Division 1 Men vs Team Newcastle: Game Preview

Wolves' men wrap up their Division One programme with a home game against Team Newcastle on Sunday afternoon, tip-off 3pm.


Thomas Baker's team go into the game knowing they need to win if they are to stand a chance of moving up to 12th place in the final table - and they'd need Leicester Warriors to lose their final two games at Loughborough and Solent.


It's a chance for quickfire revenge for the young Wolves team as they went down 96-76 when they travelled to the north east last week. The loss of influential guard/forward AJ Roberts with a back injury after just five minutes gave them an uphill battle and they'll be hoping that the experienced American returns this weekend.


Last week saw Jordan Santiago lead the visitors' scoring with 22 points, adding five rebounds, three steals and as many assists, while Kane Daley had 19 points, four rebounds and three assists. Ahmed Ketiri had ten of his 14 points in the first half, adding seven rebounds, while James Cummings chipped in with nine points as he continued his return from injury.


Ronald Blain again led Newcastle, finishing with a 29 point, ten rebound double and adding five assists while Jack Cork and Brandon Federici each had 23 points - the former adding ten rebounds - and David Moya had nine points to go with his 11 assists.


Newcastle go into the game sitting fifth with an 11-6 record and will need to win both of their final two games to get home court advantage in the expanded play-offs which will see all 14 top flight teams in action.


Baker had praise for everyone involved in ensuring Division One basketball happened despite the massive problems caused by Covid-19: "So here we are, the end of the regular season and what a strange year it has been" he said. "I'd be lying if I said I thought we would have played as many games as we have but I am proud of everyone involved at BE, opposition clubs and of course those involved here at Oaklands that have worked tirelessly to ensure games have been played.


"For us, we have had a tough year in terms of remaining competitive but an intriguing one in terms of building a philosophy and a programme for the future. We are looking to have a strong performance in our last home game of the season before the play-offs begin.


The game sees two of the top five Division One scorers in action, with Santiago sitting fourth in the standings with 23 points per game and Blain averaging 22.3. Santiago adds 4.5 assists and 3.1 steals, while Blain pulls down 8.4 rebounds a game and adds 1.6 steals for Mark Elderkin's side.


Moya dishes out 6.1 assists and grabs 2 steals, while Wolves' guard AJ Roberts is leading the league with 1.4 blocks per game, adding 9.2 boards and 13.5 points despite last week's brief appearance. Youngster Daley averages 14.9 points, shooting 31.9 percent from outside the arc.

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