No happy ending in France
Bayern Basketball failed to stop the winning streak of French champion Asvel Villeurbanne as head coach Andrea Trinchieri's team showed its qualities too late in the 87-79 loss. For the hosts, it was the sixth win in seven games. Munich (now 15-10) trailed by nine points at the break after Asvel's 11-2 finish in the final two and a half minutes of the first half. A clear advantage in threes, steals and also rebounds gave the French much more offensive rhythm. Against a very physical defense, the game did not flow for a long time in the second half for Bayern and with a deficit of 57-39 the game seemed to be decided early. But two minutes before the end, Vladimir Lucic actually erased an 18-point deficit with a four-point play to tie the game at 77-77. In the end, Villeurbanne cleverly brought home the win against the struggling FCBB, hitting 23 of 26 free throws. For Bayern, only seven players scored. At least Zan Mark Sisko made a brief comeback after a seven-week injury.
Bayern can now take a few days' breather in view of the national team break this weekend. They continue in the EuroLeague next Thursday, February 25th starting at 20:30 against Israel's record champion Maccabi Tel Aviv. The following Sunday afternoon (Feb. 28th, 15:00), Wuerzburg will host the BBL rematch at the Audi Dome.
Asvel Lyon-Villeurbanne – FC Bayern Basketball 87-79 (44-35)
Wade Baldwin (19/6 Assists), Vladimir Lucic (18/6 Rebounds), Jalen Reynolds (12), D.J. Seeley (11/3 Steals), Paul Zipser (9), James Gist (8), Leon Radosevic (2), JaJuan Johnson, Sasha Grant, Zan Mark Sisko, Nick Weiler-Babb, Diego Flaccadori
David Lighty (19 Points)
Andrea Trinchieri: "Congratulations to Asvel, they played better and harder and deserved to win. They played a very physical defense and we were not able to respond. We tried the whole game to find some offensive rhythm, but only managed it in the fourth quarter. But that's when we made a big comeback with a strong performance to level the game after trailing by 18. That was the moment when we should have been more accurate and clever. It was only Asvel on the court for almost 35 minutes, then we tied the game - and still threw it away with a few mistakes on offense and defense. We played poorly overall, which can happen in a season like this. Not every one of my players was ready to help the team today, and of course that cost us. Until I finally found five players that worked together, we struggled a lot."
James Gist: "This was a tough and difficult game. It's getting into the final stages in the EuroLeague and the games are getting harder. But congratulations to Asvel, they played very well, very athletic, and they were in the game for 40 minutes, unlike us. In this league, if you wait too long to finally get in, it can turn out like today. We have to stay focused and prepare now for Maccabi, so we get the next win there."Game recap:
Wade Baldwin, D.J. Seeley, Vladimir Lucic, James Gist and Leon Radosevic were the starters for FCBB. Despite the journey of several days and the resulting strains, Bayern stood up to the French and led for long stretches of the first quarter (7-5 and 13-10/6th). Sisko celebrated his comeback in the first quarter after a long injury break, but quickly conceded two fouls. Carelessness favored the hosts and cost the Munich team its lead and they trailed 21-18 after the first ten minutes.
Bayern's offense clearly lacked rhythm, only four points after four minutes of the second quarter spoke volumes but a timeout bore fruit and turned the tide with two quick buckets from Seeley and Baldwin (26-25/15th). The contested game still didn't really pick up except for a nice three-point play by Lucic and an alley-oop dunk by Reynolds pumped up the Bayern bench (31-30/17th). Villeurbanne was now looking more often for the barely stoppable, 7ft2 Moustapha Fall. The FCBBs shots did not fall at the rim because the colossus changed the game on defense as well. Asvel took advantage of several turnovers in the disjointed phase before the break to go on an 11-2 run and take a 44-35 lead.
Trinchieri's timeout after 51 seconds into the second half was an early alarm as Bayern scored a quick five points. The momentum was now with Villeurbann and they scored nearly at will. It took Bayern more than three minutes to score their first basket of the second half when Zipser scored to make it 51-37 (24th). The guests tried to get back intot he game by kicking it up a notch on defense, but that didn't work out well and the French lead grew (59-41/27th). Baldwin took command, six points in a row gave hope and Bayern was on the verge of getting within single digits of the deficit, but Asvel was brimming with confidence in its own gym and didn't let that happen with two three-pointers. After the third quarter, FCBB trailed 66-52.
The Bavarians now made one of their infamous comebacks: Zipser with five points and Seeley with three free throws brought the game back to within double digits (69-60/33rd) - the guests played well with a zone defense but questionable foul calls made it difficult to catch up. A Baldwin lay-up and a Lucic three-pointer cut the deficit to 73-69, and Munich was now close (36th). With 122 seconds left, Lucic equalized with a four-point play against Fall to make it 77-77 - but Villeurbanne countered and took another four-point lead (81-77, 67 seconds left). The Trinchieri timeout organized an alley-oop dunk by Reynolds but Cole hit two free throws. A final turnover by Baldwin and another foul decided the game in the favor of the French squad.