Germany overcame a determined effort from Hungary in the second game of their 2005 European Championship qualifying campaign. 6,000 fans turned up in Braunschweig hoping for the Dirk Nowitzki-led team to put on a show.
They had to wait a while and it wasn’t until the second half that Germany displayed the type of form that took them to a bronze medal at the 2002 World Championships.
The first half was all Hungary as the visiting side raced out to a 7-13 lead. Hungary’s penetrate-and-kick game was working to perfection as their outside shooters hit a high percentage of their shots.
Trailing 30-38 at the break, Germany came out at halftime with more determination. A three from Nowitzki brought them within 3 points and a basket from Ademola Okulaja saw Germany take their first lead of the game, 43-42.
It was Okulaja who kept his nerve in the closing minutes and helped his team finally see off the Hungarian challenge. He scored 7 points in the final 3 minutes (on 2 dunks and a three-pointer) which gave Germany the breathing space they needed to close the game winners, 82-72.
“We won this game as a team,” said German coach Dirk Bauermann
“Every single player made an important contribution to this success. I’m very happy that we have 2 wins under our belt and I’m looking forward to the next game.”