Big Battle Gives Wasps Home Win
Hull Wasps overcame a physical Newcastle-under-Lyme Knights side on Saturday night to win 76-65 in front of their home crowd. In a thoroughly entertaining game, Wasps took on former NBA and Harlem Globetrotter Shawn Jamison's side for the first time ever.
Missing the dynamic Ben Burns, the Wasps were boosted by James Rayner and Miles Anderson both being available for their home debuts this season.
Tipping off in front of a noisy home crowd of 150 basketball fans, Newcastle Knights had the better of the early exchanges as they led 13-6 before Jimmy Coulson exploded for 10 straight points including three 3-pointers, one of which swished as the buzzer sounded for the end of the quarter. Score 18-18.
Into the second quarter and both teams went on runs, first James Rayner inspired the Wasps with 6 straight points to take the lead 24-22, before Knights reacted with a 9-4 run of their own to turn things around and lead 33-28. Another 3-pointer from the experienced Coulson and one from Blatherwick reduced the gap to 1 at half time. Score 37-36.
The Wasps' defence had done a great job restricting the Knight's big men Jamison and Rushton to just 8 first half points as they gave up plenty of height to the 6'9" pair. Only Oyedrian was giving the Wasps problems with 13 personal but he was ably matched by Coulson with 13 points of his own.
Both teams used intense defence in the third quarter to stifle any offensive fluidity. Firstly the Knights held the Wasps to just 2 points in the first 5 minutes, building a 9-point lead in the process. Calling a time-out, Coach Fawcett switched things up, giving his bench minutes. They duly responded, holding their opponents scoreless for six minutes. All five players on the court contributed points to close the gap back to 3 going into the final quarter. Score 50-47.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Wasps and Aidy Blatherwick in particular as he found his range to score 14 points including 4 straight 3's to turn a 3 point defecit into an 8 point lead. Wasps continued to play tough D forcing the Knights to commit fouls to stop the clock, in doing so fouling out the dangerous Laz Thompson and Oyedrian who finished with 17 points. Matt Brutnell kept his cool at the free throw line scoring a perfect 6 from 6 to seal an excellent victory. Final score 76-65.
Aidy Blatherwick's fourth quarter heroics, which changed the game, earned him MVP honours. Matt Brutnell again impressed with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 5 steals whilst inspirational captain John Kelsey had an excellent game with 8 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 steals and a block to go with his 4 points.
Coach Fawcett was overjoyed with the hard fought win. "...we really needed that win tonight. It was very tough and we had to work really hard but it paid off in the end."
Scorers; Brutnell 20, Blatherwick 17, Coulson 15, Rayner 10, Kelsey 4, Anderson 3,Rymer 2 , Wilson 2, Hewson 2, Brough 1
The next match is Saturday 10th November, an away game v Stockport Spartans.