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s.Oliver Würzburg chalks up first home win of the season

Würzburg, 10-21-2016

It was an incredible comeback in the second half: In its home game against FRAPORT SKYLINERS on the 6th matchday of the easyCredit German Basketball League, s.Oliver Würzburg managed to go from trailing by 20 points to leading by ten in the space of six minutes and run out deserved winners by 73:64 (22:40). The top scorer in the Main derby was Frankfurt’s new signing Shavon Shields with 18 points. Brendan Lane (16), Kresimir Loncar (13) and Jake Odum (12) got into double digits for Würzburg.

Not much clicked in the Baskets’ offense in the first half – and Head Coach Doug Spradley was his usual frank self when he commented on that after the game: “Our half-time break was interesting. I told the players that we weren’t playing like men.” Too many of Würzburg’s attacks before the break ended in turnovers or missed shots. Not a single one of its twelve attempts from the arc dropped in the first twenty minutes. Nor was the home side able to capitalize on its few chances to score from free throws – and so it found itself trailing by 2:7 in the 4th minute.

Although Würzburg fought its way back to 6:7 and Max Ugrai produced the absolute highlight of the first half with a monster block against Quantez Robertson, the confidently playing visitors from Hesse largely had the game under control after that and kept on stretching their lead. After a bucket from downtown by new signing Ekene Ibekwe, the first period ended with the score 8:19. In front of their home crowd, the Baskets likewise did too little to reduce the deficit in the second quarter. On the contrary: The Skyliners were able to move further ahead by 22:40 by half-time.

It was as if two different teams came out after the break – Würzburg suddenly displayed far more aggression, energy and confidence, while Frankfurt no longer gave as good as it got as it had in the first twenty minutes. Although Shavon Shields initially stretched the gap to 20 points (22:42 in the 21st minute), Würzburg was fully focused and stepped up the pace: Vladimir Mihailovic and Maurice Stuckey with a bucket from outside sparked a 16:0 run to help the home side slash the deficit to 38:42 within three minutes.

Now the Würzburg fans got right behind their side and the comeback continued. In the fourth period, with the score at 50:58, Lamonte Ulmer heralded in the game’s crucial spell with a ripping slam-dunk: A 19:1 spurt that turned the run of play in the first half on its head for once and for all. Playmaker Jake Odum (12 points and 6 assists, all in the second half) put Würzburg in front for the first time in the 34th minute (59:58). A little later, Odum again stole the ball and finished the fast break to make it 64:59 – and force Frankfurt to call a timeout in the 36th minute.

Yet even that interruption was no longer able to stop Kresimir Loncar and Co.: The captain personally extended the lead with a three and, on the next attack, a tip-in to 69:59 in the 37th minute. Although Frankfurt then managed to control Würzburg’s offense better again, it was not able to close the deficit to less than five (69:64). A lay-up by Max Ugrai and two free throws by Lamonte Ulmer in the last minute made the final score 73:64 – and meant the home side took the second half by 51:24.

It was only Würzburg’s second win in its fifth German league game against FRAPORT SKYLINERS.

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