Bayern Cruising to Playoffs
Audi Dome, Munich – With a few games left in the regular season, FC Bayern Basketball are focused on holding onto to the top seed heading into the playoffs. They may have dispatched MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg Thursday night but have to face them again next month.
Robin Benzing scored 18 points and recently crowned regular season league MVP Malcolm Delaney added 14 points and 6 assists as Bayern led wire-to-wire in a 92-67 win versus Ludwigsburg.
Munich have won their last four games at home to improve to 15-1 and hold a slight edge for home-court advantage throughout the BEKO Basketball Bundesliga playoffs.
Michael Stockton – son of NBA legend John Stockton of the Utah Jazz and the original Dream Team – led the visitors with 12 points. However, Stockton and his teammates were way overmatched and lost a chance to solidify the final spot in the playoffs.
Before the game, the highlight for the fans was the announcement that Delaney was named league’s MVP in his first year in Munich. The Baltimore native is scoring 10.4 points per game and dishing out 4.9 assists. Sure, those stats are not at the LeBron James-Kevin Durant level, however his impact on the team with his leadership and big time shots have been key as the team has reached new heights, leading the league standings and with a legitimate shot at winning a championship. His role in the team’s Euroleague season perhaps also had an influence on the voting.
Delaney and Bryce Taylor put their collective stamps on this game in the second half. Between the second and third quarters, Ludwigsburg cut the Bayern lead down to seven points after an 11-0 run. Taylor got hot with his trademark energy. A three-pointer, dunk and hoop built the lead back up to 16 points. He would finish with 10 points. Delaney converted four straight free-throws to end the quarter and built the lead to 20 points.
Delaney, the former Virginia Tech Hokie, started the final quarter with a trey and added another one downtown as Bayern hit cruise control and buried Ludwigsburg, who now have to win their last two games to secure the final playoff spot.
Bayern travel to play two teams at the bottom of the league table and will finish the season hosting two-time Cup winner ALBA Berlin, a game that may decide the top seed, with the Brose Baskets Bamberg waiting in the wings.
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