Bayern defeats ZSKA Moscow 69-66

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The Bayern Basketball players of FC achieved the great upset. The team of head coach Andrea Trinchieri, plagued by injury problems, won 69-66 on Friday night on the road against the EuroLeague titleholder ZSKA Moscow after an unbelievable show of strength in the final quarter. They thus defeated the big favorite for the first time ever in the eighth duel between the two. After the 95-93 win over Khimki, the Munich team has now returned home from the double-header week in Russia with two victories and improved its record to 14-9.The best EuroLeague record of a German team so far, set two years ago by Bayern, has thus already been achieved on the 23rd gameday. And: After the double success in October with the first ever road wins at Fenerbahce and in Tel Aviv, the FCBB managed the feat of again winning both games of a double-header week in foreign halls.

ZSKA only scored six points in the fourth quarter in fron of 516 spectators after the FCBB showed a strong first half in the noisy Megasport Arena but then seemed to have fallen decisively behind after the third quarter (60-50). The guests fought back and won the last quarter 19-6. The FCBB were again missing their two captains Nihad Djedovic and Vladimir Lucic as well as Zan Mark Sisko (all in training), Robin Amaize (calf) and youngster Matej Rudan (ankle) - in addition, national player Paul Zipser also had to leave the court shortly before halftime due to a thigh injury.

Bayern will now travel back to Munich early Saturday morning. On Sunday (18:00), the next task awaits them in the Audi Dome: the BBL top game against Crailsheim, who are second in the standings and in good form. Starting on Wednesday, there are four games on the calendar within seven days, three of them away from home. On Wednesday (Feb. 3), tip-off is at 20:30 for the BBL duel in Wuerzburg, on Friday (Feb. 5, 20:30) Alba Berlin comes to the Audi Dome for the EuroLeague rivalry game before the FCBB have to travel to Bamberg (Feb. 7, 18:00) and Ulm (Feb. 9, 19:00).

Points per quarter Bayern - ZSKA: 25-27, 15-12, 10-21, 19-6

Stats: Two-point shooting: 44% (FCBB) // 38% (ZSKA); Three-point shooting: 36% //38%; Free-throw shooting: 85% // 92%; Rebounds: 24 // 38; Assists: 10 // 15; Turnovers: 10 // 16.


FCBB head coach, Andrea Trinchieri: "Two wins for the second time already, we should only play double weeks! The tireless will was the decisive factor today. We found the perfect attitude in the last quarter. We back came from a ten-point deficit, but did not give up and therefore go home with an incredible feeling. (...)I am very satisfied. If you ask about the quality of a game: you might find it with a good wine. I am just happy to have won this game. (...)It was a real fight. In the first quarter it looked like a high-scoring game, Milutinov and Shengelia destroyed us. But slowly we found a way to play better especially on defense. And then we managed to make ZSKA score only six points in the last quarter, which was the key to our big win in Moscow. (...)January and February are a nightmare for teams in the EuroLeague. ZSKA was missing Clyburn and James, but for us Sisko, Lucic, Djedovic and then during the game Zipser were not there. Fatigue was something both teams had to deal with. No one gave up and this was not a game of offense, but of defense - and we won that. The decisive thing was when ZSKA led 60-50 and Hilliard hit two three-pointers, which provide incredible oxygen to any team - at that moment the game can slip away from you, but we stayed in. We didn't give up in the most difficult moment of the game."

Wade Baldwin: "The second half decided it. There we showed a strong mentality and thus got two wins against two strong teams from Moscow. We are very happy with that. Today it was a real show of strength. Everyone played a big part in it.

"D.J. Seeley: "I'm still super excited. We didn't play as well as we wanted to, but we got the important win because we totally focused on defense in the last quarter - that helped us a lot today. That's a big thing. "

Game recap:

Being smart and defending with high intensity was head coach Trinchieri's pregame announcement, where he ordered Wade Baldwin, Nick Weiler-Babb, Paul Zipser, James Gist and Jalen Reynolds into the starting five. With this motto, the Munich team forced two early turovners and used them to get off to a good start (7-3/3rd). The hosts, on the other hand, looked for Nikola Milutinov (14 points in the first quarter) under the basket and equalized at 11-11 (5th). Remarkable: except for one three-pointer, Moscow took every shot of the first quarter from the zone. With good play from D.J. Seeley, Bayern managed to stay in it, down only two (27-25/10th).

The second quarter developed completely differently than the first ten minutes from the start: First, Baldwin took over and hit two mid-range shots for a 29-27 lead (13th).  On defense, the guests responded to the attacking basketball and made it much harder for the Russians to score (38-36/17th). However, Dimitris Itoudis' team also increased the pressure on defense, which is why the Bayern basketballers failed to pull the game more clearly on their side. A narrow halftime lead was the result (40-39).

The fight against ZSKA in the second half started with bad news: Paul Zipser would not return from the locker room because of a thigh injury.  Reynolds stepped into the breach and created his chances against Moscow's top scorer Milutinov (46-46/24th). ZSKA, on the other hand, took advantage of some unfortunate playes from Munich's defense and went on a 12-0 run into the final quarter (60-50).

The hosts hit three threes but the game wasn't over as in the final quarter the FCBB managed to defend aggressively despite all the personnel worries, while they could once again rely on Baldwin. Thanks to Bayern's great effort, the basket for ZSKA was suddenly as if boarded up and the Russians only scored two points in more than seven minutes (62-62/37th). A three-pointer by Seeley crowned the furious 14-4 run (66-64/39th). It was also the Bayern guard who put his team ahead 69-66 with free-throw seven seconds before the end. Darrun Hilliard's last-second three-pointer missed and the upset was complete.


Photo Credit: Serbin

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