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To the limit

Bayern battle back to edge Fraport

FC Bayern Basketball recovered in time from a second-half deficit to sneak past the FRAPORT Skyliners 78-76 and hold onto second place in the BEKO Basketball Bundesliga standings.

After starting strong in the first quarter, Munich were listless in the middle quarters, allowing Frankfurt to outscore them by 22 points and start the final quarter down by 11 points. However, a fourth quarter comeback led by team captain Bryce Taylor (18 points) and newly added Vitalis Chikoko (16 points, 7-for-7 field goals) helped the Reds escape with the narrow win. Munich were without Deon Thompson, a late scratch due to a calf injury, Dusko Savanovic (stomach flu) and Nihad Djedovic.

Bayern will host Galatasary Basket Istanbul in the first leg of the Eurocup Quarterfinals on Tuesday, tip-off at 20:00 CET.

Scoring by quarter (FCBB - FRAP): 29-18, 11-25, 13-21, 25-12

FC Bayern Team: Bryce Taylor (18 points/3-for-3 three-point FG), Vitalis Chikoko (16/6 rebounds), Anton Gavel (13), Paul Zipser (9), Justin Cobbs (8/5 assists), John Bryant (7), Maximilian Kleber (5/5 reb), Alex Renfroe (2), and Chad Toppert. DNP: Karim Jallow, Daniel Mayr and Dejan Kovacevic.

POSTGAME REACTION

Svetislav Pesic, Head Coach, FCBB: "It was important for us to win today, no matter how. We didn't give up today. We were missing three important players. In addition, Paul Zipser and Alex Renfroe just returned from their injuries. Yet we never lost the belief in ourselves. Maxi Kleber played great and battled till he dropped. Vitalis Chikoko showed he has integrated very well into the team. He used his advantage cleverly underneath the basket, and his teammates trust him. We saw that today. If you want to specially praise a player, then it is clearly Chikoko."

Gordon Herbert, Head Coach, FRAPORT: "Of course I am disappointed because I know we can play better. It was hard for us today. We quickly had five team fouls in the third quarter while Bayern had none. The same in the fourth quarter. However, one must recognize that Bayern always believed in themselves. The support of their home crowd played its part to help Bayern turn the game in the end."

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

1st Quarter

FCBB Head Coach Svetislav Pesic called on Justin Cobbs, Anton Gavel, Bryce Taylor, Maximilian Kleber and John Bryant as the starting five formation for the top game of the BBL weekend. After the Skyliners opened the scoring, Gavel hit a three-pointer for Munich's first points (3-4, 2' minutes). After Kleber converted a three-point-play for the 6-4 lead a minute later, FRAPORT answered with a trey. Cobbs countered with his own long distance make, Kleber found Gavel cutting through the lane for the layup, and Paul Zipser followed with a three-pointer, the 8-0 run forced Frankfurt to call timeout (14-7, 4'). Bayern kept the momentum as Taylor connected two more times from beyond-the-arc to extend the lead to 10 points (20-10, 6'). Bryant hit a layup and a three-pointer to keep the Skyliners at bay (27-16, 9'). Renfroe scored off the inbounds pass from Gavel to give Bayern the 29-18 lead after the first quarter.

2nd Quarter

Frankfurt were not going to make this an easy Sunday at the Dome for Bayern, starting the quarter once again scoring the first points. Vitalis Chikoko and Kleber provided some relief with consecutive buckets, but the Skyliners were on a roll, a 13-2 spurt tied the game at 35-35 (17'). Frankfurt surged ahead to take a 43-40 lead into halftime.

3rd Quarter

Chikoko, Taylor and Gavel scored to keep Bayern within one point of their guests, but German national Johannes Voightmann scored seven consecutive points including a three-pointer that forced Coach Pesic to call timeout (46-54, 25'). Gavel hit a three-pointer after the break, but Quantez Robertson started another scoring run for the Skyliners, this time 8-0 to drop Munich behind by 13 points. By the end of the quarter, FRAPORT led 64-53 heading into the final ten minutes.

4th Quarter

Bayern started to chip away at the deficit, Taylor starting the quarter with a swish on a short jumper and Chikoko with a layup, timeout Skyliners (57-64, 32'). Taylor completed a three-point-play and Chikoko once again with a bucket, again Frankfurt had to call timeout (62-66, 34'). Taylor matched a Robertson trey with one of his own to keep the Reds within four points. Coach Pesic was called for his second technical foul and thus headed to the locker room early. His team did not falter, Chikoko proving he was a good late season addition to the squad, scoring consecutive hoops to tie the game (69-69, 36').

Jordan Theodore hit a three-pointer as the visitors took back the lead, but Cobbs came right back with trey to tie it back up (72-72, 37'). Cobbs' free-throws earned the lead for Munich for the first time since the second quarter. But the Skyliners stayed right with the Reds, game-high scorer Robertson with 20 points hit free-throws to tie the game with :10 seconds left (76-76). Gavel drew the foul two seconds later and the veteran hit both his free-throws for the 78-76 lead. Robertson's final attempt for the game-winner from three-point-land hit the rim and bounced away. The clock hit all zeroes to confirm the 78-76 Bayern win.

UPCOMING GAMES

Eurocup, Quarterfinals, Game 1
Tuesday, March 15th, 20:00 CET, Audi Dome
FC Bayern Basketball vs Galatasaray Basket

Beko BBL, Gameday 26:
Saturday, March 19th, 20:30 CET
FC Bayern Basketball at medi bayreuth

Eurocup, Quarterfinals, Game 2
Tuesday, March 22nd, 19:00 CET
FC Bayern Basketball at Galatasaray Baske