by Vlad Ionasc
The Nix will look to bounce back from their North-West Derby loss when they’ll meet the Worcester Wolves for the first time in the 2020/21 season.
The Wolves have picked up just one win in their last four games and are 3-3 at home in all competitions.
Matt Newby’s men exited the BBL Cup in the Group Stage and are currently 2-4 in the regular season.
The two sides last met on the 10th of January 2020, with the Wolves coming away victorious, 79-65.
Date: Friday 15th January, 2021
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
Competition: BBL Championship
Where: University of Worcester Arena
WOLVES SCOUTING REPORT
Newby lost the services of Julius Van Sauers, Cortez Edwards, Amir Williams, Raheem May-Thompson, Mark Hughes and Kofi Josephs over the summer.
The Wolves retained Maarten Bouwknecht and Jordan Williams and they also added Mike Parks, Brandon Anderson, Lamar Kimble, Josh McSwiggan, Micah Elan, KJ Lawson, Kingsley Nwagboso and Henry Wilkins during the off-season.
Newby will be without former GB international Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who played his last game for the Wolves on the 8th of January against the Glasgow Rocks.
Bouwknecht leads all Worcester scorers with 17.6 points-per-game and also averages the most assists, 5.6 per contest. The Dutchman is shooting 44.4% from deep.
Elan can also punish teams from three-point territory with his 44.4% conversion rate on 4.5 attempts-per-game.
Williams is Worcester’s ‘do-it-all’ piece. The British forward is averaging 12.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4 assists per game.
As a team, the Wolves are shooting just 41.1% from the field, but Newby’s side is slightly more accurate (32.5%) from three-point land than Thomas’ team (30.2%).
Worcester Wolves: Maarten Bouwknecht — The Dutch floor-general has shown his worth this season as he currently leads his team in points and assists. He also ranks 8th in steals, league-wide. Bouwknecht has been praised for his basketball IQ and performance in the clutch. He will have to outplay his direct opponent — Kahron Ross — for the Wolves to have the best chance of winning.
Cheshire Phoenix: Kahron Ross — Phoenix’s point-guard will be presented with a tough test against Worcester’s Bouwknecht. Ross averages 18.1 points and 6.9 assists per game on 47/41/85 shooting splits. Despite tallying 13 assists (0 turnovers) and five steals against the Giants, he was restricted to just 13 points on 5-13 FG (1-4 3PT) so he must improve his scoring output and efficiency tonight.
Ben Thomas: “We were not happy with our performance last Friday and we need to show a better account of ourselves.
“Tonight will be a challenge! Worcester have some really talented players and have a lot of depth! But we can win and that’s what we have to do!”
NEXT HOME GAME
The Nix are next in action at the EPSV against the Surrey Scorchers, on the 17th of January, 5 p.m. tip-off.