With a bucket from outside with 0.2 seconds on the clock, Kyan Anderson put the icing on the cake in the first-ever encounter between Science City Jena and medi bayreuth in the easyCredit German Basketball League. 2,620 spectators – including 200 medi fans who had made the journey – saw a thrilling game in which the club from Upper Franconia ran out winners by 79:76 (37:34). As expected, the Heroes Of Tomorrow did not find it easy going against the extremely experienced side from Thuringia. Nevertheless, the team of Head Coach Raoul Korner was in the lead for large stretches. When Jena summoned up all its experience at the end to close an eight-point gap and the game looked like it would go into overtime, the visitors kept their calm to secure their third win in a row.
Good start by Bayreuth
The home side put the first points on the board through Oliver Mackedanz, who took the place of the suspended center Kenneth Frease in the starting formation. medi bayreuth’s De’Mon Brooks was wide awake from the outset and it was the power forward who notched up all medi’s seven points in the first three minutes (7:5). Things also went well for the Heroes Of Tomorrow after that. Andreas Seiferth made what was already his fourth assist to help Nate Linhart stretch the gap to 14:7 in the 5th minute. medi remained on top and the first period ended 19:14.
The league’s top scorer Marcos Knight, who had not scored in the encounter up to that point, then stepped into the limelight in the second quarter. He cut the gap to one with two buckets, after which Jena even managed to snatch the lead: Julius Jenkins, who a little earlier had only been able to score one out of three free throws, drained a bucket from beyond the arc to make it 24:21 for Jena to the cheers of the crowd in the 13th minute. However, their jubilation did not last long: Assem Marei and Nate Linhart turned the game around again (28:24 in the 16th minute), forcing Jena to call a timeout. The visitors kept up the pressure in the following minutes, with Trey Lewis adding a three (35:29 in the 19th minute). Yet Jena did not give up and reduced the deficit again. The bucket from outside by Stephan Haukohl nine seconds before the break made it 37:34 at half-time.
Knight and Marei put their stamp on the game
The game remained open and fiercely contested after the break. The Heroes Of Tomorrow then proved that they have gelled together in the past weeks. Whatever Jena tried – medi had the right reply. As a result, the home side only led once, when Knight buried his free throws to make it 46:45 in the 25th minute. Whereas the deft point guard repeatedly made his mark, so too did Assem Marei for Bayreuth: with a slam-dunk (48:46 in the 26th minute) or a fine move to the basket (53:48 in the 28th minute). He also displayed a lot of oversight when he passed to captain Bastian Doreth, who made the score 56:50 with a three-pointer in the 29th minute. The final spell then belonged once more to the team of Head Coach Björn Harmsen, which was able to produce a 6:0 run and tie the scores again by the end of the period.
The home side took this momentum with it into the final period, where John Little scored his only points of the game with a three to make it 61:59 in the 33rd minute. However, De’Mon Brooks struck back right away from beyond the arc and Kyan Anderson also scored from downtown (65:61 in the 34th minute). Led on by Marcos Knight, who was bursting with enthusiasm, Jena summoned up everything it had again. Julius Jenkins cut Science City’s deficit to 68:69 in the 37th minute. medi was then a hive of activity in the Sparkassen Arena in the next 60 seconds. A run of 7 points without reply seemed to have sealed victory, but far from it: A bucket from outside by Julius Jenkins and free throws from Stephan Haukohl meant Jena trailed again by just three. It then tied the scores with 13 seconds to go, once again from the three-point line and through the most accurate player on the evening, Marcos Knight. However, medi had possession one more time and Nate Linhart did not feel in the mood for overtime. He passed to Kyan Anderson and shortly afterwards the team was feted by its 200 fans.