83-80 thriller: Kaunas pulls off the win

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What a thrilling finish to the EuroLeague season: In a great atmosphere at the sold-out Audi Dome with 6,500 fans - including 1,000 Lithuanian fanatics - the Bayern basketball team lost 83-80 in what was a great game throughout. The determined Zalgiris had the better second half and thus celebrated a well-deserved playoff spot.

Sunday vs Bamberg

The next highlight game is already upon us at Audi Dome on Sunday, when the BBL rivalry against Bamberg starts at 18:00.

Tickets vs Bamberg

For the first time in weeks, Coach Trinchieri had twelve players in the squad (which continues to miss Rubit, Hunter, Seeley and Harris.). From the beginning, an intense exchange of punch, counter-punch developed, but in contrast to the Kaunas, they did not hit any threes to start the game (19-18/10th). In the second quarter, Kaunas played a bit better and pulled ahead by a few points for the first time at 26-21 (15th). It was top scorer Walden (14) who helped to get the FCBB to a lead at halftime.

15-5 run for Kaunas to start the second half

The secdon half did not start as planned as Kaunas fought to keep their playoff hopes  alive and took substantial lead. FCBB stayed constantly in the game, however, and returnee Winston and Jaramaz turned up the heat to take a 65-64 lead (36th). Zalgiris then exploited mistakes, survived the last Munich attempt for overtime - and celebrated on the Audi Dome floor.

FC Bayern Basketball - Zalgiris Kaunas 83-80


Corey Walden (14 Points), Andreas Obst (12), Vladimir Lucic (10), Nick Weiler-Babb (8), Cassius Winston (8), Zylan Cheatham (7), Ognjen Jaramaz (7), Niels Giffey (6), Isaac Bonga (6), Freddie Gillespie (2, 7 Rebounds), Niklas Wimberg, Paul Zipser

Kaunas top scorer:

Lukas Lekavicius (20 Points)


Ilija Belosevic, Emilio Perez, Vasiliki Tsaroucha


6,500 (sell out)

Score per quarter Bayern - Kaunas: 18-19, 20-15, 9-17, 33-32

Stats: Two-point shooting: 57% (FCBB) // 54% (Kaunas); Three-point shooting: 33% // 38%; Free-throw shooting: 90% // 88%; Rebounds: 28 // 31; Assists: 13 // 14; Turnovers: 10 // 8


Andrea Trinchieri: "We fought until the end and wanted to win, never gave up. The only thing that kept us from winning was missing open shots. Because we moved the ball very well especially in the third quarter, but we only scored nine points, which cost us the game; I counted eight open shots there alone. I think in the end Zalgiris had big plays by Lekavicius and Smits, who were the heart of the team. But again, we could have conceded at the end, but we created a chance to tie it up. The ball didn't go in, but still, I can't fault my players; they were very good today. (...)

We have expanded the rotation, because we are now preparing for the BBL playoffs. Where we suffered a little bit today was with the bigs, because they are very experienced and big there. It was a very good lesson and you either win those or you learn something - we learned something today. That's why it was a good game to build something now. (...)

Only one player has played all 34 games for us, Freddie Gillespie. Rubit had only 16, Lucic and Hunter similar, that explains a lot of why we struggled this season. (...) After two years of making the playoffs, the level this year is insane because you had to have 19 wins this season. (...) This EuroLeague season was incredibly tough and in most games we were competitive, even at the end against playoff teams Monaco and Zalgiris. I don't think we need to feel sorry now."         

Niels Giffey: "We wanted to win the game, of course. Although there was little at stake for us, we fought well. But now I still wish the guys from Zalgiris good luck, they managed to put their program back together well after a tough last year. In the third quarter we had problems, Zalgiris built up a lot pressure all over the court. We had to look for a way to counter, because we had difficulties moving the ball. One or two shots fell then. It could have gone either way in the end, but congratulations to the other guys. Overall, there were a lot of ups and downs in this EuroLeague season. I wish we had played through it with Rubit, with Othello - then we would have had a little more consistency, that would have been very helpful. Nevertheless, I think we put a lot of energy into it and played some good games. The EuroLeague is getting tougher every year, the teams are getting better, but I think we're getting better, too. The change in game rhythm now without EuroLeague games will help us to just build up the rhythm a little bit and be able to train to get some juice back in our legs."

Game recap:

Corey Walden, Andreas Obst, Vladimir Lucic, Isaac Bonga and Zylan Cheatham made up the final starting five of this EuroLeague season. For the guests, everything was at stake, and they started accordingly, frenetically supported by an astonishing number of Lithuanian fans. But the FCBB countered well and played on a similar energy level (8-8/4th minute). Zalgiris took the lead thanks mainly to Rolands Smits. Lucic then tied the game again at 12-12 (6th). Winston was finally substituted in after his long injury break and he soon managed a great pass that found Gillespie, who scored to take the lead 16-14 (9th). After a thrilling first quarter, the guests led by a razor-thin margin - 19-18.

Walden forces a lead change

Weiler-Babb opened the second quarter with a three-pointer to make it 21-19 (11th), but Kaunas contiued to hit their threes and took the lead again (22-21/12th). The FCBB created open shots but failed to hit a large portion of them and remained behind (24-21/14th). Obst ended the four-minute scoring drought with two free throws to make it 26-23 (15th). Walden then sank a three-pointer to get to within one (30-29/16th). The Lithuanians, bursting with determination, scored with regularity, but the Munich team kept the game close and exciting. Walden's second three-pointer was a big momentum shifter and Zalgiris' coach Maksvytis called a timeout in view of the 34-34 equalizer (18th). However, the Bavarians' momentum could not be stopped, and they went into the halftime break with a 38-34 lead.

Kaunas with more energy

The last 20 minutes of play in the 2022/23 EuroLeague season didn't start well for FCBB, as Kaunas went on a 7-0 run forcingTrinchieri to take an early timeout (41-38/23rd). Walden hit two free throws after just under three minutes in the half to make it 41-40 (23rd). The rhythm on offense was completely gone and Zalgiris easily pulled away (46-40/26th). The Bayern fans realized with dismay that their team had scored only two meager points in six minutes of the quarter.At least at this point the defense picked up their play and Giffey redeemed the supporters with a three-pointer to make it 46-43 (28th). Although the scoring was poor Bayern was still right in the game, 51-47 after the third quarter.

Exchange of blows until the last shot

Giffey steered his second three-pointer into the basket against his former team and inspired the crowd a little later with a sensational pass to Zylan Cheatham, who slammed the ball home to get back within one 53-52 (31st). The tension rose and the Munich team was back in it. Led by Winston, the FCBB scrambled, and scored on a sweet finger-roll to tie the game (58-58/33rd). After what seemed like an eternity, Jaramaz hit a three-pointer for a 61-60 lead (34th). The Audi Dome enjoyed a furious open exchange of blows with leads changing every few seconds. But seven points from Jaramaz were not enough, because the FCBB suddenly stopped scoring and the guests continued on (71-65/37th). The Lithuanians put their entire hearts into the game and and they pulled away by seven points (75-68/ 150 seconds left). After a Trinchieri timeout, Lucic got free for a three-pointer, but the shot missed. Kaunas, on the other hand, added another three-pointer (78-68/ 106 seconds left) - the game seemed to be decided but Obst's three-point play revived hope once again, 79-76 with 47 seconds left. After a Zalgiris timeout, the guests lost the ball again and Obst scored to make it 79-78 (29 seconds left). Bayern fouled Lekavicius who hit both free throws (81-78/ 13 seconds left). Kaunas then fouled Walden, who sank both free throws (81-80/ 9.6 seconds left). Weiler-Babb fouled quickly but Ulanovas hit both free throws (83-80/ 8.4 seconds left).

Winston got another attempt up but it missed the target by a wide margin sending Kaunas to the playoffs. 


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