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Holding on

Bayern edge Ludwigsburg 95-92

FC Bayern Basketball shook off their Euroleague disappointment from Friday and proved their crunch time mettle in a 95-92 win against MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg on Sunday in the BEKO Basketball Bundesliga.

After an easy start that saw Bayern take a double-digit lead in the first quarter, Ludwigsburg crept back to take a lead after three quarters thanks to hot shooting from Shawn Huff. But Munich's veterans led by Dusko Savanovic (21 points) and K.C. Rivers (16 points) cooled off the fiesty visitors to regain the lead and hold them off with free-throws. Bayern's hard-fought effort handed Ludwigsburg their first road loss of the BBL season and tightened the top of the league standings.

Bayern's next games will also match them up with teams battling for cup and playoff positions. One day before Christmas Eve, the Reds travel to Braunschweig to take on the Basketball Lions. Tip-off at 18:30 CET on December 23rd. The Reds return home for a Bavarian Derby on Boxing Day against promoted-side s.Oliver Baskets from Würzburg (Saturday, December 26 at 17:00 CET).

Scoring by quarter (FCBB - LUD): 25-13, 22-27, 23-31, 25-21

FC Bayern Team: Dusko Savanovic (21 points), K.C. Rivers (16/5 assists), Deon Thompson (13), Alex Renfroe (11/5 ast), Bryce Taylor (10), John Bryant (10/8 rebounds), Nihad Djedovic (9), Anton Gavel (5), Paul Zipser. DNP: Andreas Seiferth, Daniel Mayr and Dejan Kovacevic.


Svetislav Pesic, Head Coach, FCBB: "We started well. That was a tight game against a well-prepared opponent. The game today was not easy for us. After the loss in Belgrade, the team had to find new energy today. In the end, we displayed the necessary mental toughness today. Now we want to take the energy and also win the rest of the games this year."

John Patrick, Head Coach, Ludwigsburg: "This was our first loss on the road. It was not easy for both teams as we each had a game less than 48 hours earlier. I am proud of my team. We started terrible as we had some problems to control Dusko Savanovic. But we came back and moved the ball well. Bayern were completely and simply the better team. The atmosphere was tremendous. For the fans this was a basketball game at its finest."


1st Quarter

Twenty-four hours after their return from Belgrade, Bayern Basketball sent Alex Renfroe, K.C. Rivers, Bryce Taylor, Dusko Savanovic and Deon Thompson out for the opening tip against MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg, who were in second place in the BBL standings and yet to lose an away game. Munich displayed no letdown after Friday's Euroleague loss, jumping out to a big lead. Savanovic got on the scoresheet first, Renfroe followed with a drive and a layup off the glass, Thompson with a jumper, and from the inbounds pass, Savanovic scored quickly (8-2, 3' minutes). Anton Gavel came of the bench and sank a three-pointer for the 12-point lead (15-3, 6'). Ludwigsburg's offense woke up and kept even with Munich the rest of the way, but the lead remained 12 points as Bayern led 25-13 after the first ten minutes.

2nd Quarter

Ludwigsburg started the second quarter continuing the run they started at the end of the first quarter, a 10-2 run capped off by consecutive second-chance conversions, Head Coach Svetislav Pesic was not happy and called timeout (27-21, 12'). Taylor ended the run with a drive and score, Savanovic converted a three-point play and Rivers swished a three-pointer, Ludwigsburg had to call time, down once again by double-digits (35-24, 14'). After the visitors crept back once more, Munich used some showtime to extend the lead back up.

Thompson slammed in two points, then a fastbreak finished by a behind-the-back bounce pass from Taylor to Renfroe who dunked it home. Taylor's three-point play once again gave Bayern an 11-point lead (42-31, 17'). As the quarter came to a close, Coach Pesic was not happy with the calls from the referees and received a technical foul. Pesic headed to the locker rooms to cool himself off, but the damage was done as Ludwigsburg enjoyed a 5-point trip down the floor (46-38, 19'). Jon Brockman finished the 7-0 run, however Munich held on to a 47-40 lead at halftime.

3rd Quarter

Bayern started the second half similar to the first half, Thompson scored off a dish from Rivers (49-40, 21') and Savanovic put on a dribble-display before pulling up and knocking down a three-pointer (56-46, 24'). Ludwigsburg did not win all their road games till this point by backing down, and they stormed back. First a 7-0 run to cut their deficit down to 56-53 (16'). Savanovic cut that run off with converting a three-point-play to make it 59-53, but then Shawn Huff got hot. The Finnish international hit consecutive three-pointers on each side of a Bayern timeout to tie the game at 59-all (27').

After his offensive rebound put-back tied it all at 61-all, Huff officially entered the zone with another trey to tie it after Bryant's three-point play (64-64, 18'). Ludwigsburg kept going back to Huff but he was just a hair off each time, however his teammates kept the ball alive and scored for their first lead (67-68, 29'). An exciting finish to the third quarter, as Rivers connected from beyond-the-arc for the short-lived 70-68 lead. Huff put a cap on a tremendous performance, his fourth three-pointer in the period and the visitors would take a 71-70 lead with 10 minutes left.

4th Quarter

A late December game turned into a playoff game in the fourth quarter as tensions and tempers rose. Nihad Djedovic was called for a technical foul but Ludwigsburg could not score more points with the possession after the free-throw (72-74, 32'). Thompson scored... and one! Bayern back up 75-74, but Jason Boone scored twice including a drive'n'dunk for the three-point lead (75-78, 34'). Munich regained the edge thanks to Savanovic and Rivers hitting all their free-throws and Taylor stopped-and-popped a 'J' from the baseline (81-78, 36'). A see-saw battle ensued with the visitors tying the game at 83-all.

After failing in crunchtime throughout the Euroleague Regular Season, Munich showed off the lessons learned. Rivers drove and scored once more for the lead (85-83, 28'). Rivers showed nerves missing his free-throws, but his teammate John Bryant picked him and the team up, grabbing the loose ball and putting it back in for the 87-83 lead (39'). That would be Bayern's last field goal, as Ludwigsburg went into foul-mode, forcing the Reds to earn the win from the charity stripe. And that they did. Savanovic sank the final two of eight free-throws to clinch the 95-92 win, hand Ludwigsburg their first away loss and keep Bayern in the title race.


Beko BBL, Gameday 14:
Wednesday, 23rd December, 18:30 CET
FC Bayern Basketball at Basketball Loewen Braunschweig

Beko BBL, Gameday 15:
Saturday, 26th December, 17:00 CET, Audi Dome
FC Bayern Basketball vs s.Oliver Baskets

Beko BBL, Gameday 16:
Wednesday, 30th December, 20:30 CET
FC Bayern Basketball at WALTER Tigers Tübingen