medi bayreuth came off second-best in the duel for eleventh place in the table on Sunday afternoon. The team of Head Coach Michael Koch lost 69:85 (42:41) on the road at Telekom Baskets Bonn in front of a crowd of 5,000 in the Telekom Dome and so has been passed in the table by the club from the Rhineland owing to its poorer aggregate score. Just 27 points in the second half were simply too little for Bayreuth, which was without Daniel Mullings due to a finger injury, to defeat Bonn a further time this season.
Despite this defeat, however, medi bayreuth is now also mathematically certain to avoid relegation from the German Basketball League: Since the MBC and Bremerhaven lost on this matchday, neither Crailsheim Merlins (five wins), nor the Polar Bears nor Mitteldeutsche BC (both with seven wins) can close the gap between them and medi bayreuth. The latter two teams play each other on the upcoming matchday, which means that only one of them can achieve a maximum of eleven wins.
The home side got off to the better start, taking a lightning lead in front of 5,210 spectators. Hardly anything came off for medi and so it trailed by 2:10 after just three minutes. Bonn continued to dominate the first period and, with 33 seconds left in it, had a lead of eleven after points by Dirk Mädrich (15:26). However, Ken Horton and Jake Odum hit back to make it 19:26 after the first quarter.
The second period was then more to the taste of Head Coach Michael Koch. A three-point play by Steve Wachalski seemed to wake up medi. Travis Leslie was able to equalize for the first time in the 16th minute (31:31). The lead now changed hands on virtually every attack up to the break. medi led 42:41 at half-time.
It was almost three minutes before points were added on the board in the second half. Whereas Tadas Klimavicius chalked up Bonn’s first six points in the third period (42:47), it was almost four-and-a-half minutes before John Flowers was able to get Bayreuth off the mark after the break. Despite this long barren spell for Bayreuth, the game was still up for grabs. But then came Rotnei Clarke! In just a little over one minute, the American scored eight points to give his team a double-digit lead again (46:56) and also get the crowd in the Telekom Dome behind it.
Yet medi was not in a mind to concede defeat. After a bucket from beyond the arc by John Flowers to make it 56:62 in the 32nd minute, anything seemed possible. However, the team from the Rhineland stepped up a gear again. Eleven points without reply made it 56:73 in the 34th minute and decided the game. In the time remaining, both teams endeavored to make sure that they had the better aggregate in their two encounters. However, every bucket by medi was also countered right away by Bonn and so the home side finished up winners on the day and on aggregate.
Michael Koch commented: “It was a deserved win for Bonn. All in all, the Baskets did more and we often failed to move the ball well. We lost the thread in the third period and so gave Bonn a number of easy buckets. You could see in the final period that our strength sagged as a result of the short rotation we adopted due to our injury problems.”
medi bayreuth now face two home games this weekend. Alba Berlin come to the Oberfrankenhalle on Friday, April 22 (tip-off: 6:30 p.m.). Two days later sees the Franconian derby against s.Oliver Baskets from Würzburg.