Bayern wins opening game in Ulm 83-77
Bayern starts the new season with a difficult road win in Ulm. In front of 6,200 fans in the sold-out hall in Neu-Ulm, the defending champion triumphed 83-77 after 40 hotly contested minutes. The top scorer on the night was Finnish national player, Petteri Koponen with 18 points and point guard Stefan Jovic shone with 17 points. The champion won the rebound duel 39-27.
Points per quarter Bayern - Ulm:
27-19, 19-19, 16-19, 21-19
Petteri Koponen (18 points), Stefan Jovic (17), Vladimir Lucic (13), Devin Booker (10/12 rebounds), Alex King (10) Danilo Barthel (7/8 rebounds), Nihad Djedovic (3) Maodo Lo (3), Braydon Hobbs (2), Marvin Ogunsipe, Nemanja Dangubic, Robin Amaize (dnp.)
Stefan Jovic, Petteri Koponen, Vladimir Lucic, Danilo Barthel and Devin Booker started in the first game of the season for the BBL champion and Jovic started their scoring with a two-point bucket out of the gate. At the end of the first quarter, the Munich team pulled away a bit, even though Per Günther brought the lead back into the single-digit range with a Buzzerbeater and the score was 27-19. The Bavarians were already convincing in the first quarter with good rebound work. Jovic and Alex King had seven points each.
The Ulmers came on strongly after the first quarter break and scored five fast points to make it 27-24 which led coach Dejan Radonjic to take his first time-out. After the break, the Bavarians stopped the run and went on one of their own to build a small lead. However, Ulm again shortened the gap shortly before the end of the half and took the score to 46-38 for Bayern. King was the best shooter with ten points and 100 % from the field.
After the break, Vladimir Lucic brought the lead back into the double-digit range with a bucket to make it 48-38. Until the final phase of the third stage, the champions were always ten points ahead. But when Katin Reinhardt (15 points) threatened to run hot, Radonjic took another time-out but still the lead had shrunk to five points at 62-57.
With an early three-point lead, Günther brought his team up to within two points at the beginning of the final quarter - but Koponen knew how to answer in a direct countermove and restored the old five-point lead at 65-60. In an exciting final phase the strong Jovic (7 of 10) took over the scepter and brought the Bavarians back to five points up with four important points of his own. With one of his fourth successful three-pointers and two free-throws, Koponen helped decide the game in favor of Bayern with a final of 83-77.
Coach Dejan Radonjic: "We have a special preseason behind us, like many Euroleague teams, which lacked national players in the preparation. We only had a few days with all the players in training, so today it was important to play well and win. I hope that we can now work more together in the next few weeks. We missed Leon because he's sick. The home advantage here has a big influence. We have played very well in some phases, but not in others; that's because we had so few units together. But the most important thing is victory, it gives us time."
Petteri Koponen: "We won, so I'm happy. It's never easy to go through here. We still have a lot of work to do and we have to improve, it's just the beginning of the season. We have to help each other and get better. Our goal this season is to defend the double championship, that's why we work hard every day. In the EuroLeague we're sure to have some surprises in store for us."
Danilo Barthel: "We played well at times - especially on offense. Defensively we still have some mistakes to fix in the next games. Before the EuroLeague starts, we still have some training sessions ahead of us."
Ulms coach Thorsten Leibenath: "Congratulations to the Bavarians, that was a deserved victory. I have the feeling that we lost the game more than they won it. We missed eight points that we really should have had - if we put four of them in, we're two points ahead. The opponent punished our mistakes. We didn't get Jovic under control nor Koponen in many phases."