Davie: Let's use BBL Trophy as a yardstick of Wildcats' progress

The Northern Echo: CONFIDENT: Lee Davie CONFIDENT: Lee Davie

DURHAM WILDCATS turn their attentions to the British Basketball League Trophy - with coach Lee Davie hoping to use the tournament to show how much progress his side have made.

Wildcats have failed to progress from the Trophy in their first two seasons in the BBL, but have targeted Saturday's game against Plymouth University Raiders as an ideal opportunity to change that.

Davies side were well-beaten by league leaders Worcester Wolves last weekend, but Davie hopes his side can bounce back in the best possible fashion at Plymouth Pavilions.

"Getting out of the first round of the Trophy would be an indication of our improvements as a franchise over the last three years as it is something we have not done in previous years,” said Davies, whose side lost 90-66 on Saturday.

"It's a one-and-done competition where anything can happen. We feel like we can play with everyone in this league, so if we turn up and give the performance needed on the day then we can keep advancing."

Raiders made it to the semi-final of the BBL Cup before succumbing to eventual winners Leicester Riders, who beat Newcastle Eagles on Sunday.

But with Saturday's BBL Trophy first round tie at home against Wildcats, comes a fresh opportunity to challenge for honours - and also boost their league campaign.

"We are excited about the Trophy, it's another chance for us to show what we can do," said Marriott.

"I think it is important that we push for every honour we can and good performances can lead to good form in the league.

"Durham are a very dangerous team," Marriott added. "They are very intelligent and can knock down the three ball.

"I thought the last time we played they made great adjustments and put us on the back foot. It will all be about re-asserting the running game and defensively becoming a tighter unit.

"This will be a very tough test for us and we must come in focused on the gameplan."

Last weekend, Wolves made it seven wins in a row, and have not lost at home for more than two months, after overcoming Wildcats 90-66. The win sees them extend their lead at the top of the BBL Championship, capitalising on the fact that second-placed Leicester Riders had no league game.

They have scored more than 90 points in all of those wins, and were led by Alex Owumi's 27 and Will Creekmore's 21 points and 14 rebounds.

It wasn't all one-way traffic as the Wildcats raced into a 7-2 lead with Danny Huffor scoring five points in a row, and they led for the first five minutes. Creekmore brought the Wolves back, scoring six in a row for his team, and they nudged into the lead at 12-11 themselves, before Kai Williams and, late in the quarter, Ralph Bucci exchanged three-pointers to see the teams tied at 19 after ten minutes.

But the hosts asserted themselves from the outset of the second stanza with an 11-2 start, another six points from Creekmore and Alex Owumi's triple contributing to that for a 30-21 lead. And they pushed on further from there, finishing the half with a 9-3 run as Owumi added another three-pointer, to lead 45-30 at the break. Creekmore (16) and Owumi (14) had two-thirds of their team's points by the half, with the Wolves shooting 64% (14/22) from within the arc; 14 of those points came from the Wildcats' nine turnovers.

That second quarter dominance proved decisive as the Wildcats rarely got closer in the second half. They had got to within 14 when Williams kept them at arm's length with another triple and Zaire Taylor kept the scoreboard ticking over. The Wolves finished with an 11-2 run, Taylor hitting four of those, to make the scoreline emphatic.

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