Bayern wins 88-77 at home

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After a difficult week, the Bayern basketball team made a successful comeback on Sunday as Coach Andrea Trinchieri and his Munich team defeated the Merlins from Crailsheim 88-77 in front of 5,300 fans at the Audi Dome and pushed their BBL record to 4-1. Isaac Bonga and Elias Harris, who had been missing for weeks, each made promising home debuts in the FCBB jersey.  

After a 12-3 start, the hosts controlled the game with good shooting but allowed the Merlins to get within five points twice due to sloppy defensive work. Around the last quarter break the FCBB finally pulled away a little to  54-49 (26th) and then to 70-51 (31st). FCBB's top scorers were Andreas Obst (25) and Harris (21) ahead of Augustine Rubit (12), while Bonga grabbed eight rebounds in addition to six points and four assists.

Next Thursday, the reigning EuroLeague champions will visit the Audi Dome, with Bayern fighting for its first victory in the top division starting at 20:30.

Tickets vs Efes

FC Bayern Basketball - Hakro Merlins Crailsheim 88-77

Andreas Obst (25 Points/6 Threes), Elias Harris (21/8 Rebounds), Augustine Rubit (12/7 Reb), Isaac Bonga (6/8 Reb), Nick Weiler-Babb (5), Cassius Winston (5), Paul Zipser (5), Corey Walden (3), Ognjen Jaramaz (2), Vladimir Lucic (2), Freddie Gillespie (2), Niklas Wimberg.

Top scorer Crailsheim:

Arunas Mikalauskas (17 Points)


Carsten Straube, Johannes Hack, Christian Theis



Points per game Bayern - Crailsheim: 33-22, 16-18, 18-11, 21-26.

Stats:  Two-point shooting: 61 % (FCBB) // 59 % (Crailsheim); Three-point shooting: 36 % // 30 %; Free-throw shooting: 80 % // 78 %; Rebounds: 41 // 24; Assists: 18 // 21; Turnovers: 13 // 9


Andrea Trinchieri: "It was obvious that we wanted to bounce back today. We had many good moments in the process; in other moments we repeated our mistakes, starting with defensive positioning. I think that's due to concentration and still also to execution and at the moment we cant repeat that over 40 minutes. Because some of the players don't have the same level of form, we're not homogeneous there yet. I have to work on that, but this was a good win, we played a good offense overall. (...) Bonga was very good as long as he had energy; he was empty at the end. But that's understandable, because that was his second game after four months out with injury - and his second European one after four years overseas. (...) Elias is a veteran with us, he played with incredible energy and helped us a lot. (...) Now we need some more time all together, we need to get to know each other better."                     

Elias Harris: "It's good to be back home and play in front of family and friends. I was really looking forward to being back. I'm having mega fun playing basketball right now and accordingly you can see that on the court. The transition here wasn't that big, because at the end of the day, this is basketball, too, no matter if I was in Spain or Japan. And I know the Bundesliga, so it's not that hard to get used to it again. We burned a lot of energy on Friday in the EuroLeague, but all in all, we're a team that hasn't played together in this form before. That's why we have to find team chemistry - that's a process we have to keep working on and just keep at it."

Daniele Baiesi (Sportdirektor): "We could have won one or two games in the EuroLeague, but we didn't. But we knew it would be very difficult at the beginning, because I think this is the best EuroLeague in the last 15 years. We changed some key positions in the team with guys whose comeback or premiere came late due to a variety of reasons. It's now only five games out of 34 that have been played. So we're going to put our helmets on and keep working."

Game recap:

Trinchieri started Isaac Bonga, Corey Walden, Andreas Obst, Paul Zipser and Freddie Gillespie. The Bavarians got off to a great start and pressure was generated on defense as they finished quickly and cleverly up front as well. The 12-3 run was to the fans' liking and five Zipser points in a row ensured a double-digit lead - time-out Crailsheim (19-7/6th minute). Winston and Harris provided fresh energy, and points and the lead was solid - 31-18 (9th). After quarter number one, the Munich team had pulled away to 33-22.

The security that FCBB had radiated until then began to falter due to mistakes. The Merlins, who still had to do without their sick coach Sebastian Gleim, got within reach by scoring six points in a row, but Obst's three-pointer made it 39-28 and slowed them down (14th). But the guests started to hit their threes and snuck ever closer to 39-34 (16th). Rubit and Harris did not show any weakness from the free-throw line and the lead became clearer again (47-38/19th). After 20 minutes, the Bavarians had the matter more or less under control, 49-40.

Obst hits his threes and Harris is almsot unstoppable

After the change of ends, Andi Obst made his fourth three-point shot to take a 12-point lead (52-40/22nd). Both teams scored well but Bayern held onto a slight lead until Trinchieri was forced to take a timeout after small run by the guests (54-46/26th). In the end, however, it was another one of those crazy threes from Obst that stopped the 7-0 Merlins run. Elias Harris was very good under the basket and consistently drew fouls to add points for his club.  Munich went on a 10-2 run within three minutes and took a commanding lead, 67-51 after the third quarter.

Elias Harris impresses with his Audi Dome debut

Crailsheim took a timeout after less than two minutes into the final quarter as Bayern went on a 17-4 run across the quarter (74-53/32nd). This time the interruption slowed down FCBB and Crailsheim scored six points in a row (74-53/34th). The rhythm of the Munich team was gone and open shots were not hit. The guests set out to push the deficit into single digits but Elias Harris nipped the advances in the bud with a three-pointer to make it 79-65 (35th). However, the Crailsheimers then took advantage of another series of misses and some turnovers by the Munich team and came close 79-71 heading into crunch time (38th). Harris moved with all his might to the basket and scored and then Obst came up huge with a three-point play (84-71/two minutes left). A little later, his sixth (!) three-pointer decided things early and Bayern could leave their home arena with a win. 

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