They truly gave their all and fought to the death, but the Heroes Of Tomorrow eventually went down to a 90:102 (43:49) defeat on the road at EWE Baskets Oldenburg in the second game of the playoff quarter-final.
Brief summary of the encounter:
Bolstered by their win in game one and with their own fans behind them, EWE Baskets turned on the pressure right from the start and, after a bucket from beyond the arc by Paulding, quickly went 7:1 ahead in the 3rd minute. The home side kept the screws on and, thanks to its high shooting percentage, stretched the lead to 14:6 in the 6th minute, forcing Bayreuth to call a timeout. Things went better for the Heroes Of Tomorrow after the loud pep talk. In the space of five seconds (!), Bastian Doreth and Trey Lewis drained two threes to cut the deficit to just 14:17 in the 8th minute. Even though the buckets from downtown began to drop for both sides, the momentum changed hands. Trey Lewis and Robin Amaize took measure from outside and tied the scores at 23:23 shortly before the end of the period.
After Bayreuth went 25:23 ahead – for the first and only time in the encounter –, the club from Upper Franconia suffered a further short drought, which Oldenburg capitalized on right away. Dominic Lockhart capped a 13:0 run by making it 36:25 in the 15th minute, but medi struck back with five points from Anderson, after which De’Mon Brooks closed the gap to under ten (37:45 in the 18th minute). The Heroes Of Tomorrow’s efforts were rewarded further. In the final minute, Nate Linhart reduced the gap to four, before Rickey Paulding made the half-time score 49:43.
In the third period, the Thunderbirds kept medi bayreuth at arm’s length with clever play. Whatever medi tried, Oldenburg had the answer. The deficit gyrated around the ten-point mark, but then Oldenburg was able to pull away again from the 28th minute on. A three by Massenat was followed by a bucket by Vaughn Duggins to help make it 77:61 shortly before the end of the quarter.
Despite now trailing by a wide margin, the team of Head Coach Raoul Korner did not give up. After a 3-point play by Kyan Anderson, Linhart drained a bucket from downtown to make it 70:83 in the 34th minute. Oldenburg called a timeout, after which Assem Marei added five points in an 11:0 run to close the gap to 75:83. However, Raoul Korner’s players would not get closer than that on the evening. Robin Amaize, De’Mon Brooks and Assem Marei were at risk of fouling out, which meant that they could not defend with greater intensity and that Oldenburg also had more space – and this time it was in particular Frantz Massenat who took advantage of that to score important threes. It was also Massenat who made the final score 102:90 with a bucket from beyond the arc.