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Djedovic, Defense leads Bayern past Berlin

Nihad Djedovic scored 21 points, 10 of them in the fourth quarter as FC Bayern Basketball outscored ALBA Berlin at the end to secure a 70-68 comeback win.

Bayern avenged losses to first-place Berlin in the season opening Champions Cup, the domestic cup competition and the first regular season matchup with a dramatic 14-3 run in the closing minutes in front of a sold out, play-off ready crowd at the Audi Dome. Djedovic led the comeback with determined drives to the basket, and Bayern put the clamps defensively on an explosive Berlin offense.

The Reds end the regular season on the road on Thursday, April 30th at the EWE Baskets in Oldenburg. The first game of the play-off quarter finals will take place in the Audi Dome on 9th May, the opponent is yet to be determined.

Scoring by quarter (FCBB - ALBA): 15-22, 16-16, 14-20, 25-10

FC Bayern team: Nihad Djedovic (21 points), Bryce Taylor (9), Dusko Savanovic (9), Vladimir Stimac (8/6 rebounds), Yassin Idbihi (8), Vasilije Micic (6), Heiko Schaffartzik (4/6 assists), Lucca Staiger (3), John Bryant (2), Anton Gavel (5 assists), Jan Jagla and Paul Zipser.

POSTGAME REACTION:

Svetislav Pesic, Head Coach, FCBB: "We won this game because of our defense. We changed our defensive gameplan. We defended man-to-man, we played zone defense and at the end, we double-teamed on the pick-and-roll. We executed the gameplan well. ALBA were surprised and that created turnovers. Our defensive performance gave us confidence and the fans provided extraordinary support. We believed that we would win."

Sasa Obradovic, Head Coach, ALBA: "Bayern earned the victory and I'd like to congratulate them on it. We made inexcusable tactical errors in the last quarter, which ultimately cost us the win. We want to end the regular season in first place, which would be a great accomplishment for us."

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:

1st Quarter
Anton Gavel, Vasilije Micic, Nihad Djedovic, Vladimir Stimac and John Bryant were given the nod as the starting five by FCBB head coach Svetislav Pesic. Both teams displayed the defensive intensity in the early minutes that would define this game.  Neither team scored an offensive bucket until three minutes had past. After Berlin's Niels Giffey connected for a three-pointer, Stimac tied it up with bucket (3-3, 4'). ALBA went on a 10-1 run to build an early lead (4-13, 6'). Taylor responded with a three-point-play, followed by a three-pointer from Micic and Bayern stayed close (10-15, 8'). The teams traded fouls and forced shots, as the intensity increased once more. For the Reds, the hustle was there, but the shots were not falling. Berlin took a 22-15 lead after the opening 10 minutes.

2nd Quarter
ALBA increased their lead to ten points after a made three-pointer to begin the second stanza (15-25, 11') but that sparked Bayern's offense into life. Savanovic's three-pointer highlighted a 10-2 run, and after Stimac's easy bucket, Berlin took a timeout (25-27, 15'). Sasa Obradovic's men turned the tide after the break, a 5-0 run increased their lead and this time Svetislav Pesic called timeout (25-32, 17'). Sharpshooters Djedovic and Alex Renfroe exchanged three-point bombs to turn up the offensive flow, but it was Renfroe who beat the halftime buzzer with a bucket to keep ALBA in front (31-38, 20').

3rd Quarter
Berlin began the second half the same way they ended the first, on a run. Six consecutive points resulted in a 9-0 run from the end of the second quarter. Stimac, Taylor and Savanovic scored to get the deficit down to single digits, but Berlin were matching everything Bayern offered (37-46, 26'). Bayern were battling back, but they still trailed by 13 points heading into the final quarter.

4th Quarter
The last two games came down to the wire thanks to Bayern comebacks, did Pesic's men have one more in them? Once again, a fast start would be the key. Jan Jagla stole the ball, found Gavel leading the fastbreak who dished to a streaking Djedovic, layup and score. The hosts started the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run, which resulted in another ALBA timeout (51-60, 32'). Djedovic was not done yet. He drove the baseline, pump-faked his defender into the air and drew the foul and scored - three-point-play! (54-62, 33'). After Renfroe put Berlin 65-56 up, with a three-pointer from the wing, Djedovic was determined. He drove, scored a layup... and one! The Bosnian hit the resulting bonus free-throw (59-65, 36'). Djedovic controlled the offense, thus his teammates turned up the defense, forcing two consecutive ALBA turnovers. Lucca Staiger connected for a corner trey, Munich were now back in it (62-65, 36'). Bayern forced two more turnovers, Obradovic had to call a timeout to calm down his troops. After two Heiko Schaffartzik free-throws, Savanovic scored on a drive but could not convert the bonus, however, Bayern lead for the first time since 1-0 (66-65, 39'). Renfroe was not going to let the game slip away, he nailed a three-pointer to give Berlin the lead. It would be their last (66-68, 39').

Bayern's defense kept forcing the action, and Berlin kept making mistakes. Two more turnovers forced fouls. Djedovic made one of two free throws to bring Bayern within one point. Schaffartzik coolly converted his two for the lead (69-68), and Djedovic followed with one more (70-68, 39'). Berlin's final offensive chance was no different than any other in the fourth quarter. The Reds were aggressive, forcing ALBA to take a bad shot. The final three-point attempt was way off, Munich completed the comeback and finished their regular season home schedule with a victory. The win clinched the third seed for the BBL playoffs as Bayern look to lift the title once again.

UPCOMING GAMES:

BEKO BBL, Gameday 34:
Thursday, 30th April, 20:00 CEST
FC Bayern Basketball at EWE Baskets Oldenburg

BEKO BBL Playoffs, Quarterfinals, Game 1
Saturday, 9th May, 20:30 CEST, Audi Dome
FC Bayern Basketball vs TBD

BEKO BBL Playoffs, Quarterfinals, Game 2
Tuesday, 12th May, 18:30 CEST
FC Bayern Basketball at TBD