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Bayern sneak past Bilbao

Bryce Taylor's only two points of the night, a pair of free-throws with one second left, completed the 78-76 comeback win and kept FC Bayern Basketball unbeaten at the top of the Eurocup Group G standings.

Bayern's third win in as many Eurocup Last 32 games extends the team's win streak to nine game in all competitions. Munich won in dramatic fashion after being down by six points with a little more than four minutes left and trying to defend against a red-hot Darius Bertans, who scored 24 of his game-high 27 points in the second half. Bayern's crunchtime hard knocks from the Euroleague paid off as they finished the game on an 11-3 run. Alex Renfroe led the Reds with 16 points while Nihad Djedovic and Deon Thompson each contributed 12 points to bring their team to the brink of moving on in the Eurocup season.

Head Coach Svetislav Pesic's team will enjoy a week off as their BBL game this weekend at BG Göttingen was postponed to February. Munich return to the Audi Dome for three consecutive home games. The second leg against Bilbao will tip-off next Wednesday, January 27th at 20:00 CET. The Giessen 46ers visit Munich on Sunday, January 31st at 17:00 CET. Bayern will host yet another team they beat on the road in the Eurocup, they host Banvit Basket from Turkey on Wednesday, February 3rd at 20:00 CET.

Scoring by quarter (FCBB - BILB): 18-25, 23-15, 20-23, 17-13

FC Bayern Team: Alex Renfroe (16 points/8 rebounds), Nihad Djedovic (12), Deon Thompson (12), Anton Gavel (9), John Bryant (9/5 reb), Dusko Savanovic (8), Paul Zipser (6), Justin Cobbs (4), Bryce Taylor (2/8 reb). DNP: Sebastian Schmitt, Daniel Mayr, and Maximilian Kleber.


Svetislav Pesic, Head Coach, FCBB: "That was a very intense game. Of course we wanted to play our transition offense. Still, for 30 minutes it didn't happen against a team with four outside players. In the last five minutes, we figured it out and made good decisions for a deserved win. We are also able to take with us the knowledge what we will face next week at home in the return game against Bilbao."

Deon Thompson, Center, FCBB: "A very important win for us, above all because it was on the road. A tough battle, at the end it was worth it. They were able to get their shooters open. But we were always keep it close."


1st Quarter

FCBB Head Coach Svetislav Pesic called on Alex Renfroe, Anton Gavel, Bryce Taylor, Dusko Savanovic and John Bryant as the starting five for their third Eurocup Last 32 game. After the hosts went up early with a three-pointer, Renfroe drove through the lane untouched and slammed home Bayern's first points (2-3, 2' minutes). Renfroe would find success once more inside, cutting through the lane to receive the pass from Bryant and scoring for the lead (6-5, 4'). Bilbao went on a 7-1 run thanks to former BBL player Alex Ruoff, and Coach Pesic called timeout (10-15, 7'). Deon Thompson scored a couple of baskets to keep Munich close, but a three-pointer and three-point play ensured the Spaniards took a 25-18 lead into the next quarter.

2nd Quarter

Thompson opened the quarter with a nice post move and his shot went off the glass and in (20-25, 11'). The Bayern center proceeded to finish the fastbreak started by Taylor's steal with a bucket... and one! (25-30, 14'). Bayern's defense came up big again, Savanovic stole the ball and after missing the initial attempt, grabbed the rebound and scored on the second chance. But a minute later, he committed the technical foul and Bilbao converted the free-throw (27-31, 15'). Bryant finished the acrobatic spin move in the blocks, off the glass and in (33-35, 17'). After Paul Zipser connected from beyond the arc, Renfroe with yet another big shot, pulled up and nailed the trey for the lead (40-41, 19'). Missed free-throws by Bilbao confirmed the lead for the Reds at halftime.

3rd Quarter

The third quarter belonged to one man. Bilbao's Dairis Bertans caught fire from three-point land. First, the Latvian tied the game up twice, the last one coming after a Renfroe trey (48-48, 24'). After a he hit a pair of free-throws, he scored again from the field and Coach Pesic called timeout to figure out a way to contain him (51-55, 26'). Whatever Munich drew up, it didn't work. Bertans once more for three, and Bilbao were looking to pull away (53-58, 27'). Bertans finished the quarter scoring 15 points to build a 63-57 lead, however Renfroe and Djedovic converted their free-throws to keep Bayern within striking distance, only down 63-61 heading to the final 10 minutes.

4th Quarter

Gavel scored a tough layup to get the Reds within 65-63, but Bertans returned from the bench and promptly nailed yet another three-pointer, and followed up once more from long distance, Bayern had to call timeout (67-73, 36'). Munich's Euroleague campaign was plagued by crunchtime failures, however in the Eurocup, those lessons learned have paid off. Gavel scored, and Savanovic with the one-handed jam, the comeback had started, timeout Bilbao as Munich were down two points (71-73, 38'). Djedovic scored a bucket and drew the foul on the next possesion. Despite not making the free-throw, the game was now tied! (73-73, 39').

Djedovic made up for the miss by scoring the go-ahead basket, Munich led 75-73 with :39 seconds left! After both teams suffered misadventures at the free-throw line, Bertans came to Bilbao's rescue and tied the game 76-all with :09 left. On the other side of the floor, Taylor's drive to the basket forced Bilbao to foul him with :01 left, and "Air 44" connected on both free-throws for the lead. Bilbao's final attempt was not successful, Bayern remain top of the group with the 78-76 escape.


Eurocup, Last 32, Game 4:
Wednesday, 27th January, 20:00 CET, Audi Dome
FC Bayern Basketball vs Dominion Bilbao Basket

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