Bayern loses 75-67 with a short bench

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No upset in Kaunas: The Bayern Basketball team, which is short of players, gave Lithuania's  top-team, Zalgiris a good fight in front of 15,400 fans but missed out on their sixth EuroLeague win of the season 75-67.  The Munich team is back in action in Mannheim against Heidelberg (Dec. 27, 20:30.).


Without Lucic, Obst, Babb and Jaramaz 

Bayern fielded basically an emergency lineup in Kaunas with ten players, since Jaramaz and Weiler-Babb (infection) were also absent in addition to injured Lucic and Obst. Thus, FCBB coach Trinchieri (who was sent off the court) had only two real guards in Walden and Winston and it showed with their seven turnovers in the first quarter alone (17 in the end).

In a physical duel, Gillespie was initially the focus at the rim before Kaunas scored from distance (26-18 Kaunas/10th). FCBB countered but fell down ten points before the half, 42-32 (20th).

Top scorer:: Walden

The guests (Walden: 18 points) missed many chances after the break and the difference was ultimately made by Zalgiris' US shooter Evans (32). The defensive specialists Babb and Jaramaz were sorely missed.

BC Zalgiris Kaunas – FC Bayern Basketball 75-67


Corey Walden (18 Points), Augustine Rubit (17 Punkte/9 Rebounds), Cassius Winston (10/9 Assists/4 Steals), Niels Giffey (10), Paul Zipser (6), Isaac Bonga (4/4 Steals), Freddie Gillespie (2/8 Rebounds), Othello Hunter, Elias Harris und Niklas Wimberg.

Top scorer for Kaunas:

Keenan Evans (32 Points)


Juan Carlos Garcia, Robert Vyklicky, Maxime Boubert



Score per quarter Bayern - Kaunas: 21-26, 14-18, 13-16, 15-19

Stats: Two-point shooting: 34 % (FCBB) // 40 % (Kaunas); Three-point shooting: 31 % // 43 %; Free-throw shooting: 94 % // 65 %; Rebounds: 38 //43; Assists: 14 // 10; Turnovers: 17 // 19


Corey Walden: "We showed a good performance against this team, but of course we made too many mistakes. We couldn't do our job on defense. The good thing is that we stayed together and never gave up."

FCBB assistant coach, Adriano Vertemati: "First of all, congratulations to Zalgiris. They played with a lot of energy in a great atmosphere. Obviously, we had problems defending Evans and Ulanovas. But our big problem today was mainly that we were missing several guards. They, on the other hand, built good momentum, especially when we didn't score much in the third quarter. When we were down 17 points, we still knew that every point counted, not just for this game. So we fought until the end and that's why we're proud of the way we played."

Kaunas head coach, Kazys Maksvytis: "Our patience and physicality paid off today to win the game. My players applied a lot of pressure and tried not to allow any points through quick attacks or threes. That worked for large parts of the game. We had good control of the ball especially in the beginning and that gave us a lead. Congratulations to the players and the fans and Merry Christmas."

Game recap:

Kicking things off in one of the most atmospheric halls in the world were Corey Walden, Isaac Bonga, Niels Giffey, Augustine Rubit and Freddie Gillespie. The FCBB were not intimidated and  Giffey showed that he was back and healthy and immediately sank the first three-pointer of the game. Walden also knew only one mode - attack! The guard put up seven points in the first five minutes and forced coach Kazys Maksvytis to call a timeout - 12-8. Keenan Evans had something to say against the good start of the guests and after the timeout he turned up the heat with twelve quick points. After a three-pointer by Roland Smits, the 15,000 fans went wild. Six Munich turnovers helped Zalgiris get into a rhythm and decide the first quarter in their favor (26-21).

US guard Keenan Evans (32 points) was unstoppable today.
US guard Keenan Evans (32 points) was unstoppable today. (c) Koroliovas

In the second quarter, Cassius Winston evened the turnover ratio and twice in 60 seconds stole the ball and sent Rubit on his way to the Kaunas basket. But still there was seemingly no answer to Evans, who carried the offense almost by himself (33-28/13th). However, as the Lithuanians' aggressiveness increased, they were already at five team fouls after three minutes. Unfortunately, he Munich team rarely took advantage of foul trouble and were punished with baskets on the opposite side. Trinchieri disliked this turn and addressed it in a timeout. With a poor percentage from there and a still dominant Evans (21 points in 15 minutes), the first half went to the hosts - 44-35.

The game became hectic, Evans harder to stop

At the start of the second half, it was Winston (9 assists) who set the stage for his teammates while Giffey converted a dream play to cut the lead to 44-40 (22nd). Only the shooting for Bayern remained improvable (33 percent). The spectators in the Zalgirio Arena continued to enjoy Evans' solo show (53-44/26th) and the game now became more and more hectic. On both sides the ball was thrown away via turnover almost every second. Zalgiris came out of the wild phase on top and continued to pull away a bit in the third quarter - 60-48.

Niels Giffey (right) was seen off by his ex-club before the game.
Niels Giffey (right) was seen off by his ex-club before the game.

The final quarter showed a similar story as Bayern defended solidly and made good shots but also missed some open ones.The short rotation also contributed to the decreasing accuracy for the traveling FCBB. With the tough schedule and travel load, there seemed to be a lack of strength to catch up. Four minutes before the end, Trinchieri also had to leave the court after his second technical foul (69-54).

Bayern tried in the final minutes - even without Trinchieri, who waited in vain for foul whistles and received two technicals - to keep the intensity high, especially defensively. With a lot of fighting spirit, they once again pushed the deficit into single digits. However, there was too little time left to overcome the hosts- 75-67.