It just was not to be: In its first game of the second half of the season on Epiphany, s.Oliver Würzburg staged several comebacks at BG Göttingen, but did not manage to turn the game around in the second half. In its first game under new Head Coach Dirk Bauermann and with point guard Elijah Johnson, the club from Lower Franconia suffered a 67:79 defeat. The top scorers for Würzburg were captain Krešimir Loncar and Lamonte Ulmer with 13 points each.
A slight muscle injury in his thigh had put playmaker Jake Odum out of action the whole week and new signing Elijah Johnson had only joined the squad on Thursday evening – not exactly the best auspices for preparing for the first game in the second half of the season in the easyCredit German Basketball League. Dirk Bauermann changed s.Oliver Würzburg’s starting five in two positions: Krešimir Loncar and Marshawn Powell started the game instead of Brendan Lane and Max Ugrai.
From the tip-off, the crowd of more than 3,300 saw a tussle between two teams who played with focus and intensity, especially in defense, and tried to make life difficult for each other. The visitors achieved that better initially: A bucket from beyond the arc by Lamonte Ulmer and four points by Loncar put them 4:7 ahead at the start of the 4th minute. After that, the team from Lower Franconia began to stutter and only managed to add four more points by the end of the first period, which Göttingen decided in its favor by 15:11. The club from Lower Saxony soon extended the lead to 20:11 at the start of the second quarter – forcing Bauermann to call his first timeout as Head Coach of Würzburg in the 12th minute. Yet even after that, his players lacked cohesion and rhythm in attack – unlike the home side, for whom Scott Eatherton in particular was able to win tussles below the basket and score. The result: Göttingen pulled away to 39:29 by half-time.
The visitors came out with greater resolve and focus after the break – and by the 25th minute had closed the gap to 45:41, also thanks to two buckets from downtown by Maurice Stuckey. Things also continued to run well for them after Göttingen’s timeout. New signing Elijah Johnson scored his first points in the easyCredit German Basketball League in the 28th minute – a three to make it 47:46. Then ensued an unfortunate sequence from Würzburg’s perspective – a technical and unsporting foul gave the home side the chance to open up a 54:48 gap going into the final period. The last quarter proved to be a carbon copy: Würzburg drained one three after another and began by producing an 11:4 run to cut the deficit to just one again (60:59 in the 35th minute). However, it was not able to turn the game around. Göttingen, for whom the strong Alex Ruoff scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half, pulled away again. In crunch time, it was then Leon Williams who helped seal victory for Göttingen with a three and a lay-up to make it 72:62 in the 38th minute. “A lot more was possible in the fourth period, but we gave away too many easy lay-ups. We’ll correct that. The players invested a lot and now have two days free. Then we’ll have a three-week mini preparation to work on the things we’re currently having problems with,” said Dirk Bauermann after the game.