75-73: Bayern wins battle of nerves in Kaunas in Lucic's comeback

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The FC Bayern basketball team achieved the hoped-for first EuroLeague win of the season on the fifth gameday with a comeback after trailing by up to 16 points. In front of 9,057 fans in the intense atmosphere of Kaunas' Zalgirio Arena, the German Cup winner triumphed 75-73 in the duel of two still winless teams.

After a very rough start and with poor shooting percentages (1/10 from three at the break) and far too few rebounds (16-26), the FCBB lacked confidence especially on offense. Head coach Andrea Trinchieri, however, remained calm, readjusted his men and saw a run in the third quarter until the first tie of the game (50-50/30th). The guests took the lead for the first time 5:40 minutes before the end through Darrun Hilliard's three-pointer to make it 63-62, but in the end the FCBB held their nerve.

Top scorers were Hilliard (14), Deshaun Thomas (15) and the long-missed co-captain Vladimir Lucic (17), who finally made his season debut. Leon Radosevic (foot) and Paul Zipser (build-up) are still missing for a longer period.

On Sunday (15:00./MagentaSport), Bayern will be challenged in the BBL on the road at Frankfurt - the first of five games in ten days. In the following week, it's back to the grind: In the EuroLeague, they play Tuesday (20:45., Audi Dome) in a clash with the still undefeated playoff opponent from the previous season Olimpia Milan before finally the second European Double-Week completes on Thursday (20:00) with the German rivalry game at Alba Berlin. After that: Sunday in Bayreuth, Tuesday in Würzburg and so on and so forth.


BC Zalgiris Kaunas

Top scorer Zalgiris: Lukas Lekavicius (17 Points)


Vladimir Lucic (17 Points), Deshaun Thomas (15), Darrun Hilliard (14), Corey Walden (11), Augustine Rubit (8/7 Rebounds), Othello Hunter (7), Ognjen Jaramaz (2), Zan Mark Sisko (1), Nick Weiler-Babb, Nihad Djedovic, Andreas Obst und Gavin Schilling


Ilja Belosevic, Leandro Lezcano, Josip Radojkovic



Points per game Bayern - Kaunas: 13-24, 14-15, 25-16, 23-18.

Stats: Two-point shooting: 50% (FCBB) // 45% (Kaunas); Three-point shooting: 28% // 31%; Free-throw shooting: 62% // 74%; Rebounds: 27 // 40; Assists: 16 // 14; Turnovers: 4 // 13.

Andrea Trinchieri: "I am very happy that we achieved our goal to win in this great atmosphere. Playing here is always incredible. We had a tough start, couldn't rebound the whole game. To tell the truth, we were two different teams today, in the first half and then in the second half. We played very hard after the break, were better on defense and started hitting shots. (...) . Still not perfect, but we were a completely changed team in the head. In the first half we were bad and under a lot of pressure. Then, again with our backs against the wall, we came back and showed some good plays both offensively and defensively. I think that we deserved the victory. (...) For us, this is a very important victory, because we lost so far because of only small things, apart from the Barcelona game. We lost three games so close and our locker room was full of ghosts: can we win a game for once, a close game? We can always fight, that's human, but the best medicine for healing is always a win. (...) So many things happened at the same time that killed us at the beginning of the season. Because, for example, players like Radosevic, Zipser and Lucic were missing in the same position, for weeks; Radosevic and Zipser are still out. We had to reshape the lineup and then we are a new team with a short rotation at the bigs. And when players come back, you have to think of the team like a train: You have to stop so that they can jump on the train. (...) All the players had to take on changed roles compared to the original squad planning. (...) In the first half, the return of Lucic was like a shock and the team played slower. But it's great that in 20 minutes we found a way to come back and find a new balance. (...) Lucic's presence is of course very important because he helps the coach to share the mentality and culture of the team with the others. (...) Deshaun Thomas is clutch. Whether you're up by 20 or down by 20, whether it's tight, he doesn't feel pressure. That's why we wanted to end up putting the ball in the hands of a player who can play one-on-one."

Vladimir Lucic: "We responded better to Zalgiris' game physically and defensively in the second half. We tried to win the 50-50 situations for us and we got more offensive rebounds. But in the end we fought like we did in the first four games. We earned the win and that's why I'm glad we won. I had to get through Covid, like the rest of the world, and I still have lung problems. Condition-wise, I'm not in shape yet because of that, but I'm just trying to help the team and support my teammates." 

Corey Walden: "We got off to a very bad start, but when our backs were against the wall, we didn't give up. We showed fighting spirit and it feels very good to have got the first win. Now some pressure is off our shoulders and we can focus on the next games."  

(c) Stickel

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