Bayern Best Khimki, Clinch Top Spot in Group F
FC Bayern Basketball came to Russia to win, and they did just that, making a statement while defeating Khimki Moscow 96-74 in OT to complete the Top 16 Round of the EuroCup.
Both Bayern and Khimki played for the group's top spot in an intense game. Bayern exhibited team basketball with 27 assists and winning the battle of the boards 43-28. All players who Head Coach Sasa Djordjevic sent in scored. The Reds finished the game with a phenomenal overtime, outscoring their Russian hosts 24-2.
Maxi Kleber led the way for the Reds with a double-double, scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Nihad Djedovic added 17 points as Bayern clinch the top spot in Group F and now will have homecourt advantage in the Quarterfinals round.
Unicaja Malaga will visit the Audi Dome to start a best-of-three series starting Tuesday, February 28th for a 20:00 CET tip-off. Bayern will have a tremendous opportunity to make club history if they win this series and make an international semifinal round.
The Reds will travel to the German capital this weekend to take on ALBA BERLIN in the Bundesliga, a preview of the following weekend's BBL Top Four semifinals. Tip-off is Sunday, February 12th at 15:30 CET. Bayern will return home on Valentine's Day for the makeup game against BG Göttingen (February 14th, 20:30 CET).
Scoring by quarter (FCBB - KHIM): 15-16, 19-10, 19-25, 19-21, 24-2
FC Bayern Team: Maxi Kleber (21 points/10 rebounds), Nihad Djedovic (17/6 reb), Nick Johnson (15/4 assists), Devin Booker (11/8 reb), Anton Gavel (8/4 ast), Danilo Barthel (8), Alex King (7), Bryce Taylor (4), Reggie Redding (3/8 ast), and Vladimir Lucic (2). DNP: Marvin Ogunsipe and Karim Jallow.
Sasa Djordjevic, Head Coach, FCBB: "This was a great team victory against a very strong team with individual quality. 27 assists demonstrate how we want to play basketball. We defended 38 and a half minutes very well, unfortunately we gave them a chance at the end to get back into the game with our mistakes. We could have ended this earlier, but in the overtime, we defended with focus and forced them to once again make tough shots. In the end, they had 23% three-point-FG percentage, which is their strength. We played good transition defense and also won the rebounding battle - that was the key. Now we won the group and have homecourt advantage for the quarterfinals, that was our goal. Malaga is a very experienced team with athletes and a coach who knows how to play such games. We have to stay hungry to reach the next round."
Nihad Djedovic, Shooting Guard, FCBB: "It was a good game. We got what we wanted: the victory and first place. We played well and we want to continue."
Bryce Taylor, Shooting Guard, FCBB: "We tried to take away their three-point-shot. We succeeded in doing so. Our great strength is team play. Everyone can make the shots, and that builds self-trust. This team basketball is our greatest quality."
Head Coach Sasa Djordjevic called on Anton Gavel, Reggie Redding, Vladimir Lucic, Maxi Kleber and Danilo Barthel to start the final game in Group F of the EuroCup Top 16 for Bayern and Khimki, both teams alive to win the group and earn homecourt advantage for the quarterfinals. Kleber needed 90 seconds for Munich's first points on the scoreboard, his three-pointer earned the visitors' first lead of the game (3-2, 2' minute). The starting five revealed their gameplan in orderly fashion as they tried to establish their rhythm from the outside and energetically snapped up the resulting rebounds. Khimki Head Coach Ivanovic called the early timeout (8-4, 5'). Bayern lost their offensive rhythm after that and were scoreless for over three minutes, except for Alex King's trey. But a strong defense and dominant rebounding effort (8-3) led to an even start (11-11, 8'). Six turnovers by the Reds in the first ten minutes meant only a one-point deficit after the first quarter. (15-16, 10')
Bayern regained control of the game as they dominated the board (14-5) and also profited from the Russian inability to find their way into the game (0-for-5 3pt-FGs) and thus trailed to Munich (19-18, 13'). Moscow's star Alexey Shved starting making his shots which helped the hosts break free (19-24, 15'). Bayern's answer was "Mad" Maxi Kleber who tied the game with his third three-ball so far in the game (24-24, 16'). Barthel completed the 7-0 run, leading to Khimki calling timeout again (26-24, 16'). The hosts were clearly suffering on offense as they could not score for almost six minutes. The Bayern's recipe for success continued - grab the rebounds (21-10) and played focused on defense. And thanks to ten offensive rebounds, the Reds went into the halftime break up 34-26. (20')
As expected, Khimki came back out from the halftime break with lots of energy and quickly cut their deficit down to four points (37-33, 23'). Bayern had problems to keep up with the tempo of the matchup, thus up by a mere point in the middle of the quarter (40-39, 25'). The Reds kept calm despite the many whistles by the refs calling fouls and Shved now warming up, finding his stroke. With the knowledge of the 16-point cushion earned in the first leg between the two team, FCBB was able to stay close, even taking a lead heading to the final quarter.(53-51, 30')
Yet another fast start by the Reds, this time it was Gavel who needed only 90 seconds into the final period to force Khimki to call timeout. Gavel's personal 5-0 run extended the lead to nine points (60-51, 32'). Once again, Bayern were impressive as all ten players seeing action had now scored and the team racked up 20 assists to underline Munich's strong performance before the end of the quarter (64-57, 35'). The game was now set up for an exciting race to the finish. Luckily for Bayern, at least the standing finishes were no longer in question. After a few mistakes by Bayern on offense where they could not convert, the game was tied at 72-all after regulation.
Bayern started well in OT: Nick Johnson for three, Djedovic scored a basket, and Kleber sank his free-throws (79-72, 43'). With enormous passion, the guests once again took over dictating the game. Front-and-center was Kleber again, his three-pointer increased the lead to double-digits and the game was decided (82-72, 43'). The Reds finished the final group game with a 17-0 run to win 96-74 and clinch top spot in their group and earn homecourt advantage in the Quarterfinals.
Basketball Bundesliga, Gameday 21:
Sunday, February 12th, 15:30 CET
FC Bayern Basketball at ALBA BERLIN
Basketball Bundesliga, Gameday 22:
Tuesday, February 14th, 20:30 CET, Audi Dome
FC Bayern Basketball vs. BG Göttingen
BBL Top Four in Berlin, Semifinal:
Saturday, February 18th, 17:00 CET
FC Bayern Basketball vs. ALBA BERLIN
BBL Top Four in Berlin, Final/3rd Place
Sunday, February 19th, TBD
FC Bayern Basketball vs. TBD