There could not have been a better finish to the year for the fans of medi bayreuth! On the 16th matchday in the easyCredit German Basketball League, the Heroes Of Tomorrow beat Telekom Baskets Bonn 83:78 in the Oberfrankenhalle, which was again sold-out with 3,300 spectators. This win to bring the first half of the season to a close was the 13th victory in this campaign for Head Coach Raoul Korner’s team, which has now climbed to third in the table – at least until the game between FC Bayern Basketball and Braunschweig on Friday evening.
Just three days after the narrow defeat against the German champions, Bayreuth started with game with enormous confidence and indescribable energy. The Heroes Of Tomorrow dictated the run of play almost at will in the first 15 minutes to build a 22-point lead. Nevertheless, sixth-placed Bonn got back into the game, with the result that medi’s fans – who again got right behind their team and urged it on enthusiastically – saw a game in which both sides traded blows from midway through the third period onward. However, Raoul Korner’s team proved it has strong nerves, did not surrender the lead and always had a successful reply up its sleeve, especially in crunch time.
All in all, medi bayreuth deserved its 13th win of the season – one which, in the words of Raoul Korner, “crowned a truly sensational first half of the season.”
Brief summary of the encounter
Despite the short time to recuperate, the Heroes Of Tomorrow picked up right where they left off in the impressive encounter against Bamberg. Julian Gamble put the visitors ahead early on, but that was to be the only time they led in the entire game. The encounter remained evenly poised until the score stood at 9:9 in the 5th minute, after which Raoul Korner’s side pulled away: A bucket by Andreas Seiferth was followed by five points from Trey Lewis (16:9 in the 6th minute). Lewis drained another three (21:11 in the 8th minute), then Assem Marei added a slam-dunk to make it 28:11 five seconds before the end of the period.
Robin Amaize chalked up medi’s first seven points of the second quarter (35:18). Nate Linhart then added five more points (40:18 in the 15th minute). After Bonn called a timeout, there was suddenly a slight rupture in Bayreuth’s game and Telekom Baskets got into the game better. Josh Mayo’s three ended his team’s 14:4 run to close the gap to 32:44 in the 19th minute. That was followed by Trey Lewis’ fourth three and a bucket by Ryan Thompson for the visitors, as medi bayreuth went in at half-time leading by 49:34.
After the break, the team from the Rhineland picked up from where it had left off shortly before half-time and caught up point by point. After two buckets from outside by Thompson, medi’s lead had dwindled to 51:44 in the 23rd minute. Driven on by Yorman Polas Bartolo, the shots from downtown began to drop. Josh Mayo and Ojars Silins reduced the gap to 54:55 in the 26th minute. Shortly before that, the visitors’ Head Coach Predrag Krunic had to replace his top scorer Ryan Thompson, who was forced to sit out the game on the bench because of an injury. It was now that one Bayreuth player really turned on the heat. Kyan Anderson gave his side a bit of breathing space with four straight points and then a three-point play by Assem Marei made it 62:56 in the 27th minute. The Heroes Of Tomorrow managed to take a five-point lead into the final period (68:63).
It was then that Kyan Anderson finally decided the tussle of the point guards on the evening in his favor. After being fouled, he firstly drained both free throws in the 32nd minute and followed that up with a third after Bonn’s Head Coach Predrag Krunic was penalized for a technical foul (71:65). Two minutes later, Kyan Anderson added a bucket from beyond the arc to increase the lead to nine points again. However, Bonn struck back again and, after Josh Mayo drained a bucket from downtown to make it 70:74 in the 37th minute, even had the chance to equalize. However, Yorman Polas Bartolo (1/2) and Josh Mayo (0/2) proved they had strong nerves from the foul line. Instead of a game tied at 74:74, the Heroes Of Tomorrow led 79:71 in the 39th minute after a three by Linhart and points by Assem Marei and did not let their 13th win of the season slip from their grasp.