HULL Wasps gave undefeated NBL Division Four champions Huddersfield Heat their toughest game of the season, but came up short 96-84 last night.
Huddersfield were again led by the incredible shooting talents of Jason Swaine, who scored 42 points for the hosts.
But it was the visitors who led at half-time 46-45 in an end-to-end encounter.
And the Wasps trailed by just a single point well into the final quarter until the pivotal moment of the game.
Forward Rob Birchmore, who had performed immensely in restricting Swaine’s offensive output to 23 so late in the game, was called for a foul on the former Sheffield Sharks guard, despite receiving what looked like a clear offensive foul.
His brief remonstration with the referee at the apparent elbow earned him a harsh technical foul, his fifth personal, forcing him to leave the game.
Swaine hit all four free-throws the men in grey had gifted him. And, without the tough Scot as his shadow, he proceeded to swish three three-pointers in quick succession to leave the visitors suddenly staring down an eight-point deficit.
It was part of a run that saw him score the Heat’s final 19 points after that turning point, allowing his title-winners to coast to a comfortable-looking victory that, in reality, was anything but.
Captain Jamie Goodwin led the visitors with 22 points, 15 coming in the second quarter, and shooting guard Adrian Blatherwick hit 21, including five three-pointers.
It was the Wasps’ final game of the season and left them needing second-placed Bury to beat Team Durham by 23 or more for Hull to fifth in Division Four.
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