Basketball: Tuck says Wolves clash is ‘must win’ for Sharks

Sharks captain Mike Tuck. Pic: Dean Woolley.
Sharks captain Mike Tuck. Pic: Dean Woolley.
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Sharks captain Mike Tuck is under no illusions how important tonight’s match (7.30pm) at the EIS against Worcester Wolves is.

Sheffield have had an average start to their BBL Championship campaign with three wins and four defeats from their opening seven games.

A 10th place position wasn’t the start to the season they were looking for after narrowly missing out on the title last year.

And with league favourites Newcastle Eagles already holding the head-to-head record between the two teams the Sharks can afford hardly any slip ups the rest of the way.

“This is definitely a must-win game for us,” said Tuck.

“We’ve lost a couple games that we shouldn’t have so it’s time for us to turn the corner and get back to winning ways.”

While it’s too soon for Sharks to panic, with a BBL Cup semi-final first-leg tie against the Eagles next week, Tuck is aware that there’s more than just the two points to play for tonight.

“A win against Wolves will help us get our confidence back and give us some momentum going into the BBL Cup semi-final,” he said.

“It’s a long season and there is still a lot to play for.”

Sharks have performed well at times, particularly at home, but have struggled on the road with surprise defeats at Manchester Giants and Bristol Flyers.

Tuck knows it won’t be easy against a Wolves side riding high in the table and in the midst of a five-game winning streak in the Championship.

“Paul James always has Wolves playing good, team basketball so we’re going to have to slow down their main scoring threats,” he said.

“(We need to) make Chavis Holmes and Alex Owumi take tough shots while keeping Remi Dibo and Robert Thurman off the glass.”

The Sharks haven’t played since back-to-back losses against Newcastle and Bristol a fortnight ago.

Wolves coach Paul James said: “Sharks are tough and last year we went up there and got beat by 20. On the other hand we have been up there and beat them by 20.”