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s.Oliver Würzburg loses to top-of-the-table FC Bayern Munich

Würzburg, 03-25-2019

Three periods in which s.Oliver Würzburg were equal opponents were not enough to defeat the leaders in the easyCredit German Basketball League on Monday evening: In front of 3,140 spectators in the sold-out s.Oliver Arena, FC Bayern Munich seized a double-digit lead in the first quarter and, with all its experience, held on to that advantage. The top scorers in the Bavarian north/south derby were the two Würzburg players Jordan Hulls (17 points) and Xavier Cooks (15). “The game is over and done with. We now face the most important game in our season so far in the FIBA Europe Cup on Wednesday. If we want to have a chance of advancing to the semi-finals, we have to play with similar energy as we did today against Bayern,” said Head Coach Denis Wucherer afterwards.

Wucherer did not play the slightly injured Mike Morrison against the reigning German champions and instead included Johannes Richter in the starting five alongside Cameron Wells, Skyler Bowlin, Felix Hoffmann and Xavier Cooks. The Australian in s.Oliver Würzburg’s ranks also produced the first highlight right away: The first of his total of four slam-dunks in the encounter put the home side 4:3 in front in the 2nd minute. For several minutes after that, however, Würzburg’s shots did not want to drop and so the visitors from Bavaria’s capital were quickly able to pull away, forcing Denis Wucherer to call his first timeout with the score at 4:12 in the 6th minute.

It was only after Munich had produced a 9:0 run straddling the periods to move 11:26 ahead in the 12th minute that the home side got back into its stride in offense and proved a match for the hot favorites in the further course of the same – but without being able to reduce the deficit decisively to begin with. Although Skyler Bowlin drained a bucket from beyond the arc shortly before the break to make it 31:39, the Finnish player Petteri Koponen struck back, likewise with a three, as both teams went in with the score at 31:42.

s.Oliver Würzburg came back on court with lots of energy and, after three quick buckets by Xavier Cooks and Skyler Bowlin, Bayern’s Head Coach Dejan Radonjic was forced to call a timeout with the score at 38:45 in the 22nd minute. After that, the home side failed on several occasions to reduce the gap further by conceding unnecessary turnovers. However, it managed to do that from the 25th minute on when Xavier Cooks first tipped in a ball that rebounded from Munich’s basket and then buried two free throws, after which Jordan Hulls drained a shot from downtown to make the score 47:51.

German international Danilo Barthel stopped Würzburg’s comeback with two free throws. By the end of the third period, Munich was back in front by 13 points, since the home side again had a number of luckless actions in attack and Bayern’s playmaker Stefan Jovic added six points from the 28th to the 30th minute to make it 50:63.

The players of s.Oliver Würzburg did not give up, but were no longer able to cut the gap to single digits in the final period against a clinical opposing side. “We could have played better and defended more tenaciously in some spells. But you have to be honest and say that Bayern was the better team and won deservedly,” said Florian Koch afterwards. Joshua Obiesie drained a bucket from outside to make the final score 70:81.

Denis Wucherer noted:

“To have a chance against Bayern Munich, you have to play to the limit in all positions. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage that today. Some players were so good that it would have been possible, but unfortunately not all. Our energy level was good, and I’m also happy with how we defended. But that’s over and done now. We now face the most important game in our season so far in the FIBA Europe Cup on Wednesday. We have to play with similar energy as we did today to have a chance to advance to the semi-finals.”