Worcester Wolves 88 (24,40,62) (Owumi 25, Holmes 16, Guede 15)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 81 (23,38,59) (Smith 22, Thomson 16, Lasker 14)
In one of the games of the season, Worcester Wolves completed a sweep of Esh Group Eagles Newcastle, winning 88-81 for their third victory over their title rivals as they remain the only team to have beaten them all season. It’s Newcastle’s first defeat in 19 games, three months, and leaves the door to the BBL Championship title slightly ajar.
The game was tight throughout despite, after eight early lead changes, Kalil Irving’s put-back dunk and a Jamal Williams three-pointer sparking an 11-2 burst for the Wolves, for a 24-16 lead. Scott Martin hit back immediately with a triple, and that became seven in a row, for a score of 24-23 after ten minutes as Wolves didn’t score for two minutes.
And the teams could hardly be separated from thereon. Eagles, already missing Fab Flournoy and Andre Jones through injury, lost Rahmon Fletcher in the second quarter as he was taken to hospital after a heavy fall, but they emerged from that to tie the game at 27, and went into the break trailing 40-38.
Andy Thomson’s three-pointer and another Martin score gave Newcastle a 45-47 lead in the third quarter, but that was the only lead that they would see for some time as the hosts responded with a 12-2 burst, Alex Owumi hitting the first five of those for a 57-49 lead. That was the biggest lead of the game, but was trimmed by another Martin three-pointer, and one from Drew Lasker, and Eagles were back within striking distance at 62-59 heading into the last ten minutes.
Once in the fourth Owumi hit the first of his big shots down the stretch, a three-pointer giving Wolves a 71-65 edge. But Newcastle came storming back, and held a brief lead as a 9-2 run was capped by Lasker for a score of 77-79 with under a minute and a half to play.
But Owumi won the game soon after as, with 54 seconds to play, he found space to hit his fifth three-pointer of the game to snatch the lead back at 81-79, finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
It was nervous for the Wolves in the closing moments, as Chavis Holmes missed two free-throws; but he grabbed the rebound and hit his next two, before a double technical was called on the Newcastle bench and Owumi rounded the game off with four free-throws of his own.