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Narrow defeat for the Baskets

Würzburg, 10-27-2019

The visitors from Bavaria’s capital only clinched a jittery victory shortly before the end of the encounter in Würzburg’s cauldron. Thanks a far better performance than in the home game against ALBA BERLIN a week ago, s.Oliver Würzburg made life extremely difficult for FC Bayern Munich on the 5th matchday of the easyCredit German Basketball League. It was not until the final 11 seconds that Valdimir Lucic and Nihad Djedovic made four free throws to seal an all in all deserved 82:90 victory for Munich in front of 3,140 spectators in the once more sold-out s.Oliver Arena. “We can look back at today’s game with a better feeling than last week against Berlin,” said Head Coach Denis Wucherer. The top scorer in an encounter that was evenly matched over large stretches was Cameron Wells with 17 points.

Wucherer named two crucial factors for the defending champions’ victory afterwards: “They took Jordan Hulls out of the game and successfully attacked Luke Fischer early. Without the two of them, it was difficult for us to maintain our intensity and quality over the whole 40 minutes.” After just four minutes, Fischer had already committed three fouls and so only had eight minutes on court and scored just four points, while Hulls was allowed as good as no open shot by his markers, with the result that the “Sniper” chalked up a meager five points.

However, that only made itself felt after the break, since the home side – fired on vociferously by 3,140 passionate fans in their home cauldron – produced a strong display and proved more than a match for the title favorites in the first half. Florian Koch put the first six points on the board for Würzburg with two buckets from downtown (6:4 in the 3rd minute), by when at the latest the arena was at boiling point. That was followed up with buckets by Cameron Wells, Victor Rudd and Johannes Richter (three), with the result that the home side led by 17:11 by the 8th minute. Although Munich’s star ensemble cut the deficit to 17:16 by the end of the quarter, the highly intense encounter remained a tight affair in which the lead changed hands nine times and the scores were tied seven times before the break. A bit more would have been possible for the home side than the narrow 43:42 lead at half-time if it had had a bit more luck in its finishing. However, Victor Rudd was able to stretch that to 45:42 at the start of the third period with a jump shot as the clock ran down.

The game’s crucial phase then followed: Munich stepped up its intensity in defense and made life much tougher for the home side in the next minutes – apart from a free throw by Florian Koch, s.Oliver Würzburg was not able to add to its tally between the 22nd and 28th minutes. With the score standing at 46:57, Jordan Hulls finally put an end to Bayern’s 15:2 run with a jump shot. However, the visitors were now in the mood and opened up a 54:67 gap with three successive threes from Paul Zipser and Alex King (two) by the end of the period. “In the third period, we didn’t play with the same energy as in the first half and didn’t move the ball as well,” said Wucherer.

Würzburg was trailing by 18 points (60:78 in the 35th minute) when Jordan Hulls drained his only bucket from outside to initiate a comeback that rekindled hope among the crowd. Because Luke Fischer and Johannes Richter had already fouled out by that time, Wucherer threw his two ProB youngsters Jonas Weitzel (21 years of age) and Philipp Hadenfeldt (20) in at the deep end and they, like Munich’s 17-year-old Italian talent Sasha Grant, chalked up their first points in the German league. Weitzel made a lay-up in the 38th minute (72:84), while Hadenfeldt drained a three a little later (77:86). Then Weitzel blocked an attempt by Diego Flaccadori and Skyler Bowlin made things really exciting again with a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 80:86. One defensive stop and an offensive rebound later, Victor Rudd was fouled while attempting a shot from outside and then buried two of the three foul throws to make it 82:86. On Munich’s next attack, the referees called an unsporting foul on Vladimir Lucic, who drained both free throws. His teammate Nihad Djedovic followed suit with 6.7 seconds left on the clock to seal victory.