BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Julius Jenkins led the scoring for Oldenburg with 19 points |
No team in the German BEKO Bundesliga is in better form right now than EuroChallenge semi-finalists EWE Baskets Oldenburg.
On Wednesday, Sebastian Machowski's side extended their winning streak to five games with a hard-fought 75-72 triumph over Bayern Munich at home, a ninth victory in their last ten encounters in the domestic competition, and improved to 22-8 on the table.
Combined with ratiopharm Ulm's 108-75 loss at league leaders Brose Baskets Bamberg on the same night, the result has given Oldenburg a two-win cushion in second place in the standings and has also secured them a top-three finish, with four games left to the end of the Regular Season.
In further bad news for Bayern, and possibly also for the German national team ahead of EuroBasket 2013, Robert Benzing's right knee buckled inwards as he was landing on the floor in a totally uncontested play in the final minute of the first half.
The talented forward will undergo medical tests and a diagnosis is expected to be made public on Thursday or Friday.
Bayern looked like the better side up until that moment, as they had surprised their hosts with a strong start to the game to take an early 22-13 lead and widened the gap to 10 points by the half-time interval, 39-29.
Oldenburg however came back from the locker rooms with the answers to the excellent defence that Svetislav Pesic's men had showed during the first half, and outscored their guests 21-17 to reduce the deficit to six points by the start of the final quarter.
In the decisive period, they went on a 22-16 run to finally take the lead, 72-70, on a Ronald Burrell three-pointer 52 seconds from the final buzzer.
Bayern's Tyrese Rice tied the scores from the charity stripe and Machowsi called a time-out.
Israeli international Yotam Halperin fouled Julius Jenkins with 10 seconds on the clock and the Oldenburg guard sunk both free throws to make it 74-72.
Brandon Thomas took the responsibility of the last shot for the Munich side but missed and immediately fouled Christopher Kramer, who rushed to grab the defensive rebound, almost at the death.
The Oldenburg shooting guard then split two free throws to make the final 75-72.
Jenkins and Burrell paved the way for the winners, with 19 and 18 points respectively, while Dutch center Robin Smeulders chipped in with 10 points and a team-high six rebounds.
Oldenburg travel to Eisbären Bremerhaven on Sunday and they will have completed their Bundelsiga Regular Season schedule by 23 April, three days ahead of their EuroChallenge semi-final clash with Final Four hosts Pinar Karsiyaka.
KRASNYE KRYLIA SUFFER 31-POINT DEFEAT
EuroChallenge semi-finalists Krasnye Krylia succumbed to a surprising 96-65 loss on the road to Enisey, their heaviest this season, on Thursday afternoon in Russian PBL league action.
The Samara side trailed their hosts from start to finish, with the gap already reaching 18 points at half-time (52-34).
Krasnye Krulia have now slumped to seventh place in their domestic league standings, with a 7-8 record, while this was Enisey's only second success in 14 games in the PBL this season.