Offensive explosion in 3rd quarter buries USC Heidelberg 97-69
Munich, September 24 - German and Bayern soccer legend Paul Breitner summed up Bayern's home opener the best: 'Simply awesome.'
He, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and 3000 other fans had a great view Saturday night at the Eissportzentrum as Jonathan Wallace scored 23 points and dished out 5 assists in a 97-69 rout of USC Heidelberg. Center Darius Hall pitched in with 17 points in the paint and German national team guard Steffen Hamann added 15 points.
After a back-and-forth first half that ended with Bayern holding a 41-36 lead, the hosts put on a three-point clinic, hitting 7 from behind the arc to break open the game and finish the quarter with a 71-50 lead. Bayern were 0-for-10 from three-point land in the first 20 minutes. During one stretch in the 3rd quarter when FCB outscored USC 18-5, Hamann and Wallace hit 2 three's each and crushed any chance for a close game at the end.
The first half was a struggle offensively for Bayern, but Hall controlled the paint, scoring 15 of his points on 6-for 7 shooting, all were easy layups. He didn't tally many rebounds, but his presence in changing shots were good enough defensively for the team to stay ahead in the match.
Despite the slow offensive start, Bayern head coach Dick Bauermann was positive at the half. "I told the team to keep up the tempo, keep taking the shots, and be aggressive. They should keep up the defensive intensity and hopefully we can find our rhythm." After the first two 3's fell in, the crowd took over. Bauermann applauded the fans for the home-court advantage. "The enthusiasm the fans brought into the arena was unbelievable."
USC head coach Thorsten Loibl credited the fans for taking his team off their game plan. "We were successful in the 1st half keeping the crowd out of it, but once Hamann started the run, we were impressed by the crowd and we couldn't stop the fans from affecting our game."
If Heidelberg were to come back, the festive crowd would not let their home side down. From the opening tip through the final buzzer, the atmosphere felt like an Oktoberfest tent. The only thing missing were the liters of beer. The crowd aided the defense into forcing Heidelberg into 16 turnovers and at least two shot clock violations.
Wallace definitely enjoyed the crowd's support offensively. After missing all four of his 3-point attempts in the 1st half, he went 4-for-6 including converting a free-throw after getting fouled on a made three. "The crowd tonight was really into the game," said the guard who played his college ball at Georgetown, so he is no stranger to large, supportive crowd.. "We really appreciate that."
40 minutes after the final buzzer, the players and coaches made sure to thank everyone in attendance. Players went up into the stands to chant and sing with the Bayern faithful, as if they accomplished their pre-season mission to get into the top flight. Bauermann was quick to curb the premature celebratory enthusiasm. "We are not going to get promoted after one dominant match. It will take 30 dominant matches. Our team is new and we are still developing our collective identity."
Bayern continue their season next weekend on the road in Jena against Science City and return home October 9th against UBC Hannover Tigers.
Upcoming home matches at the Olympia Eissportzentrum:
Saturday, October 9th FC Bayern Basketball vs. UBC Hannover Tigers, 19:30
Sunday, October 24th FC Bayern Basketball vs. BV Chemnitz 99, 17:00