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Würzburg defeats Varese by 23 points

Varese, 04-10-2019

An 89:66 win on the road at Pallacanestro Varese means that s.Oliver Würzburg has an excellent cushion for the second leg of the semi-finals in the FIBA Europe Cup. Denis Wucherer: “We literally had the fans right behind us.” Thanks to 46 points in the first half and 43 in the second, as well as magnificent defending over the whole encounter, s.Oliver Würzburg ran out clear winners by 89:66 over the ten-times Italian champions Pallacanestro Varese and has one foot in the final of the FIBA Europe Cup.

“We literally had the fans right behind us. They created a brilliant atmosphere and helped us greatly in finding our rhythm, especially at the start,” said Wucherer afterwards. In front of a crowd of 3,000 in the Enerxenia Arena, he was again able to call on center Mike Morrison, who had been injured and so missed the last two games in the easyCredit German Basketball League.

At the start of the encounter, it looked as if an evenly poised tussle would ensue like in the first leg of s.Oliver Würzburg’s first two playoff rounds in Saratov and Aarhus. The home side got off to the better start and was able to rely on power forward Tyler Cain and playmaker Aleksa Avramovic, who together scored the first 16 points for Varese by the 6th minute.

Cain notched up the first seven points to put Varese 7:3 ahead in the 2nd minute. Yet the players of s.Oliver Würzburg did not need long to get into their stride at both ends of the court. Cameron Wells, who played for Varese last season and was accompanied by booing and whistling from some home fans in the first half, gave his side the lead with a bucket from downtown (9:10 in the 4th minute).

Three minutes later, it was “sniper” Jordan Hulls who drained two quick threes to make it 17:20. After the home side called a timeout, Florian Koch added another bucket from outside (17:23) and then the visitors defended aggressively to ensure that the home side were not able to put much more on the board up to the half-time.

“Our good defense was the key. We forced Varese into taking tough shots the entire game,” said center Gabriel Olaseni. After the Italian club had already chalked up 17 points with the encounter just under six minutes old, it only managed to add 16 in the final 14 minutes of the first half, whereas s.Oliver Würzburg moved the ball well and took its chances uncompromisingly. In the 15th minute, Jordan Hulls scored five points in succession to give his side its first double digit lead (26:37), which the visitors were able to stretch to 33:46 by half time.

Things stayed that way after the break: Although the home side now drained the one or other bucket from beyond the arc, Varese was not able to reduce the margin and keep the game tight – on the contrary: s.Oliver Würzburg remained fully focused in defense and confident in attack, with the result that Hulls was able to extend the lead to more than 20 points for the first time (40:61) with his fourth three-pointer in the 26th minute.

The picture did not change much in the further course of the game – whenever Varese attempted to stage a small comeback, Wucherer’s players put up stiff resistance. In the end, they took all four periods and even led by almost 30 points (60:89) at the start of the final quarter, before Jean Salumu was able to put a better complexion on the result and drain two shots from outside to make the final score 66:89.

“We were the better team and also deserved to win by such a margin. And, of course, we’re naturally very happy with the result,” said Denis Wucherer: “But as we saw in the quarter-finals, things can change over two legs: Holon led by 33 points after the first game and that was almost not enough, while Karsiyaka closed the deficit by almost 20 points in the first half in Sassari. So we have to be fully concentrated and focused in the second leg next Wednesday if we want to advance to the final.”