Two strong quarters were not enough to defeat the leaders in the easyCredit German Basketball League for the second time this season. In front of 3,140 spectators in the sold-out s.Oliver Arena on Friday evening, s.Oliver Würzburg succumbed to FC Bayern Munich by the margin of 74:80. The visitors from Bavaria’s capital got off to the better start in both halves, but although the home side fought back each time, it was not able to prevent Munich from capturing a start-to-finish win. The top scorers in the game were Jared Cunningham (19 points) for FC Bayern and Robin Benzing (18) for Würzburg.
From the outset, it was visible from the attitude of the league leaders that they wanted to exact revenge for the earlier defeat, when s.Oliver Würzburg won 84:78 in the Audi Dome in a game that it had virtually written off. Only Munich produced successful actions in offense in the opening minutes of the game, with the result that the home side trailed from the outset forced. It was not until almost three minutes had elapsed that Robin Benzing got his side off the mark with points from the foul line (2:7).
The club from Lower Franconia also had difficulties in the further course of the first period, and drained just two shots from the floor, while adding nine points through free throws. As a result, Bayern Munich was able to open up a double-digit gap for the first time as early as the 8th minute, although the home side reduced it to 14:23 by the end of the period. Bayern’s lead even increased to 16 points at the start of the second quarter, before Maurice Stuckey drained two buckets from downtown to fire up the crowd in Würzburg’s cauldron for the first time and sparked a 15:2 run to slash the gap to 35:38.
However, Bayern turned on the pressure at the beginning of the second half. Whereas little went right for Würzburg in attack in the next few minutes, the visitors’ Devin Booker, who had been inconspicuous in the first half, got into his stride more and more and was able to add two slam-dunks. A run of 10 points without reply by the league leaders to make it 37:50 was brought to an end when Robin Benzing chalked up his side’s first points in the second half in the 24th minute. Munich struck back with an 11:2 spurt and was ahead by 20 points for the first time in the 29th minute. “We were too cautious at the start of each half and didn’t play with enough confidence in attack. Our poor tally in the third quarter haul cost us the game,” said Head Coach Dirk Bauermann afterwards.
Yet his team’s morale remained intact after Bayern had taken its highest lead at the start of the fourth period. However, the second comeback came a little too late. After Bauermann called a timeout in the 35th minute with the score at 54:72, his players summoned up everything they had and fought back again with great vigor. Two threes by E.J. Singler and Robin Benzing even meant the home side was able to cut the deficit to 74:79 in the final minute. However, it failed to score on the next attack and the encounter ended with a 74:80 victory for the visitors.