A Bayreuth win seemed possible for a long time in the ratiopharm arena. At the end of the third period, the Heroes Of Tomorrow were tied in their game on the road against the unbeaten leaders of the easyCredit German Basketball League and so were in with a promising chance of being the first team this season to inflict a defeat on ratiopharm ulm.
However, the home side then turned the game on the 21st matchday its way in just three minutes. In front of a sell-out crowd, the league leaders pulled away with a run of 11 points without reply at the start of the final quarter to keep its clean sheet. 6,200 spectators, including numerous medi fans again, saw a duel between two truly top teams in the first three periods, in which medi bayreuth demanded everything of Ulm. Whereas the Heroes Of Tomorrow had the better three-point field goal percentage at the beginning of the game, it was the home side that really turned on the heat in the final period and stretched its lead considerably to run out winners by 90:70 (38:39).
The first quarter was won clearly by the Heroes Of Tomorrow. After Assem Marei tied the scores at 4:4 in the 3rd minute, they went ahead for the first time thanks to a bucket from downtown by Trey Lewis. They even stretched the lead further, with the Egyptian player repeatedly being set up well. A three by De’Mon Brooks gave them their highest lead: 24:13. Although Ulm was able to catch up a little, the first period went to medi bayreuth by 29:22.
The home side closed the gap to 27:30 in the 13th minute with a bucket from outside by Taylor Braun, but the Heroes Of Tomorrow always had the right reply. Andreas Seiferth scored twice to make it 34:27 in the 15th minute. Steve Wachalski made it 39:31 in the 19th minute with a three-point play, but then Ulm produced another run up to the break: The league leaders slashed the deficit to just one with seven straight points (38:39).
The visitors once more got off to the better start to the second half. Linhart’s three was followed by free throws by Lewis (48:41 in the 23rd minute). The margin grew in the 26th minute when Trey Lewis made it 54:45. However, Ulm then went from strength to strength, repeatedly finding top scorer Raymar Morgan to catch up. After a bucket from beyond the arc by Da’Sean Butler in the 28th minute, the home side had reduced the gap to 56:57, after which Augustine Rubit tied the scores at 60:60 in the final minute of the quarter.
Ulm started the final period at a lightning pace. After almost suffering a turnover (the referee was hit by the ball as it was going out of bounds and so kept it in play for Ulm), the home side clinically exploited its lucky break and concluded what had seemed to be a squandered attack with a three by Chris Babb. The American player chalked up a total of weight points in a row, which was followed by a bucket from downtown by Da’Sean Butler (71:60 in the 33rd minute). That run as good as decided the encounter in favor of the top-placed team, who did not give the Heroes Of Tomorrow a chance to get back into the game. Whereas Bayreuth hardly managed to add to its score and small errors crept into its play, Ulm now converted a high percentage of its points to open up a 20-point gap.
Raoul Korner, Head Coach of medi bayreuth, commented: “Congratulations to Thorsten and his team for what was in the end a clear and deserved win. We saw a very evenly poised game over three periods. If you look at the score sheet, you can find the reason for the defeat in the fourth quarter. We began with two turnovers in it, while Ulm drained its threes and ran into scorching form. Our shots didn’t drop and so we couldn’t halt the run – whether with timeouts, substitutions or aggressive defending. At the end, Ulm was fired up by its crowd and played as if possessed. That was a lesson for us – we have to learn how to stop such runs. But we didn’t manage that today.”