BBC Coburg has started the playdowns in the ProB South 2nd German Basketball League with a defeat. It lost 77:73 (42:36) to bottom-of-the-table KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe in a heated encounter and so already has its backs to the wall going into the home game against Würzburg on Sunday.
When the final buzzer sounded, Coburg’s players left the uncomfortable arena at Karlsruhe’s KIT campus with a mixture of anger, frustration and resignation. As so often in this messed-up season, they had their nose ahead in many statistics and victory was within their grasp. And as so often, it was bad luck, their own inability and adverse attendant circumstances that meant they ended up leaving empty-handed.
The opening spell did not augur well for the team of Derrick Taylor. After both teams almost scored at will to begin with, the home side – which played like a completely changed team compared to its weak performance in Upper Franconia three weeks ago – stepped up a gear in defense. A 15:8 run gave the club from Baden a seven-point lead after ten minutes. Coburg was far too passive in attack, as evidenced by the fact that the home side only committed a single team foul. The league newcomers were clumsy in defense and fouled Karlsruhe twice as it attempted shots from beyond the arc. That was a no go for Head Coach Taylor, who immediately called a timeout to talk with his players.
Taylor’s words were taken to heart, as the visitors improved sharply in the second period. In particular, Kevin Eichelsdörfer and Anell Alexis came off the bench and injected a lot of energy into their side’s play. When Jordan Burris blocked KIT’s center Eyke Prahst and went down the other end to add a lay-up, it was the turn of GEQUOS’ Head Coach Jaivon Harris to speak with his team. Shortly before half-time, BBC Coburg thought it had cut the deficit to 40:38, but the referees found fault with the fact that, instead of the fouled Max von der Wippel, Steffen Walde (who had likewise been contacted illegally at the same time) stepped up to the foul line – an unclear and, at the very least, unfortunate situation from the visitors’ perspective. As a result, the gap remained at six points at half-time.
It seemed that Coburg had turned the game around after the break. Threes by Walde and Byron Sanford and two lay-ups from Burris put the visitors ahead for the first time since midway through the first period. The BBC’s fans felt briefly reminded of more successful times from the previous season, as their team finally displayed aggressive fast break basketball such as they had rarely been able to admire in the current season. A further six points by the now unleashed Sanford made it 50:54 and caused long faces among the home side.
However, Coburg had not reckoned on Luka Drezga. The 30-year-old Croat, one of the biggest talents in the whole of Europe when he was a youth player, scored 12 of his 16 points in the encounter’s decisive phase and so proved to be the sort of leader whom BBC sought so often in vain. It was also Drezga who as good as sealed the game with a no-nonsense bucket from well beyond the arc.
Yet the visitors still had some ammunition. Sanford likewise scored from downtown to make it 75:73 with 26 seconds left on the clock. Karlsruhe then failed to score and, on the counterattack, Sanford decided in favor of an all-or-nothing variant instead of ensuring the game went into overtime with a lay-up. Marcel Davis kept his cool from the line and secured a big point for the GEQUOS in the battle to avoid relegation. The fact that the home adjudicators were not especially accurate in operating the clock in the torrid final spell – a misdemeanor that was not punished by the referees – rounded off another disappointing Saturday evening for the BBC Coburg.