By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Wade Baldwin scored 17 points, five rebounds and five assists as Bayern Munich defeated Zenit st. Petersburg 82 – 80 at home to get back on a winning track.
It was a bounce-back affair not only for Bayern but personally for Baldwin as well. After a lackluster performance – that included a critical mistake in the last minute – in the previous round in a loss to former team Olympiacos Piraeus, this time Baldwin delivered in multiple areas of the game and finished with zero turnovers.
He also scored a decisive basket for the 80 – 77 with 32.1 seconds to play.
“I owed it to my team,” Baldwin said. “Back at Olympiacos I had a crucial turnover with a minute left, as a leader, point guard of this team. It was very important for me to bounce back and give my all to them: Energy, defensive effort. And when the time came to be clutch, be the person.”
Jalen Reynolds produced 15 points and six rebounds while Vladimir Lucic returned to action after two weeks with 15 points and key points down the stretch for Bayern. DJ Seeley also had 14 points.
From Zenit, Arturas Gudaitis had 22 points, Kevin Pangos scored 17 (including a last-second 3-pointer that helped Zenit get the tiebreakrer) and Mateusz Ponitka finished with 14 points and six rebounds. The Russian team was up 32 – 40 at halftime but their opponents balanced the game in the third quarter and went up thanks to a basket by Reynolds.
Bayern increased its lead to seven, 65 – 58, early in the fourth period. Zenit made a comeback capped with a basket by Andrey Zubkov for the 74 – 75 with 2:27 only for Lucic to reclaim the lead for the hosts, this time for good.
“We were playing for the average in the last moment and finally we scored these 3 points. Today was the same kind of game as in St Petersburg, but with the opposite result,” Zenit coach Xavi Pascual said. In the first half, he saw swingman KC Rivers exiting the game with injury.
“He’s an important player and we lost some size, energy and power without him,” Pascual said.
Refuse to lose
Bayern Munich coach Andrea Trinchieri praised his players’ mentality that makes them battle hard in every match.
“I believe that there are teams that win a lot of games and we have a team that doesn’t want to lose games. It’s completely different,” Trinchieri said in the post-game presser. Sometimes we play against a team and you think ‘well, they are going to destroy’. I believe that we play and the team that plays with us knows that we do’t want to lose. Except the Real game in Madrid we’ve fought till the end in every game. Playing good, bad, missing players, having all players. I’m proud that my team doesn’t want to lose games.”
“This is is a team win, but I’m very happy that Lucic is back,” Trinchieri had previously mentioned in his post-game flash interview. “We missed him, but I believe this team played solid defense and it’s a great win, really a great win. I know my players are disappointed because they want to have the goal average, but this is the pain of the coach. I want them to enjoy and I deal with this. We can swallow some mistakes from going out of rhythm, but we made it.”
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball