Bayern Basketball Still Unstoppable
After their strong Euro League start in Gora, Bayern Basketball also defeated Italian Champions Montepaschi Siena 89-79 in their home opener. Malcolm Delaney lead his team with 20 points and was supported by a big double-double (15 points, 11 Rebounds) from center John Bryant, who dominated on both sides of the court. The game was decided after a strong finish in the third quarter, lead by a player who seemed to be having a disastrous day at the beginning.
After he missed the last two games because of back problems, captain Steffen Hamann was back in the squad. Surprisingly youngster Paul Zipser, who replaced Hamann, was left out, and experienced former German national player Demond Greene also had to sit in the stands.
Difficult start for Bayern
Bayern had Delaney, Djedovic, Benzing, Savovic and Bryant in the starting five, and wanted to start as positively as they had in previous games. It was clear from the start though, that this was going to be tough. Siena played aggressive defense and they stopped Bayern’s quick basketball, which made them stronger as a result.
Bryant ruled the paint
German international Robin Benzing had a unique, unlucky performance. He made his first two Euro League points to give the hosts a lead after four minutes (9-8), but he also had three fouls just one minute later and had to sit on the bench for a long time. Subsequently, the visitors became more effective in offense and with a 7-0 run they had the first, highest lead of the game (9-16). Bayern had to run after the ball for the first time this season, but it didn’t really change things. John Bryant was especially unstoppable in the paint. He made eight of his final 15 points in the first quarter and with a big shot from downtown he brought back the lead (17-16). At the end of the first quarter it was 22-20 with eight points and six boards from “Big John”.
Hackett signed out
In the early stages of the second quarter, Chevon Troutman got in the game and showed why he is so important for Bayern. He played strong defense and made six points off the bench. There were only a few points on both sides at the beginning of the second quarter, until John Bryant returned. With his next four points and another three rebounds he helped his team break away from Siena. With a three-pointer from Nihad Djedovic Bayern’s lead was in double digits for the first time (36-26). But it wasn’t just the offense plays, especially the defense. Malcolm Delaney and Nihad Djedovic played fantastic defense against Siena’s Daniel Hackett, who made 23 points in the visitor’s Euro League opener. They controlled him the whole game and hold him to eight points and a shooting percentage of 33 %
Benzing like a phoenix from the ashes
At the beginning of the second half, Bayern was back in a flash, preventing Siena from fighting back. Pesic’s side were able to stabilize the lead but then Robin Benzing came back into the game and had his comeback. He scored seven points in the final stage of the third quarter, which was the crucial phase in the match as Bayern had a lead of 18 points at the end of it (70-52).
In the fourth quarter, Bayern lost a bit of their concentration and Siena reduced the deficit to 13 points with 3:23 remaining. Luca Staiger and Malcolm Delaney kept it cool from the free-throw line though, and provided Bayern with a deserved win in their Euro League home opener.
Player of the game: Robin Benzing had a catastrophic start in the game including traveling and three needless fouls in only five minutes. Consequently he had to sit on the bench for a long time. But as he came back in the game he played aggressively and with a lot of confidence. With his seven points and one beautiful assist he showed big comeback-quality.