Audi Dome, Munich - Bayern Basketball may have signed new players to survive in the Beko BBL, but it was the old guard that helped Bayern Basketball hold off the hard-charging WALTER Tigers Tübingen 86-77.
Last year's core of Aleksandar Nadjfeji scored 16 points to lead all scorers, Jonathan Wallace and Darius Hall added 13 and 11 points respectively to earn the newly promoted side their second home win.
"The guys who were here last year, they are doing a great job," said head coach Dirk Bauermann.
The key was the team's energy guy, Hall who provided the opening sparks to help the team through their slow start. Bayern did not score a point for the first four minutes of the game until substitute Hall came in. "Coach called my number and asked 'give me your energy'." He got a bucket and foul to give the home side a 3-2 lead, one they would never relinquish. Hall and Wallace together scored as many points (12) as the Tigers in the entire quarter.
Hall, Nadjfeji and Wallace would combine for 21 points along with 10 assists from Steffen Hamann to help Bayern build a 16 point lead after three quarters against their younger, inexperience opponents. And at the beginning of the 4th quarter, three-pointers by Jan-Hendrik Jagla and Wallace would give the home side a 20-point lead. Game over, right?
The scrappy Tigers went on a 14-0 run thanks to hustle buckets, steals and three pointers. Two timeouts by Dirk Bauermann could not stop the Tiger charge and with 3 minutes left, Bayern only led 75-69.
"We had a couple of turnovers, they made some lucky shots," recalled Bauermann. "They played with a renewed sense of confidence and believing they can win. We thought we may lose this game and start playing tight."
That's when the experience and talent of Bayern took over. Wallace hit a long-range shot from beyond the arc right after the timeout, and Je'kel Foster hit another three with 1:31 left to build back the lead. Foster represented the new guys by adding 15 points.
"We relaxed a little bit and stopped doing what we did to get the lead, and they made a run," said the former Ohio State Buckeye. "We were fortunate to make big shots but we have to learn play 40 minutes, not just 25 minutes."
"This was only our 3rd match, it will take time to build our concentration and not lose it," admitted Bauermann. But he was satisfied how his team stepped it up at the right time. "That's the hard thing to do, when the pressure is on, to make those kind of shots. It was important to win these two home games and we can build from here."
Bayern travel over the weekend to take on BG Göttingen on Saturday. The Ballers return home on Saturday, October 22nd as the Phoenix Hagen come to the Audio Dome. Tip-off at 19:00.
Euro Challenge for the Bayern - Earlier in the week, FC Bayern Basketball found out their opponents for the Eurocup group phase. Benetton Basket from Italy, Spartak St. Petersburg from Russia and Cedevita Zagreb of Croatia will pose a challenge for the Bavarian auto-qualifiers. Zagreb and Benetton were in the final four of this competition.
"We are starting this competition with a really difficult group," commentated Bayern Basketball Sports Director Marco Pesic. "We are looking forward to the challenge and we will be prepared for the competition."
The first Eurocup match will be against Benetton at the Audi Dome on Novermber 15th.