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Ludwigsburg dethrone Bayern for date with Ulm, Oldenburg gets re-match with Berlin Tilo Wiedensohler

Ludwigsburg dethrone Bayern for date with Ulm, Oldenburg gets re-match with Berlin

— David Hein

And then there were four: the Semi-Finals of the easyCredit BBL Final Tournament 2020 are set as MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg will take on ratiopharm Ulm and ALBA BERLIN face off against EWE Baskets Oldenburg. While Ulm and Berlin eased into the Semi-Finals, Ludwigsburg reached the last four by dethroning the two-time reigning champions FC Bayern Munich in a thrilling series and Oldenburg took out Brose Bamberg - meaning for the first time in 11 years the German champion will not be Bayern or Bamberg.

In this section, we break out our English language skills and inform you about the latest news from the German easyCredit 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 easyCredit BBL short and sweet:

Semi-Finals set … stakes get higher and games get more attention

And then there were four: We have reached the Semi-Finals of the easyCredit BBL Final Tournament 2020 as MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg will take on ratiopharm ulm and ALBA BERLIN will face EWE Baskets Oldenburg. After two weeks of two games a day - save for the ninth place game - all the attention for the day will be given to the Semi-Finals with just one game a day on Sunday June 21 to Wednesday June 24.

First non-Bayern or Bamberg champion in 11 years

The eliminations of FC Bayern Munich and Brose Bamberg means that for the first time in 11 years, the easyCredit BBL champion will not be either Bayern or Bamberg. The last time that happened was 2009, when EWE Baskets Oldenburg hoisted their only league crown.

Ludwigsburg vs Ulm: a showdown of exciting teams

Basketball fans should be drooling over the Semi-Finals showdown between MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg and ratiopharm ulm. Neither team has won a German championship while Ulm will be shooting for their fourth Finals showing (following 1997-98, 2011-12, 2015-16). Ludwigsburg have never made the Finals, losing at the Semi-Finals stage in 1991-92, 1992-93, 2006-07 and 2017-18. It will be a match-up of two of the most exciting teams in the tournament - with Ludwigsburg living up to their status as darkhorse title contender while Ulm have surprised many with their tremendous play despite having such a different team compared to when the season was postponed due to Covid-19. Ludwigsburg rolled in both games against Ulm during the Regular Season - though it’s hard to read too much into them since so much of both teams’ games have changed with players missing and new players coming in. In Round 4 on October 20, Ludwigsburg won 106-75. Of the three Ludwigsburg players with 20+ points, only Marcos Knight is still with the team as Khadeen Carrington and Tanner Leissner did not return. And Ulm was only four games into their experiment of giving the keys of the car to the 18-year-old Killian Hayes. The other game came in Round 22 on March 8, which was the last set of games before the outbreak. Ludwigsburg won 94-76 as they turned it over just seven times and Jaleen Smith and Knight combined for 37 points. One note from that game for Ulm, Archie Goodwin tallied his season-high 22 points in his fourth game with the team as the only Ulm player currently in Munich with double figures scoring. A look at the stats from play in Munich shows that Ulm are second in the tournament in three-point shooting at 41.1 percent while Ludwigsburg have hit just 34.3 percent of their attempts from the outside. Ulm are third in assists (20.3) while Ludwigsburg are last (13.5) and Ulm are first in steals (10.8) with Ludwigsburg ranking second (8.7). Ulm force a tournament-best 20.5 turnovers but Ludwigsburg commit the fewest turnovers in the competition with just 9.8. Another critical area could be the offensive glass where Ludwigsburg are tops with 13.3 offensive rebounds a game and Ulm rank last at 9.0. Ludwigsburg are, however, the worst free throw shooting team in the tournament, converting just 69.0 percent of their foul shots.

Ludwigsburg dethrone champions Bayern

There will be a new champion in the easyCredit BBL as MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg eliminated the two-time title-winners FC Bayern Munich in a thrilling match-up over 80 minutes between the top two teams in the standings when Coviid-19 ended the Regular Season. Ludwigsburg prevailed in Game 1 87-83 thanks to the unlikely performance of 18 points from Hans Brase while Marcos Knight tallied 17 points, 11 rebounds and 4 steals, Thomas Wimbush had 16 points and Jaleen Smith added 13 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. Ludwigsburg forced 17 turnovers and grabbed 17 offensive rebounds in their first win over Bayern in Munich in club history. Danilo Barthel’s 20 points were not enough while TJ Bray had 12 points and Maodo Lo and Leon Radosevic both scored 11 points. Game 2 lived up to the drama as Bayern prevailed 74-73 but were unable to make up the four-point deficit and were dethroned 160-157 on aggregate. Knight picked up 20 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, including catching a pass from Bayern’s Petteri Koponen with 4 seconds left as Bayern were up three points and needing a basket to advance. Smith added 18 points and Wimbush picked up 10 points for Ludwigsburg. Paul Zipser paced Bayern with 16 points and 9 rebounds while Barthel tallied 14 points, Mathias Lessort 12 and Vladimir Lucic 11 points as Munich exited stage left and will clear their throne.

Ulm cruise past Frankfurt into Semis

ratiopharm ulm continued their outstanding tournament as they eased past FRAPORT SKYLINERS into the Semi-Finals with two victories to remain undefeated. Ulm demolished Frankfurt 101-61 in Game 1, taking the first quarter 36-15 and never letting up. Dylan Osetkowski picked up 18 points, Per Günther hit 3 three-pointers for 15 points while Archie Goodwin had 14 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists and Gavin Schilling chipped in 13 points and 8 rebounds. Yorman Polas Bartolo scored 10 points as the sole scorer in double figures for Frankfurt in a losing effort. Frankfurt gave Ulm a fight for the first half in Game 2 but ended up losing 96-69 as Ulm took the series 190-130 on aggregate. Osetkowski led the way again with 20 points and 10 rebounds for Ulm, who took the second half 49-21. Andi Obst drained 5 three-balls for 19 points, Goodwin had 13 points and Thomas Klepeisz chipped in 11 points and 8 assists for the winners. Frankfurt saw Bartolo and Gytis Masiulis both score 14 points before leaving the tournament.

Berlin vs Oldenburg: Re-match of German Cup Final

ALBA BERLIN and EWE Baskets Oldenburg know each other well from this season with Semi-Finals to be the fourth and fifth match-ups between the teams in 2019-20. Berlin will be shooting to return to the Finals for the third straight season and have lost in their last four Finals appearance since winning their last title in 2007-08. Oldenburg’s only German crown came in 2008-09 and the team lost in the Finals in 2012-13 and 2016-17. Both teams won during the Regular Season at home and then Berlin defeated Oldenburg in February in the German Cup Final for their 10th cup crown in club history. Berlin won 90-77 at home in Round 9 on November 23, pulling alway in the fourth quarter. Four of Berlin’s five starters scored in double figures while Oldenburg’s Rickey Paulding was held to just 9 points on 3-of-13 shooting. In Round 18 on February 2, Oldenburg bounced back at home for a 93-88 win with Paulding pouring in 28 points while Tyler Larson had 19 points and Rasid Mahalbasic flirted with a triple-double with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists. Berlin’s starting five combined for just 32 points as Oldenburg were up by 18 points late in third before Berlin fought to make it interesting late. Then on February 16 in Berlin, ALBA had five players in double figures in an 89-67 win to capture the German Cup title. Martin Hermannsson totalled 20 points while Peyton Siva had 13 points and 7 assists off the bench. Oldenburg committed 18 turnovers and were held to just 37.1 percent shooting. We can read something from those games as Berlin and Oldenburg both remained almost unchanged compared to before the Covid-19 outbreak. Berlin is the top scoring team in Munich with 93.2 points a game while Oldenburg have averaged 82.5 points. Berlin are tops in assists (21.5) and three-point shooting (42.5 percent) while Oldenburg made just 34.0 percent of their three-pointers but they committed the second-fewest turnovers (11.2) and lead the tournament in blocks (3.8).

Oldenburg oust Bamberg in strong fashion

EWE Baskets Oldenburg claimed their spot in the Semi-Finals of the easyCredit BBL as they ousted Brose Bamberg with two wins - including a strong 89-75 victory in Game 2 for a 175-146 aggregate triumph. Ian Hummer tallied 21 points and 9 rebounds off the bench to carry Oldenburg, who pulled away in the third quarter. Nathan Boothe was outstanding with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 6 blocks while Rickey Paulding continued his strong playoffs with 16 points and Tyler Larson collected 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Kam Taylor came off the Bamberg bench for 20 points while Jordan Crawford, Tre McLean and Christian Sengfelder all scored 11 points. Game 1 was much closer though the 86-81 Oldenburg win came after Bamberg fought back from a 17-point third quarter deficit to make things interesting for the second half of the series. Paulding entered the playoffs having averaged just 9.0 points in the tournament but broke out for 20 points while Rasid Mahalbasic tallied 19 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists and Boothe chipped in 15 points. Elias Harris led Bamberg with 24 points but the team captain missed Game 2 with a back problem. Crawford added 15 points and Retin Obasohan scored 10 points.

Berlin enter Semis undefeated - but only after surviving Göttingen comeback

ALBA BERLIN in essence used a dominant Game 1 to book their spot in the Semi-Finals - and a date with EWE Baskets Oldenburg - as they nearly blew a 27-point lead to BG Göttingen but ended up taking Game 2 88-85 for a 181-150 aggregate win. Berlin laid the foundation for their triumph by winning the first game 93-68, taking the second and third quarters by the score of 58-23. Peyton Siva paced Berlin with 15 points and 6 assists while Tyler Cavanaugh had 13 points and Niels Giffey and Luke Sikma both picked up 11 points. Göttingen turned the ball over 24 times and were led by Mihaljo Andric’s 11 points while Jito Kok and Dominic Lockhart both had 10 points. Berlin were leading Game 2 58-31 midway through the third quarter when Bennet Hundt carried Göttingen back into the game down by just one point. Göttingen had three three-point attempts in the final 62 seconds to take the lead but missed them all and Berlin prevailed with the win. Martin Hermannsson had 19 points and 7 assists for Berlin while Marcus Eriksson scored 13 points and Landry Nnoko and Sikma both ended with 10 points. Lockhart was Göttingen’s leading scorer with 19 points while Hundt scored all 18 of his points in the second half to go with 6 assists and Terry Allen added 16 points.

Insight from inside the hotel … not to mention just great hoops talk

One of the new segments for the easyCredit BBL coverage of the tournament has been the ALLNET SPEZIAL vodcast with Sven Simon and C-BAS. This is in German but definitely is reason enough for you to go out and get a super-quick crash course in Deutsch to understand these two hoops junkies talk the game. Enjoy!

Bayreuth add to backcourt with signing of Jalapoor

There was news around the league other than the easyCredit BBL Final Tournament 2020 and despite all the questions revolving around next season, medi bayreuth announced a new signing with Philip Jalapoor set to join the team for 2020-21. The 27-year-old arrives in Bayreuth from Austrian club SKN St. Pölten, where he led the league in assists and was fourth in scoring. Jalapoor will make up a playmaking duo with Bastian Doreth, who has a contract for next season. The future of Lukas Meisner is unclear though as the 24-year-old exercised the option in his contract and may end up leaving Bayreuth.

Wainwright is next to leave Vechta, heads for Strasburg

RASTA Vechta saw another of their leaders leave the team as big man Ish Wainwright has signed on with French top flight side SIG Strasburg. Wainwright played just one season in Vechta after playing the 2018-19 campaign with ProA side Nürnberg Falcons. Wainwright is the second player from Pedro Calles’ team that has already signed with a new team as Steve Vasturia will play next season with Zalgiris Kaunas.

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