medi bayreuth finished fourth in the easyCredit TOP FOUR. On Sunday afternoon, the team of captain Bastian Doreth lost to hosts ratiopharm ulm by 79:81 in the third-place playoff and so had to concede bronze to the home side.
So who would get off to the better start is this unpopular tussle for third spot? The clear answer in the opening minutes was: medi bayreuth! That was above all because the Heroes Of Tomorrow started the game by playing the way they had not succeeded in doing in the semi-final. They repeatedly set up Andreas Seiferth below the basket and he exploited that by scoring six of his team’s points in its 8:3 lead. Ulm’s Head Coach Thorsten Leibenath, who was without his captain Per Günther in the third-place playoff, called his first timeout. His team responded and was able to tie the scores for the first time (12:12). Whereas medi bayreuth’s Assem Mareis then conceded his third foul, the home side really found its stride and went 15:14 ahead shortly before the end of the first period.
Ulm kept the momentum going in the second quarter. A 12:5 run put the hosts of the TOP FOUR 27:19 in front in the 14th minute. In particular the 22-year-old Joschka Ferner added a lot of flair to Ulm’s play and scored five points. Yet the Heroes Of Tomorrow hit back. James Robinson’s three put medi back within striking distance (26:28) just two minutes later. However, Ulm stepped up a gear again and Ryan Thompson once more gave his side a somewhat clearer lead. Yet the to and fro in the second quarter was not yet over, as the Heroes Of Tomorrow produced an extremely strong end to the first half. With two seconds left before the break, Andreas Seiferth buried two shots from the foul line and even gave Bayreuth a half-time lead.
Ulm recaptured the lead on the first attack of the second half and pulled away by 45:41. Yet the to and fro continued, and this time it was medi who turned on the pressure again. A 10:2 run enabled Raoul Korner’s team to move 51:47 ahead. A timeout by Ulm was also not able to stop medi. A three-point play by De’Mon Brooks gave Bayreuth a double-digit lead. That was followed a spell of many missed chances on both sides and the game developed into a genuine cup fight in which medi narrowly led by 60:54 after 30 minutes.
The home side came back on court with tougher defending in the final period and also initially found an antidote to medi’s attacks. Dennis Krämer completed a run of six points without reply to tie the scores at 60:60 early on. medi then opened up a gap again. Gabe York buried four free throws and stretched the lead to 70:64 to the cheers of medi’s fan with a slam-dunk after stealing possession. After a further free throw by James Robinson, however, the game tilted again in Ulm’s favor – and the hosts drained just their second three-pointer to spark an 11:0 run. Ryan Thompson made it 75:71 with two minutes remaining. Of all people, it was the former Bayreuth player Trey Lewis who, with his only bucket from downtown, put Ulm 80:74 ahead with 55 seconds to go. Nate Linhart hit back immediately (77:80) and De’Mon Brooks made it 79:80 with 14 seconds left on the clock. After Da’Sean Butler then only managed to score one of his free throws (79:81), the Heroes Of Tomorrow even had the chance to snatch victory with a bucket from outside, but the shot by Gabe York unfortunately finished up too short.