Bayern extends BBL lead with 76-68 win in Vechta

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The FC Bayern Munich basketball team scored an important away win at the reunion with last year's semi-final opponent. The German champions won in a thrilling and fierce game in front of a sold-out crowd in Rasta Vechta, 76-68. Due to the unexpected defeat of runners-up Berlin in Göttingen, the Bayern lead is now already up to three games (6 points) over Berlin and Ludwigsburg. 

In front of 3,140 spectators in the once again very atmospheric Rasta Dome, Vechta played strong for over 40 minutes and forced a total of 19 Munich turnovers. The FCBB, however, countered with a focused defense, dominated on the boards (35-26) and with assists (20-11) and were never behind at any point of the game. In the decisive phase they reduced their turnovers decisively. Captain Vladimir Lucic, in the absence of Danilo Barthel (back), again had a strong performance with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds. Petteri Koponen shone as the top scorer of the game and converted five of six three-pointers.

The next home game will be on Friday (January 10th, 20:30) in the Euroleague against title defenders ZSKA Moscow at the Audi Dome.


Points per quarter Bayern - Vechta: 27-16, 10-17, 18-9, 21-26.

Facts & Figures - Two-point shooting: 56% (FCBB) // 71% (Vechta); Three-point shooting: 41% // 24%; Free throws: 76% // 71%; Rebounds: 35 // 26; Assists: 20 // 11; Turnovers: 19 // 16 - Injured: TJ Bray (in training), Danilo Barthel (back problems).

FCBB stats: Petteri Koponen (19 points/5 threesomes), Greg Monroe (12/8 rebounds), Vladimir Lucic (11/11 rebounds), Maodo Lo (9), Alex King (7/5 assists), Nihad Djedovic (7/5 rebounds), Paul Zipser (4), Josh Huestis (4), Leon Radosevic (3), Mathias Lessort and Diego Flaccadori.


FCBB head coach, Dejan Radonjic: "Congratulations to the players. This is another good win for us considering our schedule. We had a good start at both ends of the court. In the second quarter everything changed a bit, we had way too many ball losses. But at the beginning of the second half our defense was excellent and we controlled the game. Only towards the end we made a few bad decisions, which they used to hit a few threes. Still, it was a good game on defense for us overall and a good win."

Maodo Lo: "Vechta's way of creating pressure makes it difficult, so we had a lot of turnovers. But in the end we adjusted well and 'Kopo' hit very important shots. In the end, we managed to make the right moves. Winning in Vechta is always tough, so we're satisfied.

Petteri Koponen: "In the end we were more focused. We reduced the turnovers, forced the opponent to run and kept control of a good defense. That was the key to success. Now we have to show that energy in the EuroLeague and change the direction, because we know that we can keep up with the teams internationally.

1st quarter

FCBB coach Dejan Radonjic started the game with Maodo Lo, Nihad Djedovic, Vladimir Lucic, Alex King and Leon Radosevic. After two turnovers, Bayern's first shot was a Lucic triple to give them a 3-0 lead (2nd minute of the game). Vechta was on the heels of the Munich team with the help of the enthusiastic home crowd and tied the score at 8-8.  Paul Zipser and Greg Monroe brought fresh energy from the bench and Nihad Djedovic scored five points in a row to give Bayern the biggest lead so far, 16-11. Munich now had the problem of turnovers under control and rebounding too. In combination with a good defense, the result was a 9-0 run. After the first quarter, the Munich team had earned a 27-16 lead.

2nd quarter

Rasta Vechta demonstrated their play-off ambitions with a passionate defense which brought them back into the game. Only one Monroe bucket was scored by Munich while Vechta scored eight times - time out Bayern, 29-24.  Bayern started to hit their shots again and retok a double-digit lead at 35-24. The biggest problem for the FCBB remained the turnovers, which were also in the double-digit range at this early stage of the game - the result was a 9-0 run by Vechta who were now only two-points back. In the following time-out, coach Radonjic complained that his team was not getting the ball to the big men, but in the following attack they did and took a 37-33 lead at half-time.

King self-critically said during the break: "We have to take better care of the ball, that starts with me. But we also had some good play. We just have to keep doing that in the second half - we must show the opponent that we didn't come here to give away a victory.

3rd quarter

Djedovic used his routine and scored the first basket in the second half, 39-33. During the next five minutes, the Munich team did not get much in the way of offense, with the exception of a three-pointer by Alex King. At least it looked better on defense and Vechta was held at arms length. The error for both teams were getting ridiculous and the quarter was fittingly low-scoring. Munich was again up by ten after a Koponen three with two minutes left in the third quarter. The strong defense of the Bavarians in this phase forced the hosts to make mistakes and Koponen heated up to help his team start to pull away.  The FCBB put in a strong quarter-finish, but the last spectacular shot of the half was made by Jordan Davis and Vechta for a score of 55-42.

4th quarter

Greg Monroe was looked for under the basket and paid off with a three-point play. A small 5-0 run by Vechta was stopped by Josh Huestis with two successful free throws to retake an 11-point lead. Excellent ball movement led to an important Lucic steal and Lo bucket, time-out Vechta.  An cheeky triple from Petteri Koponen at a distance of ten meters caused incredulous amazement on the ranks and in the following attack the Finn immediately sank another, his fifth triple. The victory seemed to be in the bag already, but Vechta of course did not agree with this and forced Bayern to take time out after they allowed a 7-0 run to bring the score to within seven. A good tactic in this situation was the motto " get the ball to Petteri", the result was a decisive bucket for a 72-63 lead/61 seconds left. But Vechta still didn't give up and scored five quick points - time-out Bayern (72-68, 27 seconds left). Bayern kept their cool now and converted their free throws to take the win.

Photo credit: Stickel & Becker/BBL


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