s.Oliver Würzburg remains within striking distance in the race for a playoff spot. Displaying a dominance from start to finish, the club from Lower Franconia captured its widest win of the season – 72:45 – against Basketball Lions Braunschweig on the 28th matchday of the easyCredit German Basketball League. All ten Würzburg players got on the score sheet in the first half, with Owen Klassen, E.J. Singler and Maurice Stuckey getting into double digits and standing out in a fine all-round team performance.
“How the team has coped with the loss of Robin and Kreso is testimony to its incredible morale and great character. A performance like last week in Berlin and the way we played today is something special in such a tough situation,” stressed Head Coach Dirk Bauermann after the tenth home win of the season. 3,017 spectators in the s.Oliver Arena saw what was almost a start-to-finish win by the home side. Although the visitors from Lower Saxony got off to the slightly better start, Vytenis Lipkevicius and Abdul Gaddy turned the game around with two lay-ups to make it 9:8 in the 5th minute – the first and also last time the lead changed hands.
Up to the end of the period, Braunschweig was able to add a meager four more points to its tally of eight from the first four minutes: Only Scott Eatherton was twice able to find a way through Würzburg’s defense, which was very intense from the tip-off. Braunschweig’s top scorer chalked up nine of his 15 points in the first period, but was not able to prevent the encounter from being as good as decided early on: A 17:2 run by the home side between the fourth and eighth minute brought up the first double-digit lead (after a bucket from downtown by Clifford Hammonds), which s.Oliver Würzburg extended to 25:12 by the end of the first quarter.
The Lions put up stiffer resistance in the second period and were able to cut the deficit to below ten on a number of occasions, for the last time with a three by Nemanja Jaramaz (35:28 in the 18th minute). However, the final spell of the first half again belonged to the home side. New signing Kameron Taylor notched up two of his eight points with a jump shot, Cliff Hammonds followed that up with his second bucket from beyond the arc, and Felix Hoffmann made himself the tenth Würzburg player to get on the score sheet before the break after driving to the basket forcefully to make it 42:28 at half-time.
Maurice Stuckey added four more points at the start of the second half. The run of 11 points without reply straddling the periods put the home side 46:28 in front after 21 minutes. The visitors did not give up and again put up stiff resistance. With the score at 46:38 in the 24th minute, Dirk Bauermann halted the Lions’ 10:0 run by calling a timeout. The story of the remaining 16 minutes is relatively short: Würzburg only conceded seven more points up to the final buzzer and tamed the Lions with its performance in defense.
Würzburg’s strong final spell was initiated by Leon Kratzer. The 21-year-old neatly blocked Scott Eatherton as he attempted a slam-dunk to spark an 18:2 run for his side. With the score standing at 64:40 in the 33rd minute, it was clear once and for all that the home side would win by a clear margin. “All in all, it was a very strong performance and a good evening for us. I hope we keep that up,” said Dirk Bauermann. The only bitter pill in his view was the 17 turnovers his team conceded: “We can’t afford that in Oldenburg next Saturday.”