BBL Trophy, Quarter-Final
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 73 (20,40,60) (Defoe 22, Smith 17, Gause 11)
Worcester Wolves 86 (30,47,56) (Taylor 24, J. Williams 23, Creekmore 17)
Worcester Wolves have made the BBL Trophy Semi Finals after overcoming Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 73-86 in the North East. The Wolves are the first team to beat the Eagles at Sports Central since October, a run of 11 games since their last defeat, which was also at the hands of Paul James’s side.
The Wolves are on a run of 13 straight wins, and this one was inspired by Zaire Taylor , with 24 points and 8 rebounds, supported by 23 points from Jamal Williams, who hit four three-pointers and won the game late on.
The Wolves led for much of the first half after Kalil Irving’s three-pointer got them going and he and Taylor scored six each as the backcourt combined for all of their points in the first six minutes. From there the Williams brothers came alive to give the Wolves a 20-30 lead at the end of the first quarter, with Kai hitting two three-pointers on his way to eight points, and Jamal adding five. The Eagles made it a one possession game early in the second stanza, behind Darius Defoe and Charles Smith, but Taylor was there again before the half was done with five consecutive points to maintain the visitors’ margin at 40-47 at the break.
But the pendulum was swinging drastically in the second half. The Eagles, who have won the Trophy three times in the last five years, stormed back and surged into the lead with a 13-3 start, including a four minute scoreless spell for the visitors, as Defoe and Drew Lasker scored four each with the latter putting them in front at 53-50. A Jamal Williams three-pointer halted that run, but Malik Cooke responded with four points in a row to see the Eagles lead 60-56 heading into the final ten minutes.
But the tables were turned once more, and decisively, as the Wolves put another 30 points on the board in the fourth quarter. They won the game as they scored the first 16 points of the period in an amazing four minute spell that included 11 points and three triples for Jamal Williams. The score had reached 60-72 in a flash and there was no way back for the hosts.