Ballers Grab a Big Road Win in Leipzig
The Bayern Ballers extended their winning streak in the German league to 13 games and remain atop the standings with only one loss on the season. In front of a crowd of 5,180 in Leipzig, Bayern beat the team from central Germany by a score of 95-77. The game against an up-and-coming opponent was not as easy as the final score might suggest and the Ballers fought a tough battle until halftime thanks in large part to the deep ball for BC. Bayern was also very happy to regain the services of Stefan Jovic who had missed several games with a foot injury and he had a nice night with 8 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists. Devin Booker had a big night and was the leading scorer overall with 24 points.
The next game for the Munich squad will be on Wednesday at 19:00 CET in the Audi Dome against EuroCup, Top16 opponent, Vilnius.
The cup qualification was also drawn on Sunday evening: In the quarter-finals, the Germans will play at home against defending champion, Bamberg. This game will be played in Ulm in mid-February. The knockout game against the Franconians will take place on Sunday January 21st at 19:00 CET at the Audi Dome.
Points per quarter, Bayern - Leipzig: 24-26, 19-17, 26-10, 26-24.
FCBB Stats: Devin Booker (24 points/6 rebounds), Milan Macvan (13/5), Maik Zirbes (12/7), Maik Zirbes (12/7), Nihad Djedovic (10/6), Stefan Jovic (8/6/9 Assists), Reggie Redding (7/4), Jared Cunningham (6/5 Assists), Danilo Barthel (6), Braydon Hobbs (6), Anton Gavel (3), Alex King (dnp).
FCBB Head Coach, Sasa Djordjevic: "This was a really tough match against a well-coached opponent, especially in the first half when they hit nine threes and got the faith and motivation to win. Like three days ago in Italy we started badly. It was only after the break that we found the energy and legs to find our way, especially on defense. It's good to have a very important player back in Stefan Jovic. He will certainly help us even more in the next important games. All in all, this was another important victory."
Maik Zirbes: "To be honest, our coach was very noisy at halftime. But we also did a lot of things wrong in the first half, which we wanted to do quite differently. The victory was important for the self-confidence after the EuroCup defeat in Turin. The second half was a good response to the weak performance in the first."
Marko Pesic, FCBB Managing Director: "With Bamberg we have of course drawn the hardest possible ticket for the cup qualifiers. But I'm sure we can count on our fans at the Audi Dome. We need to prepare well."
Anton Gavel, Jared Cunningham, Reggie Redding, Milan Macvan and Devin Booker had problems finding their way into the game at the start of the final matchday of the first round but the MBC also hit some wild shots and forced an early panic with a score of 7-0 in favor of the home underdogs. Fortunately, Reggie Redding and Devin Booker started to find their shots and they took a lot more shots than MBC who were relying mostly on three-point shots. The best part of the first quarter was the return of Jovic and players, coaches and fans alike know that he will be a big part of the success of this team moving forward. Despite finding some rhythm by the end of the quarter, MBC continued to hit their deep shots and the score at the break was in favor of the home team 26-24.
Braydon Hobbs started the scoring for Bayern in the second quarter but the Ballers were unable to get a foothold in the game in the first half and mostly because of the uncanny ability of MBC to hit their threes. The Ballers on the other hand focused on scoring in the paint and fixed their primary issue in Turin and had only one turnover in the first half. Jovic was a huge help in the end of the half and his 5 rebounds and 5 assists helped bring his team even with the home team at half 43-43.
The keys to the game were clearly stronger defense and protecting the ball but at halftime they got an earful from Coach Djordjevic most likely about defending the three-point line. Devin Booker must have gotten pumped up by the halftime speech because he scored eight points in only a few minutes and led FCBB to a 57-48 lead. The biggest difference in the quarter was defending against the three as MCB didn’t make another shot from behind the arc.
Without looking particular great, Bayern started to take the game under control and with six minute remaining in the game they had a strong lead 17-point lead. Maik Zirbes and Nihad Djedovic poured in some points and though MBC fought it’s hardest and played an impressive game, a three from Milan Macvan put the nail in the coffin and at the buzzer the score was, Bayern 95 Leipzig 77.
It was heartening to see the few turnovers and the strong second half defense after a rough game in Turin last week and with Jovic back the Ballers should continue their strong season starting this Wednesday against Vilnius.