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Würzburg remains unbeaten in the Europe Cup

Szolnok, 02-06-2019

12 players were used – and, with the exception of new signing Devin Oliver and Brad Lösing, none of them was on court longer than 19 minutes. Thanks to an all-round team performance, s.Oliver Würzburg also managed to remain unbeaten on the final game day of the second group stage in the FIBA Europe Cup, defeating the reigning Hungarian double-winners Szolnoki Olaj on the road by 92:83 (56:48) on Wednesday. The top scorer was youngster Joshua Obiesie, who notched up 21 points in just 19 minutes on court and drained four of his six attempted threes.

Even without captain Kresimir Loncar, who was still laboring under a wrist injury, and Jordan Hulls, who did not travel to Hungary for private reasons, Head Coach Denis Wucherer was able to draw on a full squad of twelve – of whom only one failed to get on the scoresheet. As planned, Devin Oliver, who had just signed for the club from Lower Franconia the week before, was given a lot of time on court so as to gel with his new teammates under competitive conditions. The 26-year-old wing player chalked up 12 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes and so was his side’s second-best scorer and best rebounder.

“Sir” Oliver was brought on for the first time in the 4th minute, by which time the visitors were already 4:10 ahead after a focused start. Just under a minute later, the new signing took his first shot and made it 4:14 – and it looked for a brief time that the encounter might go much like the earlier game between the two, which s.Oliver Würzburg won by the clear margin of 118:71. However, the hosts, who would still have had a chance of qualifying for the playoffs if they had won, then discovered their fighting spirit and put up more tenacious resistance. They were helped in that by the return of their injured top scorer Strahinja Milosevic: The Serbian player scored 19 points, the same tally as the Hungarian international David Vojvoda, who was hardly able to make a mark in the earlier game between the two clubs.

The home side closed the double-digit deficit and was narrowly ahead by 24:23 by the end of the first period. The Hungarian club was initially able to open up a slight gap in the second quarter (33:28 in the 23rd minute). However, s.Oliver Würzburg soon got back on track after this spell where it lost focus, producing a run of 10 points without reply between the 25th and 27th minute to move 40:46 in front – a lead it would not relinquish.

The visitors led 48:56 at the break and then stepped up their intensity in defense in the third period to as good as decide the encounter. The home side remained within striking distance up to the 27th minute (57:65), after which the club from Lower Franconia produced an 18:6 run straddling quarters to ensure victory (63:83 in the 32nd minute). Even with just over three minutes remaining, Würzburg’s lead was still 18 points (72:90), after which Szolnoki Olaj was able to put a better complexion on the scoreline in the final minutes.

s.Oliver Würzburg’s sixth win means it has finished as the best team in the second group phase and so has secured home court advantage in the second leg in all playoff rounds. The games in the Round of 16 in the competition will be drawn at FIBA’s headquarters in Munich on Thursday and played on March 6 and 13. The results of the two legs will be added – so a tie is also possible in the first game. There will be overtime in the second leg if both teams are level on aggregate at the end of regulation time.