Bayern Hold Off Bamberg 67-59
FC Bayern Basketball survived an intense, defensive battle against Brose Bamberg with the 67-59 win in the Basketball Bundesliga in front of a sold-out crowd at the Audi Dome on Sunday night.
Munich broke open the tight affair in the first half with a tremendous third quarter, outscoring their Bavarian rivals 22-9. Vladimir Lucic hit key three-pointers in the frame and finished with 11 points. Nick Johnson also hit a key three-ball and led the Reds with 12 points.
Bamberg made a run in the final quarter however Maxi Kleber stopped the rally and punctuated the win with a monster dunk. The Reds serve notice to the defending league champions and improved their outlook for the upcoming BBL playoffs.
Bayern will travel north to take on the Basketball Löwen (Lions) of Braunschweig next Sunday afternoon, March 26th. The Reds return home Sunday evening, April 2nd to host Science City Jena. Tip-of is 18:00 CET at the Audi Dome.
Scoring by quarter (FCBB - BAMB): 18-16, 9-12, 22-9, 18-22
FC Bayern Team Boxscore: Nick Johnson (12 points), Vladimir Lucic (11/3-for-4 3pt FG), Maik Zirbes (10/7 rebounds), Reggie Redding (8), Devin Booker (8), Nihad Djedovic (7), Maxi Kleber (4/5 reb), Danilo Barthel (4), Anton Gavel (3), Bryce Taylor (5 reb), Alex King and Dru Joyce.
Sasa Djordjevic, Head Coach, FCBB: "This was a very important night for us as a club, I believe as a team, because we played against the champion and to play a certain way. The plan was to play with this intensity, to regain, or gain the belief that we can play against a team with this quality. Of course they came in only three days after playing Fenerbahce (in the EuroLeague) which is not the best physical shape for a team. They have a deep bench, a lot of players and very well-coached. This was a big challenge for us. We took it as a challenge, we came out strong, and we came out with our energy. We relied on our defense and I believe that gave us the strength to play in a certain way in the second half. Offensively, we found something with (Vladimir) Lucic in the second half, some creation out of Reggie (Redding), we just took the game home. It's just one good game, we just have to look forward to meet whomever we meet in this path in the Bundesliga. We are looking forward to challenge (Bamberg) and the teams in front of us. I feel we have to loosen up and just play basketball."
Andrea Trinchieri, Head Coach, BAMB: "Congratulations to Bayern. They played a solid game, they deserved to win. We didn't play a good game, we were decent in the first half but we had dead legs during the whole game. We didn't match their energy. In the first half, when we set up open three-point shots, and you don't score, and you are tired from the EuroLeague game, it's hard especially against a team that played very hard like Bayern did tonight."
Reggie Redding, Small Forward, FCBB: "We were home today. First game they killed us at their place, we lost a tough one in the Cup (in Berlin) and it was sold out today and we just wanted to be aggressive and show that in the playoffs that we can beat any team especially at home and that's what we showed tonight. We had a great week of practice, we were able to do things that we haven't been able to work on in a long time with travel and playing, so Coach (Djordjevic) got after us a little this week. One thing today was that we wanted to be aggressive on defense and I think this week really helped us out and see what we can do from here."
FCBB Head Coach Sasa Djordjevic selected former Bamberg players Anton Gavel and Maik Zirbes to join Bryce Taylor, Vladimir Lucic and Maxi Kleber as the starting five for the top game of the weekend in the Basketball Bundesliga. Bamberg and Bayern came in sitting in second and third place in the standings, respectively, and winners of 18 in a row combined. The Bavarian heavyweights spent the first quarter sizing each other up and not playing basketball, which resulted in a defensive first half. Zirbes opened the scoring with a bucket (2-0, 1' minute) but it took the Reds another three minutes to score again as Zirbes added a pair of free-throws (4-4, 4'). Nick Johnson's three-point play (7-7, 6') and Danilo Barthel's post move and score (9-9, 7') tied the game for Munich. Nihad Djedovic nailed a three-pointer to tie the game up once again (16-16, 9') until Devin Booker's layup gave Bayern the 18-16 lead right before the buzzer. (10')
Bamberg turned up the defense to start the second quarter, keeping Munich scoreless for the first five minutes, even after Coach Djordjevic called timeout after the team fell behind (18-21, 13'). Kleber got the team going with a huge rejection on one end and then drove through the lane to keep Bayern close (20-21, 15'). The offense continued to act out of sync as the Reds' turnovers kept coming and the defending champions extended their lead (20-26, 17'). Booker helped start the scoring spurt before the break, first with the layup and after a Bamberg turnover, a short jump hook (24-26, 19'). Coach Djordjevic had to call time after his team gave up a relatively easy fastbreak transition hoop to fall behind 28-24, but Reggie Redding drained the trey to keep Bayern within one point at halftime. (27-28, 20')
Redding earned the 29-28 lead for Munich and Lucic connected for three from the corner, Bamberg called timeout (32-28, 23'). The visitors scratched back to tie the game up at 32-all, but Lucic was moving well without the ball. Booker found the Serbian under the basket for the score and later, Lucic was on-target from beyond-the-arc (39-35, 27'). Johnson forced consecutive turnovers and the Reds added to their lead with free-throws (42-35, 29'). Johnson hit nothing but net from the top of the key for three, and the Munich defense held Bamberg scoreless the final 3:39 of the quarter, the 13-0 run earned Bayern the 49-37 lead heading into the final quarter. (30')
After playing intense games all season in the EuroLeague, and winning the German Cup with a roster full of international stars, Bamberg were not going to go away easily. Niko Zisis dished the alley-opp to Daniel Theis who dunked it home, Zisis followed with a trey as did Jerel McNeal, and the visitors stayed close (50-43, 35'). After Barthel drove through the defense for the layup, Redding stole the ball and started the fastbreak the other way. "Mad Maxi" finished the counter by hammering home the monster dunk, sending the soldout crowd into a frenzy and forcing Bamberg to call timeout (57-46, 37'). Darius Miller, not a stranger to the basketball madness of March while winning the U.S. college title at Kentucky, answered right back with a three-point-play and then a three-ball (60-53, 38'). Lucic stepped up yet again, his three-pointer put the Reds back up by 10, 63-53 with less than a minute left and Zirbes scored twice to ice the 67-59 win. Munich's nine game win streak bring them closer to Bamberg in the standings and the win serves notice to the defending league champions and the rest of the BBL that a battle awaits in the playoffs.
Basketball Bundesliga, Gameday 27:
Sunday, March 26th, 15:30 CEST
FC Bayern Basketball at Basketball Löwen Braunschweig
Basketball Bundesliga, Gameday 28:
Sunday, April 2nd, 18:00 CEST, Audi Dome
FC Bayern Basketball vs. Science City Jena
Basketball Bundesliga, Gameday 29:
Saturday, April 8th, 18:00 CEST
FC Bayern Basketball at ratiopharm ulm
Basketball Bundesliga, Gameday 30:
Thursday, April 13th, 20:30 CEST, Audi Dome
FC Bayern Basketball vs. Telekom Baskets Bonn