The team of Head Coach Raoul Korner defeated the opposing side from Lower Saxony by 86:75 (47:38) in front of 3,237 spectators in the Oberfrankenhalle in a start-to-finish victory in which the visitors with Rickey Paulding, who was celebrating his 500th German league game for Oldenburg, were never ahead a single time in the entire encounter.
After the first half of the season, medi Bayreuth has seven wins and nine defeats and is eleventh in the table, level on points with BG Göttingen. The gap between it and the playoff spots and the teams from Bamberg and Ulm (who each have nine victories and seven losses to their name) is two wins.
medi’s Head Coach Raoul Korner had called the encounter against Oldenburg the last chance for his players to defeat a major team in the league in the first half of the season. And his players were consequently focused right from the very first minute. The starting five of Doreth, Woodard, Linhart, Meisner and Seiferth were extremely concentrated and quickly gave medi an 18:9 lead after 6 minutes. While both teams conceded five turnovers apiece due to the high pace of play in the opening spell, the HEROES OF TOMORROW were far more successful in carving out good opportunities to score and capitalized on that with a good shooting percentage to snatch a 23:19 advantage by the end the first period. medi Bayreuth also took the second quarter by 24:19 and went in at half-time 47:38 ahead. The gap could have been even wider, but Bayreuth lacked its customary strength from the foul line (average for the season: 83.3%) in the first half: The HEROES OF TOMORROW missed seven free throws out of 15 attempts.
After the break, both teams tightened up their defense a little and made it difficult for the other side to score easy points. medi stayed in front, even though Oldenburg managed to reduce the deficit several times. However, every time the Thunderbirds came closer, Bastian Doreth and his teammates struck back in the style of a top team and once again stretched the lead a little. Oldenburg then produced a run of eight points without reply at the end of the third period to reduce Bayreuth’s advantage to 62:56 after 30 minutes.
Robin Amaize, on his return to his old club, cut the gap to just four points (58:62) right at the start of the final period. However, Reid Travis and Bryce Alford hit back promptly with five points. The game ebbed to and fro until the last three minutes. medi was 75:72 ahead when it lost possession and so gave the visitors’ Braydon Hobbs the chance to equalize with a three. However, Oldenburg’s point guard missed the shot, whereas Woodard and Meisner drained buckets from outside at the other end to make it 81:72 and decide the encounter.
All in all, it was a highly deserved victory for Head Coach Raoul Korner’s players, who once again produced a strong team performance. Woodard, Bruinsma and Travis were medi’s top scorers, but the most effective was Reid Travis, who notched up a double double (including two important offensive rebounds in crunch time) and a rating of 19.
Bastian Doreth (medi Bayreuth) commented: “That was probably our best performance of the season so far. We managed to stay highly focused for the whole 40 minutes and so ran out deserved winners, even though there were a few spells where we made a few lapses and conceded a number of turnovers. But at the end of the day, it was a commanding display from us.”
The HEROES OF TOMORROW now fly to Lisbon on Tuesday, where the team of Head Coach Raoul Korner hopes to use its first match ball and win Group I in the FIBA Europe Cup. If it defeats SL Benfica, it will finish top of the table and seal a place in the quarter-finals. The tip-off in Lisbon on Wednesday evening is 10 p.m. German time.