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s.Oliver Würzburg suffers 71:88 defeat at ALBA BERLIN

Berlin, 09-28-2019

The encounter in the last sixteen of the MagentaSport German cup at ALBA BERLIN was almost a carbon copy of the game two days previously, not only in terms of the final result, but also because of how the game panned out. Like in Oldenburg on Thursday, s.Oliver Würzburg was able to keep the cup tussle in the Max Schmeling Arena up for grabs until well into the fourth period, before the favorites produced a decisive 13:0 run to pull away and move into the quarter-finals with a 92:81 victory. The top scorer was Berlin’s new signing Marcus Eriksson with 19 points. Five Würzburg players got into double figures – Jordan Hulls, who notched up 18 points and drained 5 of his 6 shots from downtown, deserves special mention.

The starting five remained the same, but s.Oliver Würzburg got into the encounter far better than in the 82:90 defeat in Oldenburg: Johannes Richter began again in the center position and was at full tilt right from the outset: He first made a lay-up with a bonus free throw on the first attack, then snapped up an offensive rebound, which was finished with a slam-dunk to tie the scores at 5:5 in the second minute. In a true cup fight that grew in intensity as the game went on, the crowd of 7,233 in the Max Schmeling Arena saw an evenly poised opening spell (14:12 in the 5th minute), after which ALBA BERLIN was able to open up a clearer gap for the first time. That was mainly due to the fact that the visitors lacked accuracy in their shooting from beyond the arc, draining just one of their six attempts in the first period.

Last season’s runners-up, who were without three injured rotation players (Peyton Siva, Stefan Peno and Johannes Thiemann) led by 25:19 after the first period. But not for long: Jordan Hulls and Brekkott Chapman ended the barren spell from downtown to tie the scores at 27:27 in the 13th minute. Eight points in a row by Marcus Eriksson forced Head Coach Denis Wucherer to call a timeout with the score at 37:31 in the 16th minute, and then the “Sniper from Indiana” switched into top gear just a little time later: Jordan Hulls drained three out of three shots from outside to equalize (44:44) in the 19th minute. The first half ended with two more threes by Jonas Mattissek for Berlin and Joshua Obiesie for Würzburg – back in July, the pair won bronze together in the U20 European championships with Nils Haßfurther in the German national team.

After the break, it was more than four minutes before Cameron Wells was able to add a lay-up (58:49) – Würzburg’s first points in the second half in the face of focused defending by Berlin. After a 9:0 run by the home side at the start of the third period, that sparked a comeback: The visitors now increased the pressure in defense, themselves scored nine points without reply and, thanks to an 11:2 spurt, closed the gap to 60:58 in the 29th minute. However, they then conceded several turnovers, which the home side exploited to score easy points and move 66:61 in front at the end of the third quarter.

At the start of the final period, ALBA extended its lead to double digits again with two buckets by top scorer Marcus Eriksson (75:65 in the 34th minute), after which Florian Koch was able to reduce the deficit to 75:71 with two threes. However, the favorites produced a 13:0 run in the space of two minutes – again abetted by a number of mistakes and losses of possession by Würzburg – to make it 88:71 and seal victory. “It’s a pity that we weren’t able to reap the rewards for our good displays. We threw all we had into the two games in three days,” said Koch afterwards.

Würzburg now has Sunday off and then starts on Monday to prepare for its first home game of the season on Saturday, October 5, when BG Göttingen comes to the s.Oliver Arena (tip-off: 6 p.m.).