Back to winning ways: s.Oliver Würzburg defeated newly promoted RASTA commandingly by 88:76 (37:39) on the road to get the 9th matchday of the easyCredit German Basketball League underway. After an even first half, a strong third period changed the course of a game in which the visitors from Lower Franconia drained 15 threes out of 30 attempts. The game’s top scorers for Würzburg were Lamonte Ulmer (22 points/5 threes) and Krešimir Loncar (20/3). Devin Searcy (21) was Vechta’s top scorer against his former club.
For the first time since the first matchday, Maurice Stuckey was included in s.Oliver Würzburg’s starting five – Vladimir Mihailovic suffered a thigh knock in training during the week and was condemned to watch on as a spectator in the Rasta Dome, which was sold-out with a crowd of 3,140.
It was pretty clear from the first period how the encounter would go: Whereas the home side’s Devin Searcy, Scott Machado and Christian Standhardinger kept on driving resolutely and successfully to Würzburg’s basket, the visitors had a field day from beyond the arc: Max Ugrai drained the first of a total of 15 buckets from outside by Würzburg – most of them excellently carved out by good ball movement and many extra passes – to make it 2:5 in the 2nd minute.
Maurice Stuckey and Lamonte Ulmer added three more in the first period, and Krešo Loncar was also successful from downtown with the last shot of the first quarter, which ended 16:22. It was as if a different RASTA team came out for the second: The club from Lower Saxony operated with far greater aggression in defense, threw the opposing side out of its stride and kept on adding easy points on fast attacks – including two ripping slam-dunks from Devin Searcy and new signing Trevor Cooney.
In the first four-and-a-half minutes in the second period, Oldenburg produced a run of 14 points without reply to turn the game on its head and force Doug Spradley to call an urgently needed timeout in the 15th minute with the score at 30:22. Würzburg’s Head Coach apparently found the right words: Ulmer and Stuckey added the next two buckets from beyond the arc to cut the gap to 30:28. The two teams went in at half-time with the home side leading by two points (39:37).
In the half-time talk, Doug Spradley then managed to adjust his team’s strategy successfully: “In the second half we carried through our plan as intended. We only conceded just eight or ten points below the basket and moved the ball inside more often and produced many good shots by moving it from inside to outside.” And his players again began chalking up a high shooting percentage – five out of Würzburg’s seven attempted threes ended up going through RASTA Vechta’s hoop.
This confidence in offense resulted in the decisive 11:0 run by the home side – in this spell, it was Jake Odum, Krešimir Loncar and James Southerland who buried shots from downtown and so were able to turn the tide in favor of s.Oliver Würzburg.
Charles Barton brought up the first double-digit lead – naturally from a three again – in the 29th minute (47:57), and then the fourth and fifth bucket from outside by top scorer Lamonte Ulmer before and after the final break between periods made it 52:65 in the 31st minute – Würzburg’s highest lead in the game.
Yet the visitors did not give up and clawed their way back several times after trailing by 13 points – with 3:30 minutes to go, Doug Spradley called another timeout with the score at 71:75. And it had the desired effect again: Brendan Lane and Jake Odum restored the double-digit lead within 90 seconds (71:81 in the 39th minute). It was then left to Krešo Loncar to seal the game as the final minute commenced with a three to make it 75:86.