Bayern gets important home win against Zenit

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The FC Bayern basketball team won a hugely important EuroLeague duel with the Russian top team Zenit St. Petersburg after a thrilling final quarter, 82-80. With the hard-fought victory, the FCBB (without Djedovic, Sikso, Amaize), which was again short of players, moved past Zenit into fourth place for the time being. After a first half without rhythm, Bayern, in the presence of EuroLeague president Jordi Bertomeu and the FCB board with Herbert Hainer and Dieter Mayer, turned up the heat in the third quarter and prevailed by a razor-thin margin. In the last ten minutes, recently returned Vladimir Lucic carried his team with 13 points. For Bayern, who scored 50 points in the second half, Wade Baldwin (17), Lucic and center Jalen Reynolds (15 each) were the top scorers.

The grueling week with three games in five days continues less than 48 hours after the game against St. Petersburg: Real Madrid is the next top-flight opponent at the Audi Dome (Friday, Jan. 15, 20:30), followed by the BBL home game against Hamburg on Sunday.

FC Bayern Basketball - Zenit St. Petersburg 82-80 (32-40)


Wade Baldwin (17 Points/3 Threes), Vladimir Lucic (15), Jalen Reynolds (15), D.J. Seeley (14), Paul Zipser (9), James Gist (5), Leon Radosevic (4), Nick Weiler-Babb (3), JaJuan Johnson, Sasha Grant (dnp), Diego Flaccadori (dnp) und Jason George (dnp).

Topscorer St. Petersburg

Kevin Pangos (17 Points)


Luigi Lamonica, Carlos Cortes, Marcin Kowalski

Points per quarter Bayern - Zenit: 13-19, 19-21, 24-16, 26-24.

Stats: Two-point shooting: 52% (FCBB) // 57% (St. Petersburg); Three-point shooting: 42% // 33%; Free-throw shooting: 75% // 68%; Rebounds: 23 // 29; Assists: 17 // 13; Turnovers: 10 // 10.

Andrea Trinchieri: "It was a very tiring and difficult game. But we are very happy that we won because Zenit is a very good team. For me they are a playoff team, they've won eight away from home and in the first half they especially put our offense to sleep with their play. It was a great performance from us in the second half. We accepted a few mistakes to play a faster game and have more possessions. I am happy with the team performance, Lucic is back after two months and in the end he found a way to lead the team. But we can't expect him to do that all the time after such a long injury."

Paul Zipser: "The victory does us a lot of good, although we unfortunately did not win the direct comparison. But after a sleepy first half, we brought the necessary energy and intensity in the second half. Kevin Pangos made life difficult for us, but then we responded well. It's good to have Vladimir Lucic back, as a voice on the court and a leader. He gives everything, and you can just always count on him."

Game recap:
Wade Baldwin, D.J. Seeley, Vladimir Lucic, James Gist and Leon Radosevic made up the starting lineup. Bayern had problems getting going offensively and Zenit took an early and easy 8-2  lead (4th). Baldwin briefly took command and brought his team back with five points in a row (8-7/5th). Munich gave up six turnovers in the opening quarter, and considering this, the 19-13 deficit after ten minutes was still relatively mild.

Bayern couldn't get anything going on offense but the team was defensively reliable, especially under the basket. A three-pointer by Baldwin seemed to turn things around (19-16 for Zenit /12th), but the Russians didn't let up and extended their lead by five. Zipser countered with a difficult jumper, Baldwin sprinkled in his third three-pointer (26-23/15th) and the FCBB stayed within striking distance. This was helped by the much better concentration in ball handling as they suffered no turnovers during this part of the game. After another three-pointer by Zipser, they had come within three points (30-27/17th) before a 7-0 run by the guests increased the deficit into double digits (37-27/19th). Trinchieri's timeout worked though, and Bayern countered with a brisk 5-0 run. After two quarters, the difference was eight points - 40-32 in favor of Zenit.

At halftime, Trinchieri called for more energy, and Seeley sank a three-pointer after 15 seconds to make it 40-35. The Munich team was finally on track offensively as well, but the defense had trouble with the Pangos/Gudaitis duo and couldn't claim the lead. Seeley gave stability to Bayern's game and took over with eight points in the quarter and brought Bayern to within one. Seeley perfectly set the scene for Reynolds, who thanked him with the dunk and the first lead of the Munich team (47-46/27th). FCBB gained control and suddenly became unstoppable with a 101 run (51-46/28th). Zenit struck back and equalized again, however and the score was 56-56 after quarter three.

The opponents fought intensely hard but even without a crowd in the Audi Dome, the Munich team proved who was the boss: Vladimir Lucic pumped energy into the game and put his stamp on it with seven quick points (65-58/33rd). The FCBB fought passionately for each other as James Gist finished a three-point play to make it 68-61 (35th). The Russians remained persistent and again tied the game at 70-70 (36th). The lead ping-ponged back and forth and small mistakes had big effects. Lucic drew two fouls in a row and converted all four free throws - 78-75 (61 seconds left). After Lucic's fifth foul, Baldwin took responsibility and sank a difficult floater (80-77/32 seconds left). A great defensive sequence by Munich prevented St. Petersburg from scoring a basket and Zipser added two free throws on top, but Zenit made one more three-pointer and won the direct comparison (combined score of the two matchups) as Seeley could not sink the last three-pointer.



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