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Bayern comeback falls short

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FC Bayern Basketball rallied from 13 points down at crunch time to tie the game with less than a minute left, but Dominion Bilbao stopped the bleeding in time to pull out the 90-88 victory in a Eurocup Last 32 thriller.

Bilbao overcame a halftime deficit thanks to a game-high 24 points from Dairis Bertans and his teammates' timely accuracy from the three-point-line. Bayern began their furious comeback with five minutes to go with a 19-6 run to tie the game at 84-all with less than 40 seconds left. Bilbao kept their nerves and Bertans hit his free-throws to hold off Munich and avenge the two-point loss to Bayern last week.

Bayern lost for the first time in 2016, snapping a 10-game win streak in all competitions dating back before Christmas. Alex Renfroe led Munich with 23 points and Paul Zipser added a terrific all-round game with 22 points (90% shooting from the field) and 6 rebounds to spark Bayern's comeback, both in the first quarter and the fourth. However, 15 turnovers by the Reds and allowing the Spaniards to collect 12 offensive rebounds added up to the loss.

On Sunday, January 31st, Bayern will look to continue their seven-game BBL win streak when they host the Giessen 46ers at the Audi Dome. The game will tip off at 17:00 CET.

Scoring by quarter (FCBB - BILB): 21-17, 20-23, 15-24, 32-26

FC Bayern Team: Alex Renfroe (23 points), Paul Zipser (22/6 rebounds), Justin Cobbs (13), Nihad Djedovic (13/3 three-pointers), John Bryant (5), Deon Thompson (4), Dusko Savanovic (4), Anton Gavel (4), Bryce Taylor. DNP: Maximilian Kleber, Daniel Mayr, and Sebastian Schmitt.


Svetislav Pesic, Head Coach, FCBB: "We are disappointed of course, as we without a doubt wanted to win this game. Not only for the possible qualification to the Final 16 round, but especially to see if we can beat such a team. Against Bilbao we probably had some luck, on the other hand, we were unlucky at the end today, when Justin Cobbs slipped. We enjoyed the performance from Paul Zipser, he played well and took over the responsibility, and from Cobbs, he played very solid the entire game."

Paul Zipser, Forward, FCBB: "I think we played together well on offensive today. In the end, it was not enough. We had our problems on defense, we simply allowed too much, especially in the third quarter."

Sito Alonso, Head Coach, FCBB: "We played a very good game. We did play that way as well last week in Bilbao, but it didn't pay off for us. Therefore we were motivated today to win the game. We started great, after that, Bayern defended more aggressively. We needed something to get us going. What we showed shortly before and after halftime was excellent basketball. In my opinion, the win was deserved despite the close finish."


1st Quarter

FCBB Head Svetislav Pesic chose Alex Renfroe, Anton Gavel, Bryce Taylor, Dusko Savanovic and John Bryant to start the first game of the second leg of matchups in Group G of the Eurocup Last 32. Dairis Bertans sparked Bilbao to jump out to the early 8-0 lead by starting where he left off last week, making both his three-pointers, and Coach Pesic had enough and called timeout (1-10, 3' minutes). His team responded, going on a 14-4 run to get back into the game. First, Savanovic with the up-and-under layup, Deon Thompson came off the bench with a couple of scores and finally Paul Zipser entered the game and his bucket earned the lead (15-14, 8'). Zipser cut through the lane a bit later and finished with a two-handed stuff. The German national finished the quarter scoring from behind-the-arc, the triple ensured a 21-17 lead after the first quarter.

2nd Quarter

Bayern's lead grew to 10 points as Nihad Djedovic and Austin Cobbs scored with a three-pointer and three-point-play, respectively (27-17, 12'). Bilbao did not wilt, clawing back to within three points thanks to Bertans and Alex Mumbru, but Bryant scored consecutive baskets, including an open three-pointer, timeout Bilbao (34-26, 16'). A three-point shooting contest broke out, as Mumbru, Renfroe, and Axel Hervelle exchanged long distance bombs, and the visitors had caught up (37-37, 19'). After Zipser finished a tough drive with the lay in, Alex Suarez sank a three-pointer on the final possession, but Munich led 41-40 at the break.

3rd Quarter

Munich started the second half intent on building the lead, and after Gavel's trey and Renfroe's three points the hard way (a bucket and a free-throw), the Reds extended the lead (47-42, 22'). Bilbao proceeded to go on a 13-4 run thanks to the usual suspects - Mumbru and Bertans both connecting from beyond-the-arc - timeout Bayern (51-55, 26'). Despite Zipser stopping the run with a three-pointer that fell in thanks to a homecourt bounce off the rim, Bilbao kept coming. A 9-2 spurt to end the third quarter left Bayern in a 64-56 hole heading to the fourth quarter.

4th Quarter

After Renfroe drove and finished with a one-handed scoop layup, Bilbao showed no signs of letting up from three-point field goal range, a couple of more treys forced Munich to call time (60-69, 32'). Renfroe and Dejan Todorovic exhanged three-pointers, then Hervelle got hot, a pair of jumpers including a catch-and-shoot three-ball, the Reds trailed 78-65 with five minutes left. Bayern needed a comeback in crunchtime and Zipser again was the instigator, this time with a dunk (67-78, 36'). Cobbs knocked down a trey (72-79, 37') but all hope seemed to be lost when he missed a wide open three-point opportunity and Bilbao hit both free-throws on the ensuing possession for a nine-point lead (72-81, 38').

The deficit now 10 points, Zipser scored, and Djedovic was dead-on with consecutive three-pointers! Bayern were back to within two points! (81-83, 40'). After Bilbao made a free-throw, Cobbs scored, was fouled, and hit the free-throw, new game! Tied up, 84-all, with :39.8 seconds left! Mumbru finished a strong drive with a layin for the lead. However Bayern could not answer, as Cobbs slipped on his drive to the hoop and turned the ball over. Free-throws by Bertans on the other end kept Munich at bay, even as Renfroe scored twice but it was not enough. Bayern drop their first game of 2016, their first loss in the Eurocup, and thus snap their 10-game win streak in all competitions.


Beko BBL, Gameday 20:
Sunday, 31st January, 17:00 CET, Audi Dome
FC Bayern Basketball vs Giessen 46ers

Eurocup, Last 32, Game 5:
Wednesday, 3rd February, 20:00 CET, Audi Dome
FC Bayern Basketball vs Banvit Bandirma

Beko BBL, Gameday 21:
Sunday, 7th February, 17:00 CET
FC Bayern Basketball at ratiopharm ulm

Eurocup, Last 32, Game 6:
Wednesday, 10th February, 19:30 CET
FC Bayern Basketball at ratiopharm ulm