BBC Coburg has given a clear sign of life in the battle to avoid relegation. In the Franconian derby, the team of Head Coach Derrick Taylor defeated the highly rated TG s.oliver Würzburg convincingly by 90:78 and so is still in the race to remain in the ProB 2nd German Basketball League.
Yet the club from Upper Franconia was by no means the favorite before the tip-off. First, its opponents had started the playdown round with a clear victory against the reserve side of FC Bayern Munich. Second, the home side had to contend with injury problems (Eividas Molosciakas was missing after breaking his nose) and Coburg was also not in the best state psychologically after the opening defeat in Karlsruhe.
Yet a look at the BBC’s lineup boosted the team’s morale and the just under 900 spectators in the HUK-Coburg arena. Yasin Turan and Matthias Fichtner returned to the squad after being out for a long spell through injury, although they were still not back to full strength. Turan was even on court for two minutes, but it was his presence as an emotional leader that was far more important.
From the very first minute, Taylor’s players produced a display of completely different intensity than a week ago in the disappointing performance in Karlsruhe. Although the farm team of the first-division club from Würzburg had an extremely tall lineup in spells, BBC Coburg dominated below the boards and, in particular, was repeatedly able to create second chances to shoot in offense.
Both teams traded blows intensely before the break, although neither was able to open up a substantial gap. Whereas the visitors mainly notched up points by exploiting their individual quality, the ProB newcomers repeatedly scored after forcing turnovers. Byron Sanford alone made four steals against Würzburg’s point guards before the break. The BBC led by the wafer-thin margin of one point going in at half-time (42:41).
After the restart, the TG’s point guard Miles Jackson-Cartwright immediately drained two buckets from beyond the arc, causing worried looks in the Coburg camp. Yet this time the home side did not suffer a slump, instead producing a 22:6 run to move 14 points in front after the third period. Particularly prominent scorers in this phase were captain Steffen Walde, Christopher Wolf, who was much improved over the encounter in Karlsruhe, and Jordan Burris, who himself only scored moderately, but made a valuable contribution in other areas with his seven assists and seven steals.
The visitors closed the gap threateningly to 68:73 midway through the final period, but the all-round team performance of BBC Coburg was too solid on the afternoon and so it avoided another collapse in crunch time. When Jordan Burris played a no-look pass to find Max von der Wippel, who finished the move with an impressive slam-dunk, and then Anell Alexis, who produced a persuasive display coming off the bench, made his lay-up despite being fouled and also drained the bonus free throw to make it 84:71, Würzburg was no longer able to strike back. Sanford sealed victory from the line to give BBC Coburg two immensely important points, meaning that the playdowns are completely open again, in particular after Bayern’s home defeat against Karlsruhe.