Mission Back on Track

Bayern Basketball shoot lights out in 99-61 trashing of Essen

Olympia Eissportzentrum, Munich, November 7 - The mission for the season was clear:  promotion.  And how to accomplish this goal was repeated by everyone in the organization, from management to the players:  go undefeated.  The expectation, nay arrogance, to win every game that comes from the FC Bayern football side had seeped to the basketball team.  But then came two lack-luster matches, injuries to key players, and a loss at Würzburg that had the team wondering if it was really going to be as easy as they hoped to win promotion.

Well, nothing cures all like a win.  Four Bayern players scored in double-figures to dominate Essen 99-61 in front of 3,218 fans Saturday night at the Olympia Eissportzentrum.  The win keeps the team at the top end of the table, even on points with two other clubs.  Bayern remain undefeated at home, winning the four matches by an average of 25 points.

"I'm happy with how the match went," said a satisfied Bayern head coach Dirk Bauermann.  "The crowd was sensational tonight and I'm happy that everyone went home with a good feeling.  It was a great evening for Bayern Basketball:  we excited the fans, it was a clear victory, and no one was injured."

Jonathan Wallace in the rhythm Saturday nightThe match did not start off like it would be easy for the hosts.  Essen attacked the Bayern press early to earn easy baskets including a fastbreak dunk by Morgan Edward Lewis had the visitors up 12-4.  Bauermann then substituted in Darius Hall and Bastian Doreth who both changed the energy of the team and the flow of the game.  "They were huge off the bench, they changed the whole complexion of the game," assessed Bauermann.

Hall's presence defensively and his two sweet passes to set up baskets got the team going on both ends and Doreth took over at the point to allow Jonathan Wallace to take over at the shooting guard position.

Wallace proceeded to hit two long range jumpers to get in a groove that he wouldn't lose and scored a team-high 17 points on the night.  "My first couple of shot came in rhythm as my teammates got me open," said Wallace thankfully.  "The offense was more fluid tonight, we were firing open shots and knocking them down."  Bayern finished the first quarter on a 19-6 run and then outscored Essen 27-10 in the 2nd quarter.  They never looked back.

The team shot 64% from the floor including 46% from 3-point range.  Wallace hit 6-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-5 3-pointers, Robert Garrett scored 16 points (5-7 FG, 3-5 from beyond the arc), Aleksander Nadjfeji added 14 points (7-11 from the floor), and Artur Kolodziejski had 11 points thanks to a triple of open trey's.  For awhile, it looked like shooting practice for the boys in red.

"It was clear after their loss we would face a strong and motivated opponent," said Essen head coach Igor Krizanovic.  "We were able to stay close despite their comeback, but then Bayern came at us defensively, we didn't make our shots and we fell behind.  We made it tough for ourselves with the turnovers and fouls."

Bauermann agreed with Krizanovic's assessment of the match, and gave credit to his team's work to overcome the obstacles.  "We went through two weeks of two-a-day practices, they were intense, after awhile brought back the rhythm and coordination, and then the self-confidence for our team.  Going into each match, we are going to be the favorites - at home, on the road - we know what the task is, we want to enjoy the matches but we are aware of the expectations."  Mission: Promotion is back on track.

FCB travel to Kirchheim to take on the Knights Saturday night who are right behind in the table with 12 points.  Bayern return home on Saturday, November 20th as they host the Crailsheim Merlins.  Tip-off at 19:30 at the Olympia Eissportzentrum.


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