Trailing by three points after the first-leg and down by as many as 15 in the tie, a spectacular last ten minutes turned the game on its’ head, as Heat eventually won 76-70 to prevail 154-151 on aggregate, in a gripping quarter-final match-up.
It wasn’t only their terrific 29-13 fourth quarter which they had to thank for their success, but also a number of pivotal contributions and not least from brothers Chavis and Travis Holmes.
They combined for 35 points, seven steals and six assists to bring the Wolves’ season to a halt.
Heat will now join Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders in the semi-finals.
In the other game on Sunday night, it was advantage Marjon Plymouth Raiders as they claimed a precious 82-71 road win at the Emirates Arena against Glasgow Rocks.
They face the Rocks in the second-leg on Monday at the Pavilions in an excellent position, thanks mainly to a superb double-double of 24 points and 14 rebounds by Andreas Schreiber and a 12-2 finish to the contest as they capitalised on serious foul trouble for the hosts.
BBL Championship Playoff Quarter-Final, Second Leg
Surrey Heat 76 (13, 24, 47) (Cricelli 22, Holmes C 19, Holmes T 16)
Worcester Wolves 70 (10, 34, 57) (Owumi 18, Prezzie-Blue 14, Ocitti 11, Williams 11)
(Surrey wins 154-151 on aggregate)
A devastating late surge and fight back by Surrey Heat helped them into the BBL Playoff semi-finals, after they claimed a super 76-70 second leg victory against Worcester Wolves to overturn a three point first leg-deficit.
After losing 81-78 and going down by double-digits on the night during the second leg, it looked as if the season was over for the Heat, but they rallied with a stunning 29-13 final quarter to seal their place in the last four of the competition.
There was little between the teams in a tight opening at 7-7 after a triple from Wolves’ danger man Alex Owumi. Then with respective defences on top, only the home side managed a score during a near four minute drought for the visitors, who found themselves 13-10 behind after ten minutes.
It was a different story when they finally began to get into their stride and in fact, the second quarter became a real shoot out with a flurry of threes as Caylin Raftopoulos converted from distance for Heat, either side of triples from Owumi and Stan Ocitti to ensure the scores were locked at 16-16.
The Wolves then made what looked to be a game-winning move, picking up the intensity with a 10-4 run and when Kai Williams also sunk a three-pointer to give them a double-digit lead on the night at 34-24 by half-time, it looked like a long way back for the slightly subdued home side.
But, they had to weather a Heat storm when the game resumed after Creon Raftopoulos (pictured) fired up his team in the locker room. They responded with a barnstorming opening which made it a one-shot game at 41-39 to Wolves after a pair of free-throws from Chavis Holmes.
However, Wolves put their foot back on the accelerator with eight unanswered points and by the end of the third quarter, had re-established their double-figure lead at 57-47.
Heat needed to respond with another strong run and duly obliged with a sensational 19-4 start to come alive and grab the initiative with both hands.
Free-throws by Cricelli brought Heat level on the night and then into the lead at 61-60 to put the Wolves on the ropes. Then, when the same player made it 66-61 to give them the lead in the tie, the visitors were reeling.
In a tense finale, Heat continued their new-found momentum right up until the final buzzer. Although nerves were shredded when Wolves kept their prospect alive at 74-70 behind with a handful of seconds left, the ice-cool Travis Holmes did the business from the free-throw line to cement a fabulous victory for Creon Raftopoulos and his team.
Holmes had another excellent game with an all-action 16 points, four assists and three steals, whilst Stan Ocitti had a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds for the losing team.
Story – BBL
Photo – Holmes – Surrey Heat
Photo – Calin – Surrey Life
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