BBL Championship Worcester Wolves 99 (23,45,71) (Holmes 24, Thurman 21, Guede 18) Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 91 (16,34,66) (Defoe 20, Smith 18, Thomson 15)

Worcester Wolves have shown their BBL Championship credentials by withstanding a late fight back to beat the league-leading Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 99-91. Wolves have inflicted a first defeat in 20 games on Eagles, dating back to the team’s last meeting on the opening night of the season – crucially, it means Wolves have the head-to-head in the title race.

Chavis Holmes scored 24 points and dished out seven assists to lead Wolves to their fourth straight win, and only their second home win against Eagles in the last four years.

And Worcester led for all but one minute of this game, after racing into a 10-2 lead in three minutes as Jamal Williams opened with a pair of three-pointers. The Eagles came back, but Frenchman Remi Dibo hit a late triple of his own to give Wolves a 23-16 first quarter lead.

Alex Owumi gave them a double-digit lead with a three-pointer to open the second stanza, only for Eagles to come back once more, scoring the next nine to narrow the gap to a single point. But the double-digit margin was reinstated before the half time break as the Wolves scored the last six points, Owumi making 3/3 at the line and Paul Guede hitting a buzzer-beating three.

And the hosts initially maintained that margin, with Robert Thurman dunking home to see the lead peak at 63-48 with four minutes to play in the third. But Rahmon Fletcher’s buzzer-beating score sent the Eagles into the fourth just five points in arrears, before their late comeback. A triple from Drew Lasker set the tone, as they headed into the last five minutes just one point down, before Charles Smith tied the game at 81 with a trey of his own. Fletcher made the next score and the Eagles briefly held the lead at 81-83.

But the game finished as it started, with Jamal Williams making a crucial three-pointer to put the Wolves back in front inside the last three minutes. Holmes added to that, but Andy Thomson’s late triple kept the Eagles within one, only for Guede and Holmes to see the game out from the line.