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Basketball Bundesliga

Bayern cast spell on Merlins and win big

FC Bayern Basketball dominated in their 103-66 win over the Crailsheim Merlins on Gameday 10 in the BEKO Basketball Bundesliga.

A record crowd at HAKRO Arena of 3,310 spectators - including 100 FCBB fans who made the trip - did not want to miss the matchup between the German league champs Bayern and the newly promoted Merlins. The home crowd created a raucous atmosphere and helped Crailsheim on a 21-4 run that built a temporary 39-32 lead before Bayern got on track. Paul Zipser celebrated a great comeback with 10 points in six and a half minutes of playing time. All Bayern players entered the game and scored, led by Nihad Djedovic's 18 points. John Bryant scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for another double-double.

Scoring by quarter (FCBB - CRA): 24-15, 23-24, 28-15, 28-12 

FC Bayern team: Nihad Djedovic (18 points), Bo McCalebb (13/4 assists), John Bryant (11/10 rebounds), Paul Zipser (10/3 reb), Jan Jagla (9/7 reb), Vladimir Stimac (8), Dusko Savanovic (7/6 reb), Robin Benzing (7), Lucca Staiger (6/3 steals), Yassin Idbihi (6), Vasilije Micic (5/6 ast), and Heiko Schaffartzik (3).


Svetislav Pesic, Head Coach, FCBB: "It took us some time to get into our rhythm against a dedicated, motivated team and an emotional, sold-out arena. We did not play that bad in the first half but we simply could not hit from the outside. We had to stop the fastbreaks and transition from Crailsheim and we knew we would eventually make our open shots. We see that Paul Zipser is a great talent, it is not worthwhile to make impatient decisions or take risks. He had a serious injury and worked hard. We will give him careful chances from game-to-game so that he can get into rhythm. Today offered a situation to give him a feeling that he is part of the team."

Ingo Enskat, Head Coach, Crailsheim: "Congratulations to Bayern. The game had two phases: the first 16, 17 minutes, when we had power, intensity and the belief we could win the game. And the time after when we fell to the pressure put on by ourselves. We lack structure, so we must work. The intensity that Bayern displays throughout the entire game is of course immense."


1st Quarter
Bo McCalebb, Nihad Djedovic, Robin Benzing, Dusko Savanovic and John Bryant formed the starting five for FCBB on the Basketball Bundesliga's Gameday 10. From the start, Bayern wanted to remove the frustration from the Barcelona defeat. Savanovic opened with a fade-away jumper for the first points in the loud HAKRO Arena. The Serb was also the playmaker in the opening phase of the game with his fine backdoor pass to newcomer McCalebb, who scored his first career BBL points and also had an easy game. Crailsheim were overwhelmed by the Munich intensity and needed a few minutes to adjust to the rapid transition game of Bayern. The Merlins could not stop the fastbreak form the Reds, and Bryant benefitted from his physical superiority under the basket. However a drawback was Munich's inability to hit from three-point land, missing their first seven attempts. FCBB led 24-15 after the first ten minutes.

2nd Quarter
Yassin Idbihi scored to give Bayern their first double-digit lead of the day (26-15, 11th minute). Bayern were active offensively but unfocused, and the long-range jumpers were still not falling. The Merlins got back into the game with a 10-2 run (28-25, 12th min). McCalebb now assumed responsibility and showed with his drive and pull-up jumper that he can be well-integrated into the Bayern system (31-26, 14th min). Crailsheim noted that the German league champions had not yet found their rhythm. Accordingly the hosts took their chances, especially Sean Mosley who developed a hot hand in the next minutes. The Merlins guard sank a three-pointer to give the home team their first lead, and followed up with another from beyond the arc that forced Coach Pesic to call timeout (32-37, 16th min). The game threatened to slip away from Munich after Mosley finished a steal with a dunk to extend the Bayern deficit to 32-39, but Vasilije Micic, Djedovic and Bryant - who connected for FCBB's first three-pointer of the game - led the team on a 15-0 run to get back on track and a 47-39 halftime lead.

3rd Quarter
Two three-pointers from Savanovic and Djedovic to start the quarter gave the traveling Bayern fans confidence that their team had found their long distance groove during halftime. Lucca Staiger found open spots on the perimeter and made two more three-pointers for a slightly larger point cushion (59-46, 25th min). Crailsheim were not impressed with the three-point fireworks and tried with all their united might to get back in the game. However Bayern had complete control of the game. Djedovic repeatedly flashed his offensive brilliance and McCalebb left the opponents in the cold with his lighting-fast sprints. Vladimir Stimac scored two baskets at the end of the quarter and extended the Bayern lead to 75-54.

4th Quarter
With a comfortable lead in hand, Bayern did not break their stride in the final quarter. The Munich lead grew to a solid 30 points (86-56, 34th min). Paul Zipser made his triumphant return to game action after more than six months dealing with an injury and promptly connected from beyond the arc to get on the scoreboard (92-60, 36th min). Crailsheim did not give up at any time during the game and continued to fight, cheered on till the end by the partisan home crowd in Ilshofen. However, their efforts were ultimately only consolation, Zipser would score Bayern's final seven points including a basket to get Bayern to the 100-point mark and a three-pointer at the buzzer to seal the 103-66 win for Munich.


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