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Bayern’s second half surge extinguishes Phoenix

FC Bayern Basketball overcame a 12-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Phoenix Hagen 52-25 in the second half to win 97-82 and remain perfect in the young Beko BBL season.

Head Coach Svetislav Pesic's team suffered through problems caused by Hagen's accurate long distance shooting in the first half, but they found a much improved defensive effort after the halftime break that created turnovers for the hosts and easy baskets for Munich.  Bayern earned their ninth Bundesliga win in as many games against Hagen. John Bryant led six Bayern players in double-figures with 19 points and 6 rebounds, while newcomer Alex Renfroe contributed an all-round game with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists.

Bayern return home for their next game on Sunday, October 11th when they host the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Tip-off is set for 15:00 CET.

Scoring by quarter (FCBB - HAG): 21-30, 24-27, 29-8, 23-17

FC Bayern team: John Bryant (19 points, 6 rebounds), Dusko Savanovic (16), Nihad Djedovic (14/5 reb), Anton Gavel (14), Alex Renfroe (13/6 reb/7 assists), K.C. Rivers (11), Deon Thompson (5), Paul Zipser (5), and Daniel Mayr. DNP: Andreas Seiferth, Sebastian Schmitt, Karim Jallow.

Postgame reaction

Svetislav Pesic, Head Coach, FCBB: "We were not alone on the court. Hagen played with a lot of courage and took risks. (Adam) Hess hit four three-pointers in the first quarter, and we actually defended him well. However, we played much better in the second half and passed this difficult test. Now we will continue to work so that we can improve our team defense."

Anton Gavel, Guard, FCBB: "We gave up 57 points in the first half, that is way too much. We defended better in the second half and found our way to the basket."

Adam Hess, Small Forward, Hagen: "Bayern is just a very good team. Everyone saw that in the second half. We played well for 20 minutes, then Bayern's quality prevailed, as they clearly played with more pressure."

Game highlights

1st Quarter

Head Coach Svetislav Pesic selected the same starting five as the season opening game as Alex Renfroe, K.C. Rivers, Nihad Djedovic, Dusko Savanovic and John Bryant went out on the court for Bayern Basketball.

Hagen committed a turnover right at the beginning, signaling what was to come for them the rest of the evening, and Renfroe scored the first points of the game. Two more turnovers led to more Bayern points and an early 6-0 lead (2' minutes). After a Renfroe dunk to extend the lead to 8-2, the Firebirds got hot, especially Adam Hess. The German sank a pair of three-pointers to sandwich an Owen Klassen dunk to earn Hagen the lead (8-10, 4'). A Bayern turnover led to a Brandon Jefferson trey and Coach Pesic had to call timeout (8-13, 5').Hess was not done, he added a couple of more long distance makes from beyond the arc, and the Birds were looking to fly away (13-23, 8'). Anton Gavel finally earned Munich's first three-pointer and Hess finally missed one to keep the Reds close (18-25, 8'). However, David Bell made Hagen's sixth three-pointer in the first quarter for the 11-point lead (19-30, 9'). A pair of Savanovic free-throws brought Bayern back to within 30-21 after the first quarter.

2nd Quarter

Bayern survived the Firebirds' run in the opening ten minutes and answered back at the beginning of the second quarter, aided by the return of the turnover for Hagen. Thompson finished an alley-oop assist and a Gavel three-pointer tightened the score to 34-30 for the hosts who were forced to call time (30-36, 24'). Savanovic converted a three-point-play, and, after sinking two free-throws, Djedovic would later grab an offensive rebound and scored - the lead was again Bayern's (37-36, 15'). The even game reached a vital turning point after Savanovic earned a technical foul. Hess scored the bonus free-throw and Bell nailed a trey with the ensuing possession. Pesic had to call timeout to refocus his troops (38-42, 16').Hagen were now more than fired up. Consecutive blocks on Savanovic and Djedovic turned into more points for the hosts (37-46, 16'). Hess got hot again with a couple of more buckets and after Rivers was blocked, Jefferson connected for three (39-51, 18'). The action slowed down allowing Bayern to catch their collective breaths and scratch back to within 8 points thanks to free-throws (44-52, 19') but at the end, this time it was Paul Zipser who lost his cool and earned a technical foul. Free-throws at the end of the quarter earned Phoenix the 57-45 halftime lead.

3rd Quarter

After the opening game win against Oldenburg, Assistant Head Coach Emir Mutapcic stated this year's Bayern team will be known for their defense, and it was the stifling nature of Munich's defense that would dominate the next minutes of the game. Hagen assisted by turning over the ball several times after taking a 61-50 lead (23'). Bryant grabbed the loose ball after his teammate Zipser was blocked and converted the bucket and the foul. The Birds turned it over that led to a Bryant alley-oop to Zipser, and Djedovic was true from the three-point line. Bayern were back to within three points and Hagen called timeout (58-61, 24').The break didn't help bring back the focus for the Firebirds, who would commit four more turnovers during a stretch that earned Munich the lead once more (64-63, 26'). Another turnover for the home team, and Rivers made them pay with a three-pointer (67-63, 27'). Hagen continued to handle the ball as if dribbling with actual claws, committing a couple of more turnovers, and Munich were obliged to make them pay. Savanovic's three-pointer puntuated a 24-4 run to finish the third quarter and the 74-65 lead heading into the final quarter.

4th Quarter

The Red Wave continued into the final ten minutes as Savanovic started the scoring with consecutive buckets (78-65, 31'). Another Hagen turnover led to a Renfroe dunk that led to Phoenix Head Coach Ingo Freyer losing his cool and earning a technical foul. The frustration felt by the Firebirds did not stop Bayern, and when Bryant scored a few plays later, it was a 20-point lead for the Bavarians (89-69, 34'). Munich had victory in hand. The late three-pointers by Hagen only made the score respectable for the Birds. Bayern improved their record to 2-0 in the early going after the 97-82 win.

Upcoming games

Beko BBL, Gameday 3:

Sunday, 11th October, 15:00 CET, Audi Dome

FC Bayern Basketball vs. Telekom Baskets Bonn

Turkish Airlines Euroleague, Regular Season, Round 1:

Friday, 16th October, 18:45 CET

FC Bayern Basketball at Fenerbahce Istanbul

Beko BBL, Gameday 4:

Monday, 19th October, 20:00 CET, Audi Dome

FC Bayern Basketball vs. Mitteldeutscher BC

Turkish Airlines Euroleague, Regular Season, Round 2:

Thursday, 22nd October, 20:45 CET, Audi Dome

FC Bayern Basketball vs. Khimki Moscow Region