s.Oliver Würzburg has chalked up its second clear home victory in succession: Thanks to a magnificent first period, the club from Lower Franconia captured a start-to-finish win that was never in danger against bottom-of-the-table RASTA Vechta, the team of its former Head Coach Doug Spradley. “It was the second clear home win in a row where we showed a lot of quality. The very pleasant side effect is that it now looks like we don’t have any relegation worries any more,” said Head Coach Dirk Bauermann after the 86:63 victory in front of 3,140 spectators in an s.Oliver Arena that was once more sold-out.
Visiting clubs from Lower Saxony are welcome guests in Würzburg this season: Göttingen, Oldenburg and Vechta have departed from the s.Oliver Arena as losers since Christmas. The home side had laid the foundation for its victory against its bottom-of-the-table opponents after just under seven minutes: With uncompromising, aggressive defending, it ensured that the visitors – despite all their efforts in attack – were rarely able to score.
In offense, Würzburg began the encounter with a thunderous slam-dunk by Lamonte Ulmer, which captain Krešimir Lončar followed up in the first minute with the first of his five buckets from beyond the arc (out of six attempts) to make it 5:0. The home side opened up a double-digit gap (19:8) for the first time as early as the seventh minute, as a result of which Dirk Bauermann played the first period to an end with his complete second five and also did not make any changes initially at the start of the second quarter. In particular Vincent Sanford repaid the trust put in him by scoring 11 points within the space of just under five minutes to make it 33:11 in the 12th minute. Then Maurice Stuckey drained a three to give Würzburg its highest lead of the game (36:13 in the 13th minute).
After that, the home side lost the thread a little and RASTA Vechta suddenly started playing with the intensity and confidence that had helped them capture a clear home win against Oldenburg a week before. A 7:0 run cut the deficit to 38:24 in the 15th minute. and, shortly before half-time, the club from Lower Saxony produced another run (9:0) after the home side had pulled away to 46:25 in the 17th minute. “We didn’t defend tightly enough in the second period and conceded six of our 12 turnovers in this spell. We’re too good to let something like that happen to us,” said Dirk Bauermann.
The first-half ended with the score 47:34 and Würzburg’s captain helped put the visitors in their place at the start of the third period: Krešimir Lončar drained two threes in succession (53:38 in the 23rd minute), and three minutes later Brendan Lane – likewise with a three – stretched the gap to twenty points again (61:41 in the 26th minute). The visitors did not give up and – in particular thanks to their top scorer Frank Gaines (21 points) – fought their way back in the final period to 70:57 in the 34th minute. Yet there was no antidote to the home side’s accuracy from downtown in the second half: Lončar, Lane and Jake Odum buried three threes in succession to make it 79:61 in the 36th minute and seal victory for s.Oliver Würzburg.
The club from Lower Franconia now faces two games on the road against playoff candidates – Ludwigsburg on April 1 and Gießen on April 7 – before completing the regular season with four home games on the last five matchdays.