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Defeat in Würzburg without Onwas

Würzburg, 09-22-2019

BBC Coburg embarked on the new season in the BARMER ProB South 2nd German Basketball League with an 88:100 (46:49) defeat on the road at TG s.Oliver Würzburg on Sunday evening. Coburg produced a strong first half, but then a weak third period robbed it of any chance of victory – despite a gala performance by Constantin Ebert.

Coburg was missing forward Princeton Onwas in their season opener: The U.S. player watched on as a spectator, since his release by his former club from Australia had not been registered in time in the new transfer system of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and so he was not eligible to play. Despite the fact that the persons in charge at Coburg put in several night shifts, the problem could not be resolved by the time of the tip-off and so the new signing was only able to follow the game from the bench.

Even without Onwas, the club from Upper Franconia produced a plucky performance in its first game, refused to be perturbed by the reserve team of the first-division club from Lower Franconia and, after a bucket from downtown by the former Würzburg player Constantin Ebert, led by 20:13 with two-and-half minutes left in the first period. Coburg put the home side under pressure and forced seven turnovers in the first ten minutes alone, but only took a 21:20 lead into the second quarter.

The home side now got into the game better than BBC and was able to capture and stretch the lead. Three buckets from outside by youngster Nico Wenzl in the space of 84 seconds helped close the gap to 37:39 in the 17th minute. Indeed, it was Coburg’s strong 3-point field goal percentage that kept it in the game: Eight of its 13 shots from beyond the arc hit their mark in the first half, a factor that played a great part in ensuring Coburg only trailed narrowly by 46:49 at the break.

In a high-paced encounter, things did not get any easier after the break for the visitors, whose captain Christopher Wolf was not able to train during the week due to an infection: A run of 11 points without reply by Würzburg extended the gap to 14 points midway through the third period (51:65 in the 26th minute), forcing the BBC’s Head Coach Ulf Schabacker to call a timeout. Spurred on by his pep talk, Coburg put up stiff resistance, but was not able to reduce the deficit and remained 63:77 behind after 30 minutes.

However, the BBC then came closer and closer: The 18-year-old Wenzl’s fourth three from a long distance beyond the arc cut the gap to less than ten points again (74:83 in the 33rd minute). Yet no more was possible against Würzburg with its Lithuanian player Rytis Pipiras (24 points) and NBA candidate Joshua Obiesie (18) on Sunday evening: Despite 29 points by Ebert, who shouldered most of the burden in offense in his home city, a strong fighting performance and a good haul from the three-point line, Coburg finally went down to an 88:100 defeat.

Despite the result, the BBC’s Managing Director Wolfgang Gremmelmaier believed it was “an encouraging defeat. That’s a respectable result given that we were without Onwas and the fact that Christopher Wolf and Daniel Urbano weren’t able to train all week. What counts is that we fought right to the very end.”