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s.Oliver Würzburg defeats Medi Bayreuth, but still finishes behind Frankfurt

Würzburg, 2018-01-05

It was the sixth win out of the last seven games, but it still was not quite enough in the end. Despite another strong performance in the 82:68 home victory over Medi Bayreuth, the season in the easyCredit German Basketball League has ended for s.Oliver Würzburg on the 34th matchday. In order to advance to the quarter-finals at the last gasp, the club from Lower Franconia would have needed help from EWE Baskets Oldenburg, but it was not able to win against FRAPORT SKYLINERS. “Oldenburg unfortunately did not do us the favor. It’s bitter to miss out on the playoffs after winning 19 games,” said Head Coach Dirk Bauermann afterwards.

The Franconian derby was the third game in the space of five days for both teams. Yet there were no signs of exhaustion among the home side in front of 3,140 spectators in the completely sold-out Würzburg cauldron. They played at full tilt at both ends of the court from the very first second and managed to impose their mark on the visitors from Upper Franconia with a lot of energy, willpower and aggression. Bayreuth was never ahead in the entire encounter and was only able to keep the game evenly poised until the 5th minute.

The home side then produced a 10:2 run, sparked by a completely open three-pointer by E.J. Singler and completed by a no less beautifully carved-out bucket from beyond the arc by Felix Hoffmann to make it 18:10. Bayreuth’s Head Coach Raoul Korner called his first timeout in the 8th minute. However, that did not do much to change what was happening on court. On the first action in the second period, Leon Kratzer buried the ball in Bayreuth’s basket with a thunderous slam-dunk to give his side a double-digit lead for the first time.

The encounter was as good as sealed as early as the final three minutes of the second quarter. With a run of eight points without reply, in which youngster Dejan Kovacevic drained the first of his three buckets from downtown, s.Oliver Würzburg increased the gap to twenty points before half-time. In the opening minutes after the break, Kovacevic first scored a lay-up and then two further threes to keep the visitors at bay. By the end of the third quarter, Würzburg, all of whose ten players managed to get on the score sheet by half-time, had stretched its lead to 25 points.

It was only in the final three minutes that Bayreuth was able to put a somewhat better complexion on the result. Trailing at one stage by 28 points after two buckets from outside by Abdul Gaddy and Maurice Stuckey at the start of the final period, the visitors were able to cut the deficit to 82:68 with late three-pointers by Gabe York and Nate Linhart. When the final buzzer sounded, it was soon clear that Würzburg’s 19th win of the season would not be enough for it to qualify for the playoffs: FRAPORT SKYLINERS were way too far ahead in Oldenburg.

“Congratulations to Frankfurt. We lost one game too many on the way,” said Head Coach Dirk Bauermann as he bade farewell to the club. “The team has come along well in the course of the season and we played at a completely different level than at the start of it. Of course, we’re very disappointed we didn’t manage to qualify, despite the fact that we defeated all the teams who reached the playoffs, with the exception of Berlin. We captured eight more wins than last season, a clear indication of what positive progress we’ve made. Despite all the disappointment, however, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved and of everything we’ve helped bring about in the past 18 months I’ve been here. It’s a good basis for the club’s future development.”

Raoul Korner, Head Coach of Medi Bayreuth, commented: “Congratulations to Coach Bauermann and his team. That was a very emphatic victory today. They were superior to us in all departments and we weren’t able to get a grip on the game from the very first minute. We certainly didn’t show the form or the side of us we’ll need in a few days’ time to be successful in the playoffs. However, we also didn’t manage to get into the game because Würzburg did a great deal to stop us doing that. After its displays in the past week, Würzburg would have deserved to advance to the playoffs. Now we have to see that we quickly get back into gear.”

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