Plymouth Raiders mauled by Wolves in trophy tie
Worcester Wolves...90 UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders....77
PLYMOUTH Raiders crashed out of the BBL Trophy at the first round stage last night when they were comfortably beaten by Worcester Wolves.
Last season's runners-up Raiders, again without the inspirational Jeremy Bell, had gone into the final quarter at Worcester University level at 56-56 with Paul James' side.
But, despite a brilliant performance by Javarris Barnett, Raiders could not hang on in the last 10 minutes as the home side upped their game.
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Barnett certainly did not deserve to be a losing team.
He led all scorers to finish with 24 points, including six three-pointers, and in addition made three assists and five rebounds. Colin O'Reilly, also on form from distance, was the Raiders' next best scorer on the night with 13.
Raiders made a great start to the winner-takes-all tie with Barnett hitting a three-pointer to get them underway.
Gavin Love's side twice opened up a five-point gap in the first quarter but the home team pegged them back with nine unanswered points to go 19-15 in front.
However, Raiders finished the period just two behind thanks to a couple of free-throws from Matt Schneck.
Raiders made a sensational start to the second quarter with Barnett and Colin O'Reilly both hitter three-pointers as the visitors went 25-21 in front.
But, like they had done in the opening period, Wolves hit back and the match was tied at 27-27 with three minutes of the quarter to go.
Lasker and Williams edged Raiders 31-27 ahead, but the home side responded with American Sherrad Prezzie-Blue getting them going again with two three-pointers and a steal.
Prezzie-Blue's influence was enough for Worcester to take a 36-34 half-time lead.
The first two quarters had seen Wolves well and truly win the battle inside, with 26 points in the paint compared to the Raiders' 6.
After slow starts in the opening couple of periods, Worcester scored first in the third through Arturas Masiulis. They went on to go six points in front before Raiders pegged them back with Barnett hitting five points, including another three pointer.
And halfway through the period, Raiders, led by Barnett and O'Reilly, had levelled the match at 43-43 before Schneck edged them in front.
Barnett was certainly on form from long-range, as he hit another three pointer to make it 48-45 to Raiders.
But, just like in the other quarters, Worcester, with Arnas Kazlauskas inspiring them, responded and they went 55-51 up.
However, in a thrilling match, Raiders finished the quarter strongly and levelled the tie at 56-56.
Decisively, Wolves took a six-point lead early in the final period before Raiders coach Love called a time-out.
The break seemed to work in Raiders' favour and Barnett hit five more points, including yet another three-pointer, to cut Worcester's lead in half.
But home coach James stopped Raiders' momentum by calling his own time-out and when play resumed his side went 73-65 in front.
Drew Lasker did his best to get Plymouth back into it, but Worcester would not let them and they went 77-68 up with just over two minutes to go.
Barnett, who was on fire from distance, shot another three as Raiders cut the gap to six points.
Raiders got to within five but Wolves would not let them get any closer and the home side finished strongly to win by 13.
Worcester will now face either reigning champions Newcastle or Durham in the quarter-finals.
Leading scorers: Worcester: Masiulis 22, Owumi 21, Ocitti 19; Raiders: Barnett 24, O'Reilly 13, Schneck 12
Rebounds: Worcester: Ocitti 11, Masiulis 10, Kazlauskas 6; Raiders: Schneck 6, Lasker, Barnett, Ojo 5
Assists: Worceter: Owumi, Fernandez 4, Prezzie-Blue 3; Raiders: Barnett, Schneck, Lasker 3
Steals: Worcester: Owumi 2; Raiders: Lasker 3, Schneck 2.