On the 30th matchday in the Beko German Basketball League, s.Oliver Baskets defeated Bremerhaven Polar Bears for the seventh time in a row and so gained an advantage once more in the battle for a playoff berth. The team of Head Coach Doug Spradley won 76:69 (36:40) on Sunday at his former club in the far north and now is one victory ahead of its pursuer GIESSEN 46ers.
Kyle Fogg from the Polar Bears narrowly won the crown of top scorer with 21 points – the Baskets’ center Brendan Lane finished up with 20. The current top scorer in the Beko German Basketball League was the key man, especially in the first half, when the home side drained eight of its sixteen attempts from beyond the arc and helped make the game a close affair. s.Oliver Baskets got off to a good start and produced a 7:0 run to force the Polar Bears’ Head Coach Sebastian Machowski to call his first timeout after just 80 seconds of play. After that, it was Fogg who almost single-handedly gave the home side the lead for the first time with three buckets from outside in succession. The Canadian Robbie Sihota also had his sights well focused in this spell and drained two threes – his third in the 7th minute put the Polar Bears 19:14 ahead. However, s.Oliver Baskets were back in front by the end of the first period – among other things thanks to five straight points by Brendan Lane, who like Kyle Fogg notched up 13 points in the first half. In the second quarter, Sebastian Betz with a three and Seth Tuttle with a lay-up gave Würzburg a five-point lead again (26:31 in the 14th minute), before the Polar Bears captured their highest lead of the game shortly before the break (40:34).
Youngster Max Ugrai then made it 40:36 at half-time – the 20-year-old was in the starting five for the third time and did not miss a shot in bagging a haul of eight points from the floor (3 out of 3) and from the foul line (2 out of 2). After the break, he contributed four points to helping the visitors produce a 10:1 run and so stretch the gap to double digits for the first time (47:57 in the 28th minute). Yet the relegation-threatened club from the far north of Germany did not give up, reduced the deficit to 54:61 by the end of the third period and by the start of the final quarter was even back in front again by 62:61 following two buckets from beyond the arc by Lorenzo Williams and a lay-up from Fogg.
Almost four minutes elapsed before Seth Tuttle snapped up an offensive rebound to put the Baskets’ first points on the board in the fourth period and so snatch the lead back. That was the start of a decisive 13:1 spurt by the club from Lower Franconia that sealed victory. The strong Lamonte Ulmer added seven points in this spell and ended up with statistics of fifteen points, eight rebounds and three blocks. The Polar Bears remained dangerous to the end and closed the deficit to five points at the death after trailing 63:74. However, the eighth-placed team did not let the lead slip out of its grasp – captain Dru Joyce drained two free throws with nine seconds on the clock to make the final score 69:76.
In the long-distance tussle with GIESSEN 46ers for eighth spot, s.Oliver Baskets are now a win ahead again over the team from Central Hesse, which lost at Ulm on Saturday. With a victory at home against Telekom Baskets Bonn this Friday (tip-off at 8:30 p.m. in the Oliver Arena; the game will be broadcast live on Sport1 and tickets are still available), Würzburg could take an important step toward qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Doug Spradley, Head Coach of s.Oliver Baskets, commented: “Congratulations to my team on this important win. We achieved victory today collectively – the players from the bench also gave us a lot of impetus in attack and defense. We defended very strongly at times, but the Polar Bears also played a good first half. However, I was relatively sure that they wouldn’t keep on scoring so well after the break. That’s also what I said to my team during the break.”