Bayern loses Kaunas thriller with a buzzer beater
The Bayern basketball team suffered a bitter loss on Wednesday evening on a buzzer-beating shot last shot by Zalgiris Kaunas on the 16th gameday of the EuroLeague. Head coach Andrea Trinchieri's team was behind for almost the entire duration of this nail-biting game. But with a lot of passion the long missing rhythm on offense was finally found and a late lead was taken. However, Nick Weiler-Babb's three-point play four seconds before the end was countered by Kanuas' top scorer Marius Grigonis at the buzzer. The guests again had to do without Vladimir Lucic while Zan Mark Sisko also dropped out for the second half with muscular problems. The FCBB now have a record of 10-6.
Zalgiris Kaunas - FC Bayern Basketball 74-73 (40-35)
FCBB: Jalen Reynolds (17 Points/7 Rebounds), Nick Weiler-Babb (16/5 Reb), Paul Zipser (14), D.J. Seeley (8), Wade Baldwin (6), JaJuan Johnson (6), Nihad Djedovic (2), Leon Radosevic (2), James Gist (2), Zan Mark Sisko, Sasha Grant (dnp) und Diego Flaccadori (dnp).
Marius Grigonis (22 Points)
Miguel Angel Perez, Fernando Rocha, Joseph Bissang
FCBB head coach, Andrea Trinchieri: "It was a tough, somewhat scrappy game. We had a chance to win, but Grigonis made a big shot. I think we defended solidly. But he was better in the last attack. It hurts to lose that way. But at the end of the day, I think Zalgiris deserved the victory. We didn't perform our best in the first quarter, which was unbelievable. It was unbelievable how we performed there. Then we found a way into the game and created a chance to win. In the end, one attack was the key. We executed our final attack very well. But then Grigonis hit a well defended shot. There were no tactics in the last attack, we didn't allow any mismatch and the last shot was really pressed. It is what it is. Congratulations to Zalgiris and let's move on."
Paul Zipser: "We got into the game a little bit better with every minute. We had very difficult phases. It's always hard against Kaunas because they play with a lot of energy and structure. We didn't play our best game as a team today and still had a very good chance to still win the game."Game recap:
FCBB coach Andrea Trinchieri started with Wade Baldwin, Nihad Djedovic, D.J. Seeley, JaJuan Johnson and Leon Radosevic. Munich quickly got into the game and led 4-0 (2nd minute of the game), but Zalgiris rallied and knocked the visitors to their heals with aggressive defense and consistent succes on the offensive boards. Bayern looked for solutions at both ends of the court, and the deficit grew into double digits in the opening quarter (22-11/9th). A jumper by Johnson and a three-pointer by Reynolds cut the deficit to 22-16 at the end of the quarter.
Less than a minute had been played in the second quarter when Trinchieri had to call a timeout (226-16/11th). Paul Zipser revived and stabilized Bayern's game, scoring five points in a row to bring his team within three at 27-24 (14th). Turnovers prevented them from taking the lead yet slowly but surely the Munich team gained defensive pressure and made it difficult for the Lithuanians to develop their offense. Jalen Reynolds showed his class on the offensive board and scored vital points to keep Bayern close (33-30/17th). Nick Weiler-Babb stopped a weak phase with a lot of energy and five points and Bayern stayed close (19th). Not even Reynolds could prevent a Grigonis basket at the end of the first half and the score was 40-35 in favor of Zalgris after 20 minutes.
FCBB needed more than two minutes for the first basket after the change of ends and it was Seeley slithering to the bucket for the points. Bayern now worked much better on the offensive boards and created second chances. Baldwin countered a 5-0 spurt by Kaunas with two goals of his own and the lead was four for Zalgris (47-43 /26th). The Lithuanians moved the ball better with time and this was evident from the assists they racked up in the quarter. But the FCBB held their own and always stayed within striking distance. Zipser with a dunk made it 51-45 (28th) and a three-pointer by Zipser reduced the gap to 56-51 after the third quarter.
At the start of the last quarter Bayern came out hot and forced Zalgiris coach Schiller to call a timeout after 35 seconds. The Munich team did not let their hot streak get slowed and they played great basketball, especially defensively. After what felt like an eternity, they grabbed the lead again as Reynolds earned the 57-56 score in favor of Bayern (32nd). There was still room for improvement on the offensive end, as turnovers played into the hosts' hands, who unpacked their dreaded specialty with two three-pointers. Munich's answer bore the name of Weiler-Babb, who poured in two three-pointers in a row to again take the lead for Bayern (65-64/36th). Suddenly, Munich suffered a few turnovers and Zalgris made them pay and took a five-point lead (65:70/39th). But Bayern did not give up and a Reynolds basket and a three-pointer by Seeley cut the deficit to 72-70 with 45 seconds to go. The next Lithuanian attack was stopped, giving the German squad another chance to win. Coach Trinchieri's team showed strong nerves as Nick Weiler-Babb attacked the basket, scored and was fouled. He hit the bonus free throw for the lead (73-72). To the dismay of Bayern players, coaches and fans, Marius Grigonis used the four remaining seconds expertly and converted a difficult jump shot to win the game for the Lithuanians.
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Photo credit: Alius Koroliovas