s.Oliver Arena, Würzburg - Head coach Dirk Bauermann has FC Bayern Basketball playing more confident in the Beko BBL. Now he has to figure out how to get his team to win on the road.
s.Oliver Baskets were able to make the big shots and key defensive plays to hold off Bayern 64-55 in a close Bavarian Derby in front of 3,140 enthusiastic fans. The Baskets snapped their three game losing streak, and extended Bayern's road woes, who now have lost four in a row away from the Audi Dome.
Bauermann's men came out to steal a win at a difficult venue, jumping out to a 12-0 lead, quieting the raucous crowd temporarily. Guard Steffen Hamann scored two easy baskets and created turnovers, setting up his teammates. At the end of the 1st quarter, Hamann had 6 points, 2 steals and 2 assists.
The Baskets finally got in the game, scoring their first points after almost five minutes. But that got the crowd back into it, and s.Oliver roared back, outscoring Bayern 15-4 the rest of the way, taking a 17-16 lead. Three pointers by guards Ricky Harris and Cherster Frazier sparked the comeback.
From there, it was a tight, tense defensive battle between two teams that earned promotion from the second league of German basketball, the ProA, into the country's top professional league. Last season, both clubs played close games and their first meeting this year would be no different. The game would be tied four times, the lead would change eight times, with neither club taking more than a four-point lead.
Going into the final quarter, the game was tied at 44 apiece. Jonathan Wallace hit a trey to give Bayern their last lead. Jason Gregory Boone countered with a thunderous dunk and Chris Kramer, one of the Baskets' leading scorers, finally got a bucket and foul to get the lead back 49-47. Aleksandar Nadjfeji tied the game for the final time, Kramer scored a field goal for the 51-49 lead. After a Nadjfeji free throw, the game stalled at 51-50. Both teams reverted to a physical back-and-forth, knowing the next baskets would mean the game.
Bayern could not set up a good offensive chance, let alone buy a basket, missing three chances from beyond the arc. The Baskets missed a couple of chances to put the game away, until Ben Jacobson hit a 3-pointer with with 2:19 left. Jared Homan's shot went in-and-out, and on the other side, Boone put the final nail in this game with a ferocious dunk, and at 56-50, the Baskets had a lead that would take them to victory.
s.Oliver would hit 8-of-10 free throws to hold off the visitors and give their fans an early Christmas gift. "I'm very proud of our team, how they reacted (after the slow start)," said s.Oliver head coach John Patrick. "Guys came in off the bench gave us a lift. We knew it was going to be a 40-minute game if we can just hang in there."
Harris came off the bench and led all scorers with 15 points and three 3-pointers. "My role on this team is to be a spark off the bench offensively and defensively and do whatever I can to help this team," stated the player-of-game. "We dug ourselves in a hole early but we are team that continues to fight."
"We played really well early on and executed well against their pressure," analyzed Bauermann. "It was a close game all the way, we could have won it but we didn't."
Bayern will return from Christmas holidays for another Bavarian Derby, as they host BBC Bayreuth on Thursday, December 29th at the Audi Dome. The match will be on sport1 and tip off at 18:05 CET.