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Ludwigsburg outshoot Bayern 75-69 to even series

FC Bayern Basketball missed a tremendous opportunity to close out their quarterfinal series against MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg on Tuesday, stumbling at the end in the 75-69 loss and now will host the deciding Game 5 on Thursday at the Audi Dome.

Munich dug themselves in a deep hole in the first half thanks to a sluggish offense and a sharp-shooting Ludwigsburg team, who hit eight three-pointers to build a 12-point halftime lead. After a sluggish third quarter for both teams, Bayern made a furious comeback to get within two points in crunchtime. However, an ill-advised unsportmanslike foul by Nihad Djedovic ended the rally and allowed Ludwigsburg to hold on to the lead till the end for the win.

Maximilian Kleber scored a season-high 19 points for the Reds in the loss, including 4-for-5 from behind-the-arc, while team captain Bryce Taylor added 14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Shawn Huff countered with 16 points for Ludwigsburg, 11 coming in the key second quarter to build the lead against Munich.

Bayern hope to keep the home-team-winning trend going on Thursday for Game 5. Tip-off for this elimination game is at 20:30 CEST in the Audi Dome. The winner will play top seed and defending BBL Champion Brose Baskets in the semifinals for Game 1 on Sunday in Bamberg.

Scoring by quarter (FCBB - LUBU): 16-17, 19-30, 14-13, 20-15

FC Bayern Team: Maximilian Kleber (19 points/4 rebounds), Bryce Taylor (14/6 reb/3 assists), Nihad Djedovic (13/3 ast), Alex Renfroe (8/6 reb/3 ast), Vitalis Chikoko (5), Deon Thompson (4), Justin Cobbs (2), John Bryant (2/6 reb/3 ast), Paul Zipser (2). DNP: Karim Jallow and Dejan Kovacevic.


BEKO BBL Playoffs, Quarterfinals
Best-of-five series tied 2-2

Game 1 - at FCBB 97, LUBU 80
Game 2 - FCBB 74, at LUBU 93
Game 3 - at FCBB 79, LUBU 68
Game 4 - FCBB 69, at LUBU 75
Game 5 - Thursday, May 19th, 20:30 CEST, Audi Dome


Svetislav Pesic, Head Coach, FCBB: "Congratulations to Ludwigsburg on the deserved win. That was a completely different game than last week, we were much better on defense. The exception being the second quarter, we could not control (Shawn) Huff from distance. We had our chances in the third and fourth quarters, but ultimately the three-pointers from Ludwigsburg from the first 20 minutes was the reason that we lost. But I am confident, I do not doubt that we will win the fifth game in front of our fans in the Audi Dome."

Maximilian Kleber, Forward, FCBB: "We lost the game from the beginning. Once again the necessary intensity was missing. I do not know why. That should not happen to us. Now we simply have a 'do-or-die' situation, we simply have to win at home. It's our fault that we have to play again on Thursday. We must give it our all and simply win. That is our duty."

John Patrick, Head Coach, Ludwigsburg: "We held Bayern under 80 points now for the third consecutive time. I am very proud of my team. That was the only way we could win today because we also had a few problems on offense. Compliments to my boys. This was our 54th game of the season and they just gave everything. We have practiced twice a day since August for such games and the next game in Munich. Now matter what happens, I am proud of this team."


1st Quarter

FCBB Head Coach Svetislav Pesic changed up the starting lineup calling on Justin Cobbs and Vitalis Chikoko to join Nihad Djedovic, Bryce Taylor, and Maximilian Kleber in the starting five. Right from the outset, Ludwigsburg exhibited the hot hand, opening the scoring with a pair of three-pointers and the early lead (4-8, 4' minutes). LuBu would squander the lead thanks to turnovers, Taylor started the run with a steal and the easy layup, sparking the Reds to tie it up later (12-12, 7'). The teams closed out the quarter with free throws, and Ludwigsburg finished with the slim 17-16 lead (10').

2nd Quarter

Bayern took over the lead while the hosts continued to be plagued with the turnover bug. However Finnish national player Shawn Huff caught fire, draining outside jumpers with ease including a pair of triples, timeout called by Coach Pesic (21-25, 13'). Kleber answered back, showing off his outside touch with a pair of treys to tie the game up once again (27-27, 15'). The German national would sink one more from long range for the 30-29 lead, but that only angered the hosts more. Three more moneyballs, including Huff one more time, forced the Reds to call timeout once again (33-40, 19'). Bayern were done in at the bell as Ludwigsburg could not miss. This time it was Brad Loesing, on target right before the buzzer with another three-pointer, and Munich trailed 47-35 at the break. (20')

3rd Quarter

Both teams came out nervous and out-of-sync with the stakes high for both sides. Turnovers, forced shots that missed, and overall sloppy play dominated the first four minutes of the second half. After Loesing connected for three, Taylor responded with one of his own, and was fouled as he shot. The American completed the four-point-play, added a free-throw thanks to the opposing coach's technical foul, and scored off an offensive rebound putback (43-52, 27'). Munich's offense returned to its unconfident mode after that, especially when Loesing made his three-pointer from 'Steph Curry-range' (47-58, 28'). A pair of turnovers prevented Munich from getting closer, and when Kerron Johnson's trey beat the buzzer, Bayern sat 60-49 behind with ten minutes to play. (30').

4th Quarter

Behind by 11 points, the entire fourth quarter would be crunch time for Munich. Djedovic drained the open three-pointer but Huff countered with his fourth and final trey (52-63, 32'). Now it was the hosts' turn to lose confidence. An unsportsmanlike foul didn't help, Munich converted both free throws and Kleber drilled a three-pointer, timeout Ludwigsburg (57-63, 33'). Coach John Patrick's team could not get it together, committing turnovers and missing free-throws. However the Reds could not take advantage. Until Taylor swished a triple from downtown to spark his team (60-66, 36'). Ludwigsburg continued to miss their shots, Djedovic and Renfroe made theirs, timeout called by Coach Patrick (64-66, 37').

The game turned after Djedovic was caught elbowing Jason Boone in the back of the head, the referees assessed the unsportsmanlike foul and another separate foul against Bayern and awarded the ensuing possession to Ludwigsburg, who this time hit their free throws (64-69, 38'). Kleber and Renfroe scored to keep Munich within a possession (68-71, 39'). However a goaltending call was not awarded to Renfroe for his shot that was in the hoop and clearly interfered with. Johnson hit the final free throws as Ludwigsburg hold on 75-69 to force a series deciding Game 5 Thursday at the Audi Dome.