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s.Oliver Würzburg loses to Basketball Lions Braunschweig

Braunschweig, 03-02-2019

s.Oliver Würzburg was also unable to stop the winning home run of Basketball Lions Braunschweig. Despite 24 points from Xavier Cooks, Würzburg ended up losing 78:87 (41:38) in front of 3,662 spectators in the sold-out Volkswagenhalle on the 22nd game day. After a poor start, the visitors had the game under control thanks to good defending up to the end of the third period, but then lacked the necessary resolve at the death to overcome Thomas Klepeisz and his Braunschweig teammates. Apart from Cooks, who set a new career best, three other Würzburg players got into double digits: Cameron Wells, Skyler Bowlin and Jordan Hulls.

In his side’s first game after the international break, Head Coach Denis Wucherer was without the slightly injured Devin Oliver and began with a starting five of Wells, Bowlin, Cooks, Felix Hoffmann and Mike Morrison. The home side got off to the better start and was already 10:0 ahead after 140 seconds. Wucherer had already called his first timeout with the score standing at 7:0 after one-and-a-half minutes – and it had an impact. His team equalized by the seventh minute, as it was more focused in defense and also drained one three after the other in offense, scoring a total of five buckets out of six attempts in the first period, including three in a row by Skyler Bowlin to make it 14:14.

The first shot from downtown in the second period also hit its mark: Jordan Hulls tied the encounter at 27:27 in the 11th minute. After that, the club from Lower Franconia was repeatedly able to dictate its fast pace on the home side and so successfully channel the ball to Xavier Cooks near to the basket. The Australian chalked up all Würzburg’s points in its 8:0 run to make it 27:35 after 15 minutes. However, the Lions were able to claw their way back to within three by half-time.

After the break, s.Oliver Würzburg maintained its intensity in defense. It was not until the 24th minute that DeAndre Lansdowne scored the Lions’ first points in the second half – from the foul line. By then, the visitors were trailing by double digits for the first time after four more points by Cooks and a beautifully carved-out three by Felix Hoffmann. It was only in the 25th minute that a bucket from outside by Shaquille Hines ended Würzburg’s 10:1 run and made it 39:50. As a result of that, the momentum slowly began to shift. Shortly before the end of the third period, it was again Hines who tipped the ball into the home side’s basket (52:56), after which Xavier Cooks was able to drain a spectacular buzzer-beating three from just over 13 meters out to make it 52:59.

Denis Wucherer summed up the final period in an interview with MagentaSport directly afterwards as follows: “35 points by Braunschweig in the final period are 15 too many. Of course, we know Thomas Kelpeisz is a good shooter and that he can turn on the heat, but we weren’t uncompromising enough. No matter who was defending against him, we were half a meter too far away.”

Braunschweig’s Austrian player chalked up all his 15 points on the evening in the final period, 11 of them in succession in the space of three minutes, when he single-handedly turned a 59:63 deficit into a 70:67 lead for his side. s.Oliver Würzburg kept in the game up to the 38th minute, but then Brad Lösing missed two chances to equalize with the score standing at 76:73, with the result that the Lions were able to seal their eighth home win in a row with a three by Brayon Blake and two free throws from Klepeisz to make it 81:73 with just over a minute left.

s.Oliver Würzburg now face the first game in their Round of 16 game in the FIBA Europe Cup on Wednesday. The encounter at the Russian representative Avtodor Saratov tips off at 4 p.m. German time and will be broadcast live on FIBA’s YouTube channel. It then welcomes Mitteldeutscher BC to the s.Oliver Arena for a game in the easyCredit German Basketball League this Saturday (tip-off: 6 p.m.).