11. A 10 – 2 run for the Raiders saw them regain the lead before the Wolves closed the gap to three at the end of the quarter 20 – 23.
Wolves started the second quarter strong with a 13 – 2 run to put them up by eight but the Raiders fought back to tie the game at 36 each with four minutes remaining. Nine offences for the Raiders to close the half out saw them miss eight shots and turn the ball over once whereas the Wolves scored on four of their eight offences giving them a 46 – 36 half time lead.
A free throw to the Wolves started the second half following a technical foul to coach Gavin Love before they were awarded the ball from the half court line to start the clock. Five three pointers from the home side could not be matched by the visitors and the home side stretched their lead to 22 points with four and a half minutes remaining. The Raiders closed the gap to 16, but Worcester hit two free throws at the end of the quarter to hold a healthy 73 – 55 lead with 10 minutes to play.
Seven points from the Raiders to open the quarter saw the gap close to 11 before the Wolves responded with three three-pointers to push the lead back to 20. Raiders did rally closing the gap to 85 – 76 with 3:45 remaining on the clock but the gap was too big and both sides traded baskets to close out the game with the Wolves picking up the win.
In what was a fairly even performance from both sides in terms of match statistics, it was the Wolves three point shooting that hurt the Raiders. Worcester were successful making 19 of their 45 attempts from beyond the arc shooting 42%. The Raiders also made 42% but shot 24 less than the home side connecting with 9.
It was captain Zac Wells who led the Raiders scoring with 24 along with 8 rebounds. He was supported by Sayers who had 20 including four three-pointers and guard Denzel Ubiaro who scored 13 off the bench. Worcester’s George Beamon returned from injury to lead the game in scoring with 34 points.
Raiders now have a quick turnaround with a game on Sunday at home against Bristol Flyers. The Flyers have already defeated Raiders twice in the league this season but the home side will be looking to at least match their 84 – 80 victory over the Flyers at the Pavilions in December where they knock Bristol out of the BBL Trophy. Tickets are selling fast with only a few remaining so book now through www.ticketstore.co.uk to avoid disappointment.Game Stats