- National Teams
University of Worcester continued their dominance of BUCS basketball with a 96-90 victory over Loughborough University in the Championship final on Wednesday evening at Surrey Sports Park, Guildford.
Going into the game 0-2 against Loughborough this season, Worcester were able to get the victory when it mattered, behind Will Creekmore’s 26 point MVP performance and Disraeli Lufadeju scoring 17 of his 22 in the second half.
“It’s quite incredible,” said Worcester Head Coach Paul James. “We didn’t have a great league season at all but we looked at some of the games we played and how we could beat these guys and we thought if we played a little zone that would throw them off a little bit. They’re a great team (Loughborough), very athletic and in the open floor they’re really good, so we thought we could slow them down with a zone and it worked.”
Unlike in recent years, Worcester featured a sole American in Creekmore, and sputtered through the regular season, finishing 5-5 in fourth place in the Premier North.
“I’m really proud of this bunch this year because realistically, Will Creekmore, ok is the star of the team, but the rest of them are guys who are on the fringes of the BBL team and they’ve done this by hard work so I’m really proud of what they’ve achieved this year,” added James. “We managed to find a way to win at the right time and I think that’s been the secret.”
“The young guys stepped up and played huge man,” said Creekmore, who had 16 of his 26 in the first half. “Disraeli Lufadeju and Caylin Raftopoulos hit huge shots. I had a slow second half but they did a good job of picking me back up.
“Anytime you win a championship it’s a good thing, I can’t complain about that.”
It was Worcester’s eighth title in the past 11 years in the BUCS competition, but Loughborough, who were making their first finals appearance in 15 years, didn’t hand it to them on a plate.
Every time Worcester looked as if they were putting the game away, Loughborough would go on a run to bring it close. Worcester led by 8 after the opening quarter, and nine at the half, but it was Loughborough who opened up the third period in control, taking a 1 point lead in the opening 3 minutes.
However, Worcester replied, going on a run to take a ten point lead into the final period.
It was Will Maynard who kept Loughborough’s hopes alive in the fourth quarter, going off for 15 of his 26 points and hardly missing a shot. It wouldn’t be enough though as Worcester held their nerve, hitting big shot after big shot, including a Caylin Raftopoulos dagger three, and then sealing the win at the free throw line.
Jamell Anderson added 21 for Loughborough, whilst Caylin Raftopoulos finished with 16 and Daniel Belgrave 12 for Worcester.