Bayern's emergency squad runs out of energy in fourth game of the week

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After three wins, including two EuroLeague victories in Moscow, the Bayern basketball team lost the last of four games since last Sunday. The squad of the severely short-staffed Munich team ran out of energy in the BBL top game against second-placed Crailsheim, losing 105-103 in overtime. The FCBB gave the rested guests a gripping fight and only conceded defeat with the last shot in an intense game with 22 lead changes. Like their EuroLeague rivals Fenerbahce, Kaunas, Panathinaikos and Milan, who also lost in their home leagues, FCBB had to pay tribute to the brutal nature of the double-game week. For Bayern, it was the third loss in the BBL.

For Bayern, captain Nihad Djedovic made a brief comeback after a four-week break, but head coach Andrea Trinchieri was missing six other players to injury. Vladimir Lucic, Zan Mark Sisko (in rehabilitation training), Robin Amaize (calf) and youngster Matej Rudan (ankle) were joined by Wade Baldwin (toe injury) and Paul Zipser (thigh) with injuries from the ZSKA game.

The situation therefore remains complicated, because: Starting Wednesday, there are no less than four games in seven days on the calendar, three of them on the road. On Wednesday (Feb. 3), tip-off is at 20:30 against Wuerzburg, on Friday (Feb. 5, 20:30) Alba Berlin comes to the Audi Dome for the EuroLeague rivalry game, before Bayern has to travel to Bamberg (Feb. 7, 18:00) and Ulm (Feb. 9, 19:00).


FC Bayern Basketball - Hakro Merlins Crailsheim 103:105 (92:92/46:44) n. V.


D.J. Seeley (29/ Points/4 Threes), Nick Weiler-Babb (24/6), JaJuan Johnson (12/8 Rebounds), Jalen Reynolds (9/7 Reb), Leon Radosevic (8/6 Reb), Diego Flaccadori (7/7 Assists), James Gist (6), Sasha Grant (5), Nihad Djedovic (3) und Jason George

Topscorer Crailsheim:

Trae Bell-Haynes (31 Points)


Anne Panther, Christof Madinger, Enrico Streit

Points per quarter Bayern - Crailsheim: 22-21, 24-23, 26-21, 20-27, 11-13.

Stats: Two-point shooting: 51% (FCBB) // 54% (Crailsheim); Three-point shooting: 38% // 40%; Free-throw shooting: 73% // 79%; Rebounds: 42 // 37; Assists: 22 // 15; Turnovers: 13 // 11.

Andrea Trinchieri: "I congratulate Crailsheim. Of course we tried our best, but we ran out of energy and players. We fought in regulation time and also in overtime. Then we didn't do the right things on defense, that's why we lost. But my team never gave up and showed character, they tried everything. We have more than five players sitting out, more than a starting five. Hopefully the doctors can help us soon, we have to get players back because the rest of the schedule is very difficult when you play every other day. But I just come to the gym and then they tell me yes or no, banged up or alive. Our rotation is very short, so I can't blame my players. Of course we can do some things better, but that's just how it is; very, very hard."

Nick Weiler-Babb: "Crailsheim was luckier in the end because defensively we got out of step. But there's no excuse for losing. We fought, but it wasn't enough. So we can't be satisfied with our play. Now we have to come back in the next game."

Tuomas Iisalo, Coach Crailsheim: "Congratulations to my players for the victory, they fought hard. We already had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation time, but that's when Bayern showed their quality. But in overtime we showed our identity: we just keep playing and fighting."

Game recap:
Coach Trinchieri said, given the pressures due to injuries before the game, "There's no point complaining, we just have to rise to the challenge." He started against the surprise team of the BBL with Nick Weiler-Babb, D.J. Seeley, Sasha Grant, James Gist and Leon Radosevic. Crailsheim's plan was obvious from the start: take advantage of Bayern's fatigue with as much speed as possible. D.J. Seeley showed no hint of fatigue and shone with seven points in the opening quarter (9-9/4th minute of play). But then the guests were more accurate from distance and Munich conceded a 10-0 run (19-9/7th). Nihad Djedovic came on the floor for the first time in 2021 and immediately converted his first touch of the ball to score a basket. FCBB turned up the heat at both ends of the court and grabbed its first lead with an 11-0 run - 22-21 after the first quarter.

The Hakro Merlins stayed true to their motto of playing fast and took away Bayern's advantages in zone. Crailsheim got back in front (29-27/13th). Trinchieri's team responded via defense, slowed down the Merlins and regained the lead with twelve consecutive points (39-31/17th). The game was fast and entertaining as the Baden-Wuerttemberger squad came back with their star, Trae Bell-Haynes, but could not take the lead before half (46-44).

Nick Weiler-Babb, the freshly crowned MVP of the week in the EuroLeague, hit a three-pointer to make it 49-48 and would have surely brought the crowd off their seats with a sensational block on defense afterwards. Seeley, thanks to his experience and reliability, scored steadily and had 21 with 15 minutes to play (55-54/25th). The top game of the BBL fulfilled expectations with many lead changes andWeiler-Babb sank his fourth three-pointer to make it 65-61 (27th). Grant also showed guts by not giving up after four missed attempts and drilled a three-pointer (68-61/29th). After 30 minutes, Munich had established a good starting position with a 72-65 lead.

Everyone knew it was important to mobilize the last reserves of strength. Weiler-Babb's fifth three-pointer was not a bad start into the final quarter (75-68/31st) but unfortunately, the FCBB allowed themselves three turnovers in this important phase as Crailsheim moved closer (77-76/33rd). Although the Merlins were also plagued by injury-related absences, they equalized at 79-79 (35th). The battery had long been flashing dark red, but the Munich team fought (82-79/36th). Bell-Haynes took over the game and turned the tide just at the beginning of crunch time (83-82/37th) before Reynolds scored to make it 86-85, but shortly afterwards he suffered his fifth foul. Merlin Lasisi had not been on the Munich team's mind and he took advantage of unfortunate FCBB mistakes to score six points in a row (91-86 for Crailsheim/ with 30 seconds left). Seeley steered a three-pointer into the basket (91-89/ 17 seconds left) and Bell-Haynes hit only one of two free throws (92-89). With four seconds on the clock, the Munich team managed the feat of scoring three points through JJ Johnson intentionally missing a second free throw, overtime!

Crailsheim's Stuckey opened the extra time with a three-pointer, Munich - now without Leon Radosevic after his fifth foul - answered, using its physical superiority for a 6-0 run (98-95/43rd). Stuckey gave the Merlins the lead again but Seeley countered (100-99/44th). Weiler-Babb steered a three-pointer into the visitors' basket for 103-101 biut Bell-Haynes changed the lead (72 seconds left). In the end, Bell-Haynes was simply unstoppable and he fittingly sunk the all-but-easy, game-winning floater with 1.2 seconds left.


Photo credit: Rauchensteiner, Stickel, Eirich, Gamel



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