Medi Bayreuth also lost its second game against Science City Jena this season on the 25th matchday of the easyCredit German Basketball League. In front of 2,234 spectators in the Sparkassen Arena, the Heroes Of Tomorrow lost 90:107 three days after advancing to the last eight in the Basketball Champions League.
The Heroes Of Tomorrow found themselves headed for defeat in Thuringia in the very first period. It ended with a very clear 26:7 lead for the home side, who was faster and more alert mentally from the tip-off. The team of Head Coach Björn Harmsen also notched up good shooting percentages throughout the encounter, whereas Medi Bayreuth’s shots didn’t want to drop, especially in the first quarter. The team of Head Coach Raoul Korner put up a greater fight in the second period and was able to reduce the deficit to ten points by half-time, but right after the break Jena stepped up a gear again and did not let control of the game slip from its grasp.
After an evenly poised start and De’Mon Brooks tied the scores at 4:4 from the foul line, the Heroes Of Tomorrow had to watch as Jena soon began playing as if possessed. Science City repeatedly scored on fast attacks. A timeout in the sixth minute also did not produce any change, since Bayreuth failed to find its shooting rhythm in offense. The visitors went a whole six minutes without scoring as the home side, who made six steals and benefited from seven turnovers in the first period, chalked up 18 points without reply, a run that was only ended by a bucket from downtown by Wachalski (7:22).
Jena piled on the pressure again at the start of the second period, but the Heroes Of Tomorrow got into the encounter through their inside game. In particular, they sought Andreas Seiferth out and the center delivered the goods. He did not miss a shot in the second period and his 15 points got his side back closer into touch. After a 3-point play by the big man to make it 25:41, Jena’s Head Coach Björn Harmsen called a timeout to talk with his team. After that, the home side was a little more alert, but then let Medi draw closer after an unsporting foul by Julius Wolf. James Robinson drained the free throws and a three-pointer on the buzzer to make it 43:53.
However, the visitors’ hopes were soon dashed, as Jena started the second half with an 8:0 run. In particular the veteran Julius Jenkins was unstoppable in the third period. In his 402nd first-division game, he drained several buckets from outside to enable Jena to extend its lead again. Jenkins fired up his team and the home fans, as the home side went 67:47, then 73:50 and even 81:55 ahead. Whatever the Heroes Of Tomorrow tried, the 37-year-old had an answer and added the final points in the quarter – naturally with a shot from beyond the arc – with three seconds remaining (84:59).
After Immanuel McElroy stretched the gap to 30 points (91:61) in the 32nd minute, Jena took things more slowly, but without losing its grip on the game. The reduced pace benefited Medi Bayreuth. Threes by Steve Wachalski and Bastian Doreth made it 69:95, but the game never really became tight any more.
Medi Bayreuth remains fourth in the table, but is now just one win ahead of the teams in pursuit, Bonn and Oldenburg. After the two weeks with additional games in the Basketball Champions League, the Heroes Of Tomorrow now have a whole eight days before welcoming their next opponent, EWE Baskets Oldenburg, to the Oberfrankenhalle, next Saturday, March 24, when they will once again be aiming to notch up important points in the easyCredit German Basketball League. Until then, the team has enough time to recharge its batteries.