Paul James was a happy man on Sunday evening as his short-handed Worcester Wolves put in a great team performance to win 87-72 at Manchester Giants, and move up to second place in the BBL Championship.
Having released a player earlier this month, the Wolves were also without the injured Javier Mugica, but their rotation, led by 20 points apiece from Disraeli Lufadeju and Pavol Losonsky, proved too strong for the Giants.
“I think it was one of those games where you are on the road and you’re playing a Manchester side who score in bunches and have a crowd who really get into the game,” said the Wolves’ coach.
“I thought we did a great job of taking the crowd out of it, building a pretty comfortable lead.”
James was impressed by the work rate of his players throughout the contest.
“It was a real team effort and right now that’s what we have to be all about,” he added.
“Before we’ve been quite individualistic, but today was probably our best team performance. We were good defensively, shared the ball offensively and I’m really delighted with the win.”
The Wolves find themselves six points behind leaders Newcastle Eagles, who increased their lead thanks to a pair of road wins.
Andy Thomson led the way with 19 points and nine rebounds on Saturday as the Eagles won 84-71 at Bristol Flyers, and he followed that up with 18 points in a nail-biting 99-93 victory at Plymouth Raiders.
The star of the game was veteran Eagles’ forward Charles Smith who poured in 33 points for the highest individual score of the weekend.
Cheshire Phoenix could have finished the weekend in second but came unstuck 78-76 at home to Glasgow Rocks on Sunday. Cheshire’s Akeem Ellis led all scorers with 26 points but the Rocks, behind 22 points apiece from Will Hall and Marcus Ware, were able to hold on for the win.
It meant the Rocks split the weekend after Saturday’s 64-60 defeat at Leicester Riders. The Rocks pushed the Riders all the way, even leading for stretches of the game. Tyler Bernardini, who led the Riders with 14 points, hit the decisive three-pointer with 18 seconds remaining.
Last Thursday’s trip to the capital proved a successful one for the Bristol Flyers, who finally got into the win column thanks to a 76-64 victory at London Lions.
Behind 25 points from Cardell McFarland, the Flyers turned the game around in the second half as they outscored the Lions 44-27.
Finally, Leeds Force were able to notch up their second straight win thanks to a 75-69 victory over Surrey Scorchers.
Captain Armand Anebo made a welcome return to the Leeds line-up after missing the start of the season due to injury, but it was another debutant who stole the show.
D’Andre Bullard impressed in his first game with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Louis Sayers also chipped in with 17 points, as the Force overcame a game-high 26 points from Surrey’s Tayo Ogedengbe.