Bayern Outlast Bamberg
Audi Dome, Munich – It was only the second game of the season but the matchup between the Brose Baskets of Bamberg and FC Bayern Basketball had playoffs written all over it. And both teams delivered.
Nihad Djedovic scored nine of his 14 points during crunch time including a hail-mary, buzzer beating three-pointer, to break a 73-all tie to lead Bayern to a 84-74 victory over the four-time defending champs Bamberg. Chevon Troutman also scored 14 points and John Bryant added 13 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocked shots to secure their first victory at home this season.
Djedovic’s fourth quarter spurt was key to put away Bamberg who had crawled back into a game in which they were down by 17 points at one point. Casey Jacobsen with 17 points and Anton Gavel added 11points shot the Baskets back into the game with a combined five three-pointers, but head coach Svetislav Pešić’s revamped team was too strong in the final minutes.
“We showed our mental toughness,” analyzed Pešić. “We won in Bonn in the last minutes, the same today. That gives us self-confidence the way we won in these close games.”
“(My) team showed a lot of character in bouncing back in the 2nd half, and we kind of had a better feeling of ourselves,” said Bamberg head coach Chris Fleming. “It’s unfortunate that we lost and how we lost, that banked three broke our back.”
Bayern started the game with ease, jumping out to a 24-16 lead after the first quarter. Coach Pešić was able to show off his many weapons, especially the new ones, as Bryant and Djedovic combined for 11 points to build the lead.
In the second quarter, Bayern’s returning players contributed. Troutman started off the period scoring the first six points for his team and captain Steffen Hamann’s three-pointer made it 33-18. Bryant’s bucket on the next possession made it 35-18 for the home side who were threatening to run away.
Jacobsen started the comeback with a three-pointer and then a bucket. Bryce Taylor answered for Munich with five consecutive points of his own to make it 40-26. Brose then went on a 9-2 run into halftime, Jacobsen’s three pointer the exclamation point at the end of the quarter. Bayern still up in front 42-33.
Jacobsen’s hand remained hot after the break, another three-pointer and a driving shot. Sharrod Ford’s trey made it a game once again, 48-43, timeout Bayern with 6:38 left. Over the next 10 minutes, both clubs battled back-and-forth, Munich able to hold on by answering everything Bamberg could throw at them.
Gavel’s first three at 7:02 left tied the game for the first time since 2-2 and then followed up with another trey for a 68-67 lead with 5:38 left. The tug-of-war continued till it was tied at 73-73, and Djedovic took over.
He first hit a three-pointer to break the tie, and then as the shot-clock wound down, both Bayern’s and his prayers were answered.
“Just shoot,” said Djedovic about his decision to let it go. “Shoot the ball. It was lucky. When you fight during the match and play hard defense, the basketball Gods answered on the last shot and saw the ball into the net.”
At 79-74, Troutman slammed home a fastbreak and appropriately, Djedovic with a bucket and a foul at the end of the game to complete the 11-1 run at the end.
“The good thing is, as they took the lead we kept calm and kept our head up and played till the end,” said Robin Benzing who added 8 points and 4 rebounds off the bench. “We fought and made the big shots.”
“At this point of the season, we are still developing and just not understanding what we needed to do,” explained Fleming about his team’s performance. “Everyone wants to talk about championships, we have to put together 40 minutes of compact basketball together. The championship is not close to be in our minds.”
If this is a preview of a playoffs series, or even a finals, fans of both clubs have plenty to look forward to this season.
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