This team is incredible! With its victory on the road at Movistar Estudiantes on the 12th matchday of the Basketball Champions League, medi bayreuth has taken a big step toward qualifying for the playoffs. The team of Head Coach Raoul Korner won 76:68 in Madrid to capture two important points and also the better aggregate in the two encounters with the Spanish club, which is now on the same number of points as it.
The Heroes Of Tomorrow wanted to keep up the momentum from the game against Frankfurt and managed to do precisely that outstandingly at the start of the encounter. medi bayreuth led by 7:0 after just two minutes. However, slips then crept into Bayreuth’s play. Especially in defense, it frequently came off second-best against the Spanish club’s sprightly players, who were able to score easy points – also thanks to a large number of second chances – and so turned the game in their favor. Steve Wachalski drained a buzzer beater to reduce Bayreuth’s deficit to 15:20 at the end of the first period.
medi bayreuth also had to fight very hard for every point in the second quarter. The fact that Andreas Seiferth had to go into the encounter with a slight injury was also not exactly a great help for the Heroes Of Tomorrow against the tall Spanish side. The home side now got into its stride a little better and stretched its lead to double digits for the first time (32:22 in the 15th minute). After a clear foul that was committed against Nate Linhart while he was attempting a lay-up, but not penalized by the referees, the Spanish club produced a fast attack, finishing it with a bucket from downtown by Aleksandar Cvetkovic to even move 35:22 in front. Raoul Korner put the brakes on Madrid’s run by calling a timeout that was to have a great impact. The Heroes Of Tomorrow were now really tenacious and hit back with a 12:4 run up to half-time. A further bucket in the final second made it 34:39 at half-time – medi bayreuth was back in business.
Madrid remained strong from beyond the arc after the break. Alec Brown and Sylven Landesberg scored from outside as Estudiantes pulled away again to 45:36. Yet the Heroes Of Tomorrow did not give up and got into the game better midway through the period. Whereas the home side only added three points up to the 26th minute, medi produced a run of eight points without reply, even tying the scores at 48:48 through Assem Marei. And things got even better: James Robinson put the Heroes Of Tomorrow ahead with a three. However, slips in concentration again crept into medi’s game and the top Spanish team capitalized on them clinically to turn the game around again. With one-tenth of a second remaining in the third period, Victor Arteaga scored twice from the foul line to give the Spanish club a 58:53 lead after 30 minutes.
Yet the team of Head Coach Raoul Korner still believed in itself. It sought solutions as a team and found them at the start of the final quarter in the shape of its veteran: Steve Wachalski drained two threes to make it 64:66 and kindle more than just a glimmer of hope. Estudiantes was able to hold on to its slender lead, also abetted by Bayreuth’s extremely poor free throw percentage, but after it went 68:65 ahead through Ludvig Hakanson, the home side had shot its bolt. In the final 4:28 minutes of the encounter, Bayreuth fought selflessly in defense and managed to prevent Madrid from adding a single point. A further bucket by Wachalski gave his side the momentum and what had seemed almost impossible actually transpired: James Robinson recaptured the lead for the visitors with just over three minutes remaining. The home side now appeared disconcerted and the shots they created, often from solo actions, no longer dropped. In contrast, the Heroes Of Tomorrow grew in strength and it was James Robinson and Nate Linhart who drained threes to seal a 76:68 victory.