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s.Oliver Würzburg defeats MHP RIESEN after trailing by 18 points

Würzburg, 01-25-2019

The winning streak continues: In its opening game of the second half of the season in the easyCredit German Basketball League, s.Oliver Würzburg repeated its victory from the earlier encounter and beat MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg 82:79 (36:44) in an extremely exciting and intense affair in the s.Oliver Arena on Friday. The home side deservedly captured its third straight win in the German league thanks to a strong comeback after trailing by 18 points in the first period. A run of eight points without reply put the club from Lower Franconia on the road to victory.

Only in the opening spell was it noticeable that medi had returned from its away game in Pristina just the day before. 46 hours after advancing to the round of 16 in the FIBA Europe Cup, it tipped off its home game against Ludwigsburg, who dominated the first period in spells, mainly thanks to an excellent 3-point field goal percentage. Felix Hoffmann put the first two points of the game on the board, after which Jordon Crawford with two buckets from downtown and the former Würzburg player Owen Klassen forced Head Coach Denis Wucherer to call his first timeout as early as the 3rd minute with the score at 2:8. The home side then closed the deficit to 8:9 within a minute, but the visitors hit back with a 16:0 run, in which Crawford notched up 11 out of his total haul of 18 points in the first period.

Two threes by Adam Waleskowski and new signing Marcos Knight gave Ludwigsburg its highest lead of the encounter (10:28) in the 9th minute. By then, however, Würzburg had finally shed the tiredness in its legs from the trip to Kosovo and started its comeback with a great deal of energy. “Even though we were well behind, I didn’t have the feeling that the game was over. We’ve been working for weeks on our identity and it’s slowly emerging,” said Wucherer afterwards. His players slowly, but surely wrested control of the game through their fight, intensity and far more tenacious defending. The home side trailed by double digits (28:37) for the first time in the 17th minute after a jump shot by Skyler Bowlin and went in a half-time 36:44 behind.

Denis Wucherer: “Our identity is slowly emerging”.

Ludwigsburg came out better after the break and began the second half with a 6:0 run to make it 36:50, but s.Oliver Würzburg struck back right away with a spurt, adding 12 points without reply. At the latest when Mike Morrison scored a thunderous alley-oop slam-dunk, the crowd burst back into life and from then on got solidly behind its team. That was followed by a bucket from beyond the arc by Cameron Wells, a spectacular dive through the air by Xavier Cooks and a three by the “Würzburg Warrior” Felix Hoffmann to make it 48:50 in the 24th minute – the game was completely up for grabs again. The visitors from Swabia narrowly kept the upper hand until the 35th minute, but then Gabriel Olaseni gave Würzburg the lead for the first time since the opening minute from the foul line (67:65). In the thrilling final phase, Ludwigsburg initially moved four points in front thanks to an and one by Aaron Best and Kelan Martin’s fourth three (69:73 in the 37th minute). However, as in the earlier game between the two, Würzburg kept its nerves in crunch time: At the back, it forced the visitors to concede two turnovers, while at the other end Jordan Hulls drained two buckets from outside – the second right in the defender’s face as the shot clock was about to run down – and Mike Morrison finished another alley-oop pass (77:73).

With 17 seconds remaining, it was again Morrison who sealed victory with two free throws to make it 82:77. s.Oliver Würzburg’s seventh win of the season means it is now only four points off a playoff spot in the easyCredit German Basketball League. Its next game in the domestic league is away to Gießen on February 3, but before that it welcomes Pinar Karsiyaka from Turkey to the s.Oliver Arena in the FIBA Europe Cup (tip-off on Wednesday, January 30, 7 p.m.).