Medi Bayreuth chalked up a vital victory in the battle for a playoff berth in the easyCredit German Basketball League on Friday evening. On matchday 28, the team of Head Coach Raoul Korner defeated FRAPORT SKYLINERS 69:62 to move into fifth spot, and back in front of Telekom Baskets Bonn, thanks to a better aggregate. The Heroes Of Tomorrow now have one win more than seventh-placed Frankfurt and likewise the better aggregate against it.
Two days after the tough Champions League encounter against Ludwigsburg, the Heroes Of Tomorrow got off to a relatively good start. An early unsporting foul by the visitors was followed by free throws by Robinson and York’s first bucket from beyond the arc. The U.S. duo was also involved in one of the game’s best moves, when James Robinson played the ball back through his legs to Gabe York, who scored to make it 11:3. After Frankfurt called a timeout, the Heroes Of Tomorrow remained wide awake, forced their opponents into errors, and used steals to take a 17:10 lead after ten minutes.
After John Cox made it 21:12, Bayreuth’s offensive engine began to stutter for the first time. It missed good chances, but the SKYLINERS also had their problems and could only reduce the deficit to 16:21 after four minutes in which Medi went without scoring. However, the club from Hesse was now more tenacious and closed the gap to 21:23 after Tai Webster scored five points without reply from the foul line. The team of Head Coach Gordon Herbert was now better in exploiting mistakes in Medi’s play and so was able to tie the encounter at 26:26 at half-time, once more from the foul line.
The game was initially evenly balanced after the break, but then the SKYLINERS suddenly gained the upper hand, pulling 41:34 in front in the 27th minute after points by Mike Morrison. Yet Medi Bayreuth fought back. This time it was John Cox who, coming off the bench, added six points, including what was only Medi’s second three of the evening, to equalize again (41:41). Nevertheless, the visitors led narrowly by 45:42 at the end of the third period.
The final ten minutes proved to be exciting: Gabe York first drained a bucket from outside, then the shooting guard scored from the foul line after exploiting an unsporting foul by the visitors to tie the encounter at 51:51. The final minutes then belonged to James Robinson, who put Medi in front with a three (54:53) and shortly after made it 60:56 as he was falling. Not only victory, but also the better aggregate was now within grasp and it was again James Robinson who was responsible for the key points, when he made it 66:60 from the foul line with 23 seconds on the clock. The steal by Andreas Seiferth on the next attack sealed the win and also gave Medi the better aggregate from the two league games between the two clubs.
It was impressive to see the calm, conviction and great self-confidence the team of Medi Bayreuth exuded in earning this hugely important win against FRAPORT SKYLINERS – one that was hard-fought in the truest sense of the word.