BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Rickey Paulding top-scored for Oldenburg in a losing effort|
It was great while it lasted, but now it's over; EWE Baskets Oldenburg will not arrive at the EuroChallenge Final Four next week riding a multi-game winning streak.
After clinching six consecutive victories over the last 20 days, and 10 in their last 11 games since mid-February, the north-German team fell 84-72 away at BBC Bayreuth in BEKO Bundesliga action on Wednesday night.
Oldenburg remain in second position in the standings, with a 23-9 record, but they have now lost all mathematical chances of toppling league leaders Brose Baskets Bamberg, despite the fact the reigning champions also lost on Wednesday, 74-73 to Artland Dragons at home.
They still keep intact however their advantage over third-place ratiopharm Ulm, who stand at 21-10, and will finish in second place in the Regular Season if they win both their remaining games, regardless of Ulm's results.
Oldenburg are hosting Telekom Baskets Bonn on Saturday and travel to LTi GIESSEN 46ers next Tuesday to play their final game in the Bundesliga Regular Season, just three days before their semi-final clash with EuroChallenge Final Four hosts Pinar Karsiyaka on 26 April.
On Wednesday, things seemed to be going well for Sebastian Machowski's team at the beginning, as they grabbed a 23-18 lead over their hosts at the end of the first quarter and were still on top, 39-35, at the half-time interval.
When the guests returned to the court from the locker rooms however, they bared little resemblance to the team that had held a firm grip on first-half proceedings.
Oldenburg suddenly looked tired and were outscored 23-14 in the third quarter.
They were unable to stop the rot at any point until the final buzzer, with the hosts having their highest-scoring period in the final frame, 29-19, to clinch victory.
"Congratulations to Predrag (Bayreuth head coach Predrag Krunic) and his team, they deserved to win," Machowski admitted.
"We had decided to start well in the game, and we implemented that to perfection.
"But afterwards we did not play with the consistency that today's (Wednesday) opponents require.
"Bayreuth played like anything but a losing team, they showed that they wanted to win this game more.
"They had more to lose than we do.
"I hope that we keep our second place (in the league) in the remaining two games.
"But we must do things differently than how we did today during the last three quarters."
Small forward Rickey Paulding once again top-scored for Oldenburg as he finished with 20 points and added three rebounds and two assist in defeat.
Ronald Burrell had 15 points, Dru Joyce contributed 10 points and three assists and center Adam Chubb had a near double-double of nine points and 10 rebounds in losing efforts.