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s.Oliver Würzburg loses to second-placed EWE Baskets Oldenburg by 93:109

Oldenburg, 04-20-2019

Second-placed Oldenburg was definitely a suitable opponent for the dress rehearsal for the FIBA Europe Cup final on Sardinia this Wednesday: “Like Oldenburg, Sassari is extremely strong in offense, has great quality and makes hardly any mistakes,” said Denis Wucherer before the tip-off in Lower Saxony on Saturday. The home side displayed its qualities in offense in the opening four minutes, driving successfully to the basket on several occasions and then draining its first two buckets from downtown. As a result, Wucherer was forced to call his first timeout with the score at 17:8.

From then on, his players put up more intense resistance and also got better into the game in offense. Top scorer Devin Oliver reduced the deficit to 21:17 in the 7th minute with nine straight points, but then Oldenburg was able to restore its 11-point cushion by the end of the first period (30:19). Not a lot changed in the second quarter in a game that continued to be shaped by strong play in attack. Oldenburg scored from beyond the arc far better than the visitors in the first 20 minutes (with a 3-point field goal percentage of 47 versus 30) and so its lead up to the break kept on fluctuating between eight and 14 points, as both sides went on at half-time with the home side 59:47 in front.

Rickey Paulding and Vojdan Stojanowski stretched the gap to 64:47, the Thunderbirds’ highest lead, at the start of the third period. Wucherer’s players were completely unperturbed by that and responded with their best spell of the encounter: For just over five minutes, the home side was not able to score from the floor with the exception of a three by Nathan Boothe, whereas s.Oliver Würzburg’s players had now found their rhythm, especially from beyond the arc: Six out of nine attempts from outside hit their mark in the third period, including three by Skyler Bowlin. Shortly before the end of the quarter, Felix Hoffmann was able to reduce the deficit to 78:74 with a free throw – the game was completely up for grabs again.

However, Würzburg was not able to successfully continue its comeback in the final period, primarily due to “Mister Oldenburg”: Rickey Paulding drained four threes and a further jump shot with the tip of his toe touching the three-point line and, together with the bonus free throw he was awarded after that, the 36-year-old amassed 15 points in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, s.Oliver Würzburg remained within striking distance for a long time – the gap was still in the single digits with exactly three minutes left on the clock (99:90). Paulding then buried his seventh three of the game and Vojdan Stojanovski sealed the 14th win by the club from Lower Saxony out of 15 home games with a lay-up to make it 104:91 with two minutes to go.

Devin Oliver, s.Oliver Würzburg:

“We knew it would be a tough game today against a strong opponent. We conceded too many turnovers and that allowed Oldenburg to get into its stride. We have to tick off the game quickly, since we now face the very important FIBA Europe Cup final in Sassari on Wednesday. We want to achieve a good result in the first leg and then hopefully clinch the title at home a week later. We’re playing really good basketball at the moment. Of course, we have a very tough program in the coming weeks, but if we go into the games with confidence and keep on playing so well as a team, we can win the Europe Cup and reach the playoffs in the German League.”

Denis Wucherer, Head Coach of s.Oliver Würzburg:

“Congratulations to Oldenburg on its deserved victory. We’d have needed more energy in defense to have a chance of winning today. Rickey Paulding took control in the crucial phase of the game and drained seven out of ten attempted threes, despite the fact that all of them were difficult shots. Jordan Hulls was tired recently, which is why I rested him today for the final of the FIBA Europe Cup on Wednesday.”