Led by Jake Odum and Kenneth Horton, medi bayreuth celebrated another home victory in the Beko German Basketball League on the 29th match day. Without wing Steve Wachalski, who was ruled out with sinusitis, the team of Head Coach Michael Koch beat Bremerhaven Polar Bears by 99:89 (55:40) in front of a crowd of 3,003 in the Oberfrankenhalle. Bayreuth’s eleventh victory of the season means that it is now four wins ahead of the nearest team in a relegation spot with five games remaining. Watched by Henrik Rödl, Head Coach of the German national team, Bayreuth experienced the tough game it had expected, but produced an extremely strong second period, in which it scored 37 points, to lay the foundation for success.
Both teams were highly motivated in the opening spell. However, medi conceded four turnovers in the first period, with the result that the visitors took a narrow lead after the first ten minutes (18:20). That was also due to the Polar Bears’ team play – eight of their players got on the scoresheet in the first quarter.
However, the second period belonged completely to the home side. With a run of 8 points without reply in less than 90 seconds, the team of Michael Koch forced his opposite number Sebastian Machowski to call a timeout right at the start of the quarter. To no avail: medi produced a 9:4 run to make it 35:24 in the 14th minute, after which the Polar Bears used up another timeout. Although Kyle Fogg and Larry Gordon reduced the deficit to 35:30 with two buckets from beyond the arc, Kenneth Horton (eleven points in the second period), Jake Odum and Travis Leslie (nine points each) put the home side 55:40 in front at half-time.
Everything also came off for the Heroes Of Tomorrow to begin with after the break, as they went 65:43 ahead in the 22nd minute after a three by John Flowers – the highest lead in the whole encounter. But the Polar Bears hit back – and how! A 18:2 run by the visitors got them to within six points (67:61 in the 29th minute). medi’s captain Bastian Doreth was able to stop their run with one of his two buckets from outside and so the home side managed to retain its double-digit lead after the third quarter.
In the final period, the Polar Bears kept on closing the gap, but medi was able to maintain a constant lead of around ten points (75:65 - 83:73 - 90:80). After five straight points from free throws by Kyle Fogg, it suddenly seemed as though the Polar Bears could turn the game around, but Jake Odum as good as sealed victory with the “scene of the evening.”
Michael Koch returns to his old club this Saturday and aims to achieve his fourth away win of the season at Telekom Baskets Bonn, where he was Head Coach between 2007 and 2013. medi won the game earlier in the season in the Oberfrankenhalle by 77:64. The tip-off is on Sunday, April 17, at 5 p.m.