Even though it was not quite enough to win in the end, the HEROES OF TOMORROW produced another strong display on the 4th game day of the FIBA Europe Cup. The team of Head Coach Raoul Korner lost 80:84 (42:47) to the still unbeaten leaders of Group C, BK Ventspils, in front of 1,955 spectators in Bayreuth’s Oberfrankenhalle on Wednesday evening.
As in the earlier game between the two, the Latvian club got off to a dream start and had surged 25:7 ahead by the 8th minute. However, medi Bayreuth fought its way back into the game and even went ahead at the end of the third period. Yet it was small things and the one or other mistake that ultimately thwarted medi’s efforts to chalk up its third home victory in the FIBA Europe Cup. Whereas Ventspils made sure of advancing to the next group phase by winning in Bayreuth, the HEROES OF TOMORROW now face a crunch game next Wednesday and must win if they want to progress: on the road at Sigal Prishtina, who they defeated 97:89 at home in the Oberfrankenhalle two weeks ago.
Against what is without a doubt the strongest opponent in their group, the HEROES OF TOMORROW got off to a similarly poor start as in the previous game against BK Ventspils (7:25) and so trailed right from the outset. Yet fired on by another magnificent home crowd, medi gradually clawed its way back and the team of top scorer Bastian Doreth even managed to recapture the lead. Yet the Latvian club did not let up and showed its class, with the result that the final period turned into a real nail-biter in which the HEROES OF TOMORROW came out losers in the end due to the odd small mistake too many.The team of Head Coach Raoul Korner also lacked a little of the luck it needed with its shots during crunch time. One example of that was the lay-up by Nate Linhart with 4:27 minutes remaining: Instead of dropping to make it 72:73, the ball rolled once around the hoop and fell to its side, as did the hook shot by Andreas Seiferth with his strong left hand with the scores standing at 73:77 and 3:26 minutes remaining.
Whereas the HEROES OF TOMORROW were repeatedly able to snap up free balls in their encounter against Braunschweig, the 50:50 balls on Wednesday evening ended up almost completely in the hands of the visitors from Latvia. Nonetheless, BK Ventspils fully deserved its victory. The Latvian club produced a strong performance and won the rebounding duel by the clear margin of 40:30. It also won 22 free throws and scored from 18 of them, whereas medi only managed ten attempts, scoring from seven of them.
Bastian Doreth (medi Bayreuth) commented: “Sure, we had a shaky start, but you also have to say that Ventspils is a very good team that had prepared perfectly for us. As Coach Korner has already said, it’s often the small things that tip the scales. At the end of the day, Ventspils snapped up ten rebounds more than we did. That naturally meant they had more possession and it helped them win. That’s a key factor in a tight game like this one was. Yet we can still be proud of our team and satisfied with its character. I hope we can now follow up on that and not let ourselves be discouraged by the tough game in Munich on Sunday or let it rob us of our confidence, because we need that for the do-or-die encounter in Prishtina.”
The coaching team of medi Bayreuth again has little time to prepare the side for the next game, and it is a big one: The reigning German champions, FC Bayern Munich Basketball, host the HEROES OF TOMORROW in the Audi Dome on Sunday. The tip-off for the encounter on the 8th game day of the easyCredit German Basketball League is at 3 p.m.