Baskonia fights off Bayern comeback
TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz used a huge start to the third quarter before holding on to its big lead and downing visiting FC Bayern Munich 78-71 on Friday night at the Buesa Arena. Baskonia kept its playoffs chances intact, improving to 15-14, while Bayern dropped to 18-11 in fifth place. The game was close in the first half, but Baskonia opened the third quarter with a 27-2 run. However, Bayern answered with a big run of its own and came within 6 in the fourth quarter, but Baskonia held on. Tonye Jekiri led Baskonia with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Rokas Giedraitis and Achille Polonara also scored 15 apiece, Alec Peters and Luca Vildoza each scored 11 points, and Pierria Henry dished 10 assists. Jalen Reynolds starred for Bayern with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. Vladimir Lucic scored 17 points and Wade Baldwin IV netted 13 in a losing effort.
Bayern went to its big men early, as JaJuan Johnson and Reynolds scored the team's first 8 points, and Baldwin hit one from downtown. But Baskonia center Jekiri went to work on the other end, scoring 8 points on his own including a basket-plus-foul to open a 14-11 lead. Henry beat the shot clock with a tough three, Baskonia's only attempt from downtown in the first 10 minutes, to help the hosts stay in front, 17-15 after the first quarter. A corner three from Vildoza and a drive to the basket from Peters opened 24-17 early in the second. However, Bayern erased the deficit by answering with a 0-7 run, courtesy of a dunk by Paul Zipser and a triple from Lucic. Henry and Jekiri briefly kept Baskonia in front, before a triple and a fastbreak dunk from Zipser helped put Bayern ahead 29-33. However, a three-point play from Henry sent the teams into the half tied at 33-33.
Baskonia scored the first 16 points of the second half, with back-to-back triples from Polonara and Giedraitis followed by 4 points from Peters helping open 49-33. Bayern needed almost 4 minutes to score, free throws from Lucic, before Polonara netted outside and inside. A layup from Giedraitis and a triple from Vildoza increased the margin to 60-35. Reynolds snapped Bayern's field goal drought with a jumper, and fastbreak dunks from Baldwin and Lucic helped the visitors finish the quarter on a 0-10 run, before a corner triple from David Kraemer cut it to 60-48 at the start of the fourth. Peters answered with a three to snap a 0-13 run, and Giedraitis traded triples with Kraemer, before second-chance baskets from Reynolds and Baldwin got Bayern within 66-57. Vildoza scored the next 5 points for Baskonia, including a triple, but Lucic answered each of those baskets, also knocking down a triple, then scored on a fastbreak to make it 71-64 with 3:32 to go. Peters found Jekiri for a dunk, but Reynolds fought for a tip-in, and Bayern got within 72-66 with 2:12 left. However, the visitors never got closer to that, as Baskonia made all its free throws to close it out.
Bayern wins tiebreaker
Baskonia won this game, but Bayern wins their head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to a 77-66 win in their first meeting, back in Round 15 in Munich.
The big run
Baskonia opened the third quarter with a 27-2 run, holding Bayern without a field goal for 7 minutes and 10 seconds. Overall, a 31-2 spurt bridging the second and third quarters turned a 29-33 deficit into a 60-35 lead.
Career game for Reynolds
Bayern big man Jalen Reynolds had his third double-double of the season, scoring 18 points on 8-for-11 two-point shooting, and pulling down 10 rebounds. He also dished a career-high 7 assists, accumulating a career-best PIR 34.
Baskonia shot just 2-for-3 from downtown in the first half, and the hosts kept their accuracy in the third quarter, making 6 of its first 8 attempts, which helped open a 25-point lead. However, that did not hold up, as the home team made just 3 of its last 13 three-point shots.
Next week in Round 30, Baskonia will be on the road against Zenit St Petersburg, while Bayern will host Anadolu Efes Istanbul.
Friday, March 12, 2021