Bamberg with shocker versus Barcelona / Ludwigsburg has Berlin’s number / Frankfurt jump to second place
— David Hein
In this section, we break out our English language skills and inform you about the latest news from the German Beko Basketball Bundesliga. If you’re short on time but still want your fill of Germany’s top basketball league then you are in the right place. Every week David Hein (www.heinnews.com) brings you up-to-date in German basketball – the Beko BBL short and sweet:
Bamberg racing past Beko BBL teams, surprise Barcelona in Euroleague
Brose Baskets Bamberg are clearly the class of the Beko BBL as they won the Franconia derby against s.Oliver Baskets Würzburg and then raced past WALTER Tigers Tübingen by 37 points for their 11th straight victory in the league. Bamberg improved to 18-2 and now have a three-game lead atop the standings - meaning it would be a real shocker if they don’t secure home court advantage throughout the playoffs. Bamberg also pulled off a shocker in the Euroleague, beating FC Barcelona Lassa 74-70 to improve to 3-3 in Group F - ahead of Real Madrid, Olympiacos, Barcelona and Zalgiris.
Bayern third after 8-game winning streak snapped
Bayern Munich had been doing all they could to stay on Bamberg’s heels two games back with an eight-game winning streak after beating Giessen 46ers. But Bayern ran into a hot ratiopharm ulm team in losing 91-72 and falling to 15-5 - down to third place in tie with FRAPORT SKYLINERS. Click here for a block by Paul Zipser in the win versus Giessen.
SKYLINERS jump to 2nd with 12th straight win
The FRAPORT SKYLINERS Express continues to roll on as Frankfurt eased past Eisbären Bremerhaven 91-60 to improve to 15-5 and jump to second place in the Beko BBL as they own the tiebreaker against Bayern, who have the same record. Skyliners have been forced to shorten their rotation due to injuries to Danilo Barthel and Konsti Klein but they have won 12 straight games overall in the Beko BBL, Top 4 qualification and FIBA Europe Cup. SKYLINERS needed to come back from a 15-point second quarter deficit to knock off medi bayreuth, in a game which was won by the veteran Tez Robertson.
Oldenburg atop three-way tie at 14-6, Ludwigsburg has Berlin’s number again
Things are pretty snug after that with EWE Baskets Oldenburg, MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg and ALBA BERLIN all even at 14-6 from fourth to sixth places, respectively. Oldenburg nailed 14 three-pointers in a big 103-81 win at home over Mitteldeutscher BC for their second straight win while Ludwigsburg also have won two in a row, the second being a 78-74 victory at Berlin. If Ludwigsburg beating Berlin sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Ludwigsburg improved to 4-0 in the Beko BBL and Eurocup against Berlin this season. Berlin dropped to 14-6 and are third in the tiebreaker with the other two teams. Chris Kramer and passes like this are why Oldenburg are playing well.
Ulm finally jump a spot in standings to seventh
While Bamberg have won 11 in a row in the league and Frankfurt have a 12-game overall winning streak, Ulm are just about keeping pace with 11 victories in their last 12 games in the Beko BBL after beating Bayern. Ulm have beaten playoff aspirants Frankfurt, Oldenburg, Basketball Löwen Braunschweig (twice) and Phoenix Hagen over that stretch. The fact that Ulm only now have jumped a spot in the standings to seventh place with a 13-8 record shows just how compact the playoff ranks are in the league. One of the top players in the league right now is Raymar Morgan, as he showed here against Hagen.
Braunschweig pressures Würzburg with huge win over Hagen
The fight for the spot right behind Ulm - the final berth for the playoffs - is still hotly contested with Braunschweig picking up a huge win with center Kenny Frease flirting with a triple-double (22 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists) in a 93-79 win over Hagen. While Würzburg are still eighth at 12-8 after two straight losses, Braunschweig improved to 11-10 after losing four of their previous five games. Hagen dropped to 10th - a spot behind Braunschweig - with their third defeat in the last four contests.
Bartolo, DiLeo heroics keep Giessen within striking distance
Three games is a lot of ground to make up in this compact Beko BBL but GIESSEN 46ers remained within striking distance of the playoffs with the 81-79 win over Würzburg. The game winners for Giessen were Yorman Polas Bartolo, who hit a lay-up with 2.1 seconds left to pull ahead, and TJ DiLeo, who blocked Dru Joyce’s potential game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer. Giessen are 9-11 in the standings - three games behind Würzburg for the final playoff spot, with Braunschweig and Hagen between them. Here is DiLeo’s game-saving block.
Würzburg extend expiring contract with coach Spradley
s.Oliver Baskets Würzburg showed head coach Doug Spradley their appreciation of his work, extending his expiring contract for two years until 2018. The promoted team is fighting for a playoff spot in the Beko BBL and have won 46 of 58 games under Spradley as coach.
Bamberg take on Bayern in Top Four; Berlin battle Frankfurt
The draw for the Beko BBL Top Four was made and Brose Baskets Bamberg will take on hosts Bayern Munich in the first semi-final on February 20 while ALBA BERLIN to follow against FRAPORT SKYLINERS.
Players of the Weeks
Augustine Rubit played a huge role in Ulm’s beating Hagen with 24 points on 6-of-10 shots and 12-of-14 free throws to go with eight rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block and one turnover for an efficiency of 30. Kenny Frease was even better for Braunschweig against Hagen as the big man collected 22 points on 8-of-13 shots, 6-of-8 free throws, 15 rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and one turnover for an efficiency of 38. Here a couple of Frease’s highlights.
German Top Five of the Week
G: Per Günther, ratiopharm ulm
Günther kept Ulm rolling with two strong games. He collected 18 points on 4-of-10 shooting including three three-pointers while hitting 7-of-8 free throws against Hagen with two rebounds, six assists and one steal. Against Bayern, he scored 13 points on 4-of-9 shots and 3-of-5 free throws to go with three rebounds, six assists and one steal.
G: Robin Amaize, Basketball Löwen Braunschweig
Amaize makes his debut on the list, thanks to a big nasty dunk against Hagen. But the 22-year-old has put together two solid games for Braunschweig. Against Ludwigsburg, he had five points on 2-of-7 shots and 0-of-2 free throws, two rebounds, one assist and two turnovers in a career-high 19:58 minutes. Against Hagen, he had career highs in points (8), rebounds (3) and assists (2) while also grabbing a steal in 17:07 minutes. In his previous six games this season, Amaize played a total of 9:46 minutes and scored two points with two rebounds. He did play 11 Beko BBL games during the 2012-13 season for Giessen LTi 46ers. Here’s his big throwdown against Hagen.
F: Adam Waleskowski, MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg
Waleskowski continued his strong season with two games of 11 points against Braunschweig and Berlin. He connected on 5-of-11 shots to go with four rebounds, three assists, five steals and one block against Braunschweig. In the game against Berlin, he made 3-of-6 shots and 4-of-6 free throws with five rebounds and one assist.
F: Elias Harris. Brose Baskets Bamberg
Harris needs to be called Mr. Efficient. Against Würzburg, he played 9:33 minutes and had six points on 2-of-2 shots and 1-of-2 free throws with two rebounds. Harris then had 15 points against Tübingen, hitting 6-of-6 from the field and 3-of-4 free throws along with one rebound, one assist and one steal. In his last six games in the Beko BBL and Euroleague, Harris has played 57:58 minutes and scored 58 points on 25-of-30 shots and 9-of-13 free throws to go with 17 rebounds, three assists and just three turnovers.
F: Steve Wachalski, medi bayreuth
Walchalski has been one of Bayreuth’s top players this season. Against Frankfurt, the veteran scored 12 points on 4-of-5 three-pointers to go with three rebounds and one block. Then Walchalski collected 15 points on 4-of-9 shots as well as nine rebounds, one assist, two steals and one block against Crailsheim Merlins.
Niklas Geske, 21, PG, Phoenix Hagen
Geske continues to be productive in his minutes on the court for Hagen. Against Ulm, he had five points on 1-of-5 shots and 3-of-3 free throws as well as two assists and one turnover in 15:28 minutes. He collected 11 points on 4-of-6 shots and 2-of-2 free throws as well as three rebounds, two assists and two turnovers in 15:55 minutes against Braunschweig.
Ismet Akpinar, 20, PG, ALBA BERLIN
Akpinar scored double digit points for the third time this season as he poured in 15 points while hitting 7-of-13 shots and his only free throw against Ludwigsburg. He also had four rebounds, five assists and one turnover for an efficiency of 17 in 25:15 minutes. In his previous game against MBC, Akpinar missed his only field goal attempt but made all four free throws in scoring four points with one turnover in 7:15 minutes.
Jan Niklas Wimberg, 19, SF, EWE Baskets Oldenburg
Wimberg, who turns 20 on February 11, had a solid game against MBC with three points on 1-of-4 three-pointers to go with one rebound, two assists and one block in 10:00 minutes. In his previous game, Wimberg played 2:22 minutes against Tübingen and picked up one foul.
Tübingen’s young center Mahir Agva collected seven points on 3-of-6 shots and 1-of-2 free throws while picking up four rebounds and two fouls for an efficiency of 7 in 14:13 minutes against Oldenburg. The 19-year-old big man was not on the roster for the game against Bamberg as he was dealing with an eye injury.
Christian Sengfelder has had an up-and-down season with Fordham in the United States. The 2015 U20 German international, a former product of Bayer Leverkusen and Ehingen/Urspringschule, scored 16 points with three rebounds against St. Joseph’s, including 4-of-6 three-pointers. The 2.02m sophomore forward is averaging 41 percent from long range this season at the NCAA level.