Rice Cooks Berlin
Bayern’s streak goes on as ALBA struggles
Audi Dome, Munich – German basketball fans got a possible preview of next month’s Top Four league cup competition on Sunday. If the regular season matchup between FC Bayern Basketball and ALBA BERLIN was any indication, expect fireworks next month.
Tyrese Rice scored 25 points and Robin Benzing hit all five of his three-point attempts as Bayern defeated Berlin 79-61. Munich extended their home win streak to seven and took over second place in the BEKO Basketball Bundesliga standings.
Berlin got 21 points from German international Heiko Schaffartzik, who matched Benzing with five from beyond the arc, but no one else from the visitors could reach double figures.
Sport Eagle TV Postgame – FC Bayern Basketball vs. FRAPORT SKYLINERS, Beko BBL
ALBA had never lost a game to Bayern, but the team from the capital city had lost their last three on the road. From the tip-off, Bayern were strong, demonstrating their improved defense that helped them to open up spaces to score. Berlin on the other hand, seemed tired. They were trying hard to not let the Bayern lead become too big, staying close at halftime, down 37-30.
ALBA started the second half on a 12-3 run, to take their only lead of the game 42-40. Schaffartzik hit a pair of treys to temporarily turn the tide. But Benzing replied with a three-pointer to get the lead back, and Rice added another one from downtown to spark a 13-5 run to end the third quarter, Munich were back up 53-47 heading into the final 10 minutes.
Chevon Troutman and Brandon Thomas joined Rice and Benzing in the fourth quarter, all four dropping in three’s as Bayern continued to run away and win quite easily 79-61.
It’s been a historic week for Bayern Basketball. Before beating Berlin for the first time ever, on Thursday they defeated the three-time defending cup champions Brose Baskets on the road to qualify for the Top Four on March 23-24, hosted by ALBA. The draw is on Wednesday, Munich will find out if they will have a rematch with Berlin, or face the Artland Dragons or ratiopharm ulm in the first game. No matter the pairings, it will be an exciting weekend of German professional basketball.
Munich will look to continuing their home streak next Saturday night when the s.Oliver Baskets from Würzburg enter the Dome. Berlin return home to host the Bremerhaven Polar Bears on Sunday. Before then, ALBA will try to stay alive in the Euroleague, hoping to improve their 1-5 record in the Top 16, as Unicaja Malaga come to the o2 World on Valentine’s Day.
Game notes: The game was sold out at the Audi Dome, an accomplishment given the early start time… Celebrities at the game included professional tennis player Andrea Petkovic and Munich’s #1 basketball fan Bastian Schweinsteiger. The world class footballer for FC Bayern München was a co-commentator for a German TV station that broadcast the game nationally and on web stream… There’s a shared history between FC Bayern Basketball and ALBA BERLIN. Current Bayern head coach Svetislav Pešić and his assistant coach Emir Mutapcic have worked for Berlin, guard Je’Kel Foster was on Bayern last season before joining Berlin this season, and current Berlin head coach Saša Obradović played for ALBA when Pešić was the coach. And together, they won the Eurobasket 2001 tournament for the former country of Yugoslavia.
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