Round 8 was highlighted by one of the biggest shocks in some time in the easyCredit BBL as SYNTAINICS MBC shocked ALBA BERLIN with a historic blowout on the road. Speaking of the road, promoted side RASTA Vechta showed they can win away from home as well by beating local rivals EWE Baskets Oldenburg. This week also saw the first head coach get fired as HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim dropped Nikola Markovic and replaced him with Jussi Laakso - an interesting move as the Merlins go back to another Finnish playcaller following the success of Tuomas Iisalo.
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:
SYNTAINICS MBC shock Berlin, first win in 13 years, ALBA’s worst home loss
SYNTAINICS MBC pulled off the biggest shock of the season by far as they absolutely dominated ALBA BERLIN with a historic 108-75 blowout victory on the road. Let’s start with the superlatives. It was the Wolves first ever win in the German capital, having lost all 18 games before this weekend. The 33-point loss was Berlin’s worst home defeat domestically in history. Berlin lost to the Weißenfels team for the first time in 22 games, dating back to February 27, 2010. And the loss dropped Berlin’s all-time record against the guests to 32-3. Berlin had won five straight games in the league and were perfect at 3-0 at home and knew they would be facing SYNTAINICS MBC in three weeks in the BBL German Cup Quarter-Finals on the road. The guests came into the game having won two straight games and then went on a 22-2 run to close the first half with a 57-37 lead and never looked back in moving to 3-5 and Berlin fell to 6-2. SYNTAINICS MBC shot a blistering hot 61.3 percent from the field including a white-hot 77.4 percent on two-pointers while Berlin shot just 13.0 percent (3-of-23) on three-pointers. Chris-Ebou Ndow paced five players in double figures with 23 points while Diante Baldwin tallied 19 points and 8 assists and Martin Breunig added 13 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Yanni Wetzell was Berlin’s leading scorer with 21 points and Matteo Spagnolo chipped in 16 points as the starters combined for only 23 points.
Crailsheim replace Markovic with Finland’s Jussi Laakso as new head coach
The easyCredit BBL has seen its first head coaching firing as HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim had enough of Nikola Markovic and replaced him with Finnish coach Jussi Laakso. Markovic had guided Crailsheim to a 1-6 record, including six straight losses - the latest being a 96-58 blowout at promoted RASTA Vechta. It was Crailsheim’s fourth defeat by at least 35 points. By bringing in the 47-year-old Laakso, Crailsheim named another Finnish coach as Tuomas Iisalo had led the team to the playoffs. Laakso coached Finnish club Helsinki Seagulls from 2019 to 2023, winning the title in his last season there.
Strong Finnish: Iisalo’s Heidelberg too much in fourth quarter in Laakso debut
MLP Academics Heidelberg snapped a three-game losing streak as Tim Coleman scored all 17 of his points in the fourth quarter of a 93-86 victory at HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim, who were unable to win in the debut of new head coach Jussi Laakso. The game went back and forth throughout with 14 lead changes and 10 ties. Heidelberg, who are coached by fellow Finnish playcaller Joonas Iisalo, won the game thanks to a 9-0 run in the final quarter for a 2-6 record and Crailsheim are bottom of the standings with a 1-7 mark and a 7-game losing streak. Heidelberg shot 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) on three-pointers and 22-of-33 free throws (66.7 percent) compared to 33.3 percent with 8 three-pointers and just 6-of-13 free throws (46.2 percent) for Crailsheim. Jeffrey Carroll poured in 28 points for Heidelberg, who also had Isaiah Whaley tally 13 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks. James Murray-Boyles led Crailsheim with 20 points off the bench, Leo Westermann flirted with a triple-double in collecting 19 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists plus 4 steals and Bennet Hundt picked up 3 points and 13 assists.
Heidelberg part ways with playaker McGuirl
MLP Academics Heidelberg and point guard Mike McGuirl have parted ways with immediate effect as the team has struggled so far this season. The 24-year-old averaged 11.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.7 steals in his seven games but he also committed 4.7 turnovers a contest.
Kuhse unstoppable as Vechta grab first road win, bottle up DeWayne Russell
RASTA Vechta showed they can win on the road as well as the promoted side blasted northern German rivals EWE Baskets Oldenburg 85-67 for their first victory away from home. Oldenburg fought back from an 11-point deficit early in the second quarter but the guests went on a 12-0 run in the third quarter to decide the game. The win pushed Vechta to 6-2 and Oldenburg fell to 5-2. Vechta limited Oldenburg to just 33.3 percent from the field including 34.3 percent on two-pointers. Tommy Kuhse was unstoppable with 27 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists for the winners with Richmond Aririguzoh hitting for 12 points and Wes Iwundu flirted with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Charles Manning paced Oldenburg with 19 points off the bench and fellow reserve Lukas Wank added 11 points. The starting five was held to just 24 points - including DeWayne Russell picking up just 3 points on 0-of-16 shots to go with 7 assists.
Oldenburg bring Geno Crandall back to the league amid injuries
EWE Baskets Oldenburg reacted to their on-going injury worries in signing Geno Crandall. The 27-year-old point guard arrives in Oldenburg after playing this season with Israeli club Hapoel Be’er Sheva. Crandall knows the easyCredit BBL from playing with BG Göttingen last season.
Lansdowne leads Chemnitz to 13th straight win, temporarily take first place in league
NINERS Chemnitz just cannot be stopped as they knocked off ROSTOCK SEAWOLVES 85-75 at home for their 13th straight victory in all competitions including seventh in a row in Germany to take first place in the league for at two nights. Chemnitz, who have won six consecutive FIBA Europe Cup games, went on a 15-0 run in the second quarter for a 17-point lead and remained in control the rest of the way for 7-1 record with Rostock dropping a third straight for a 2-5 mark. Chemnitz held Rostock to just 38.2 percent from the field and 37.9 percent on two-pointers. DeAndre Lansdowne paced Chemnitz with 28 points and 5 assists and both Kevin Yebo (18 points and 14 rebounds) and Jeff Garrett (12/12) had double-doubles in the win. Derrick Alston had 26 points for Rostock with Robin Amaize scoring 13 points off the bench and Eric Lockett had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Hamburg get revenge over Bamberg for cup loss, win streak at 4 games
Veolia Towers Hamburg came back in the fourth quarter to beat Bamberg Baskets 94-90 in overtime at home for a four-game winning streak - currently the second-longest in the league - and revenge for their loss in the BBL German Cup Round of 16. The game was close throughout with 9 points being the big lead - Bamberg up 75-66 with 6 minutes to go. But Hamburg fought back with a 19-4 run to win the game and improve to 5-3 and Bamberg fell to 2-5. Hamburg made 12 three-pointers to 7 for Bamberg at a 30.4 percent clip. VJ King led Hamburg with 16 points and Lukas Meisner, Aleksander Dziewa and Will Christmas all scored 13 points. Filip Stanic was Bamberg’s top scorer with 21 points - one off his career high - while Trey Woodbury had 19 points and Zach Copeland had 16 points. The Bamberg starting five combined for only 28 points.
Bayern snap losing skid, down Ludwigsburg at home
FC Bayern Munich snapped their two-game losing streak as they defeated MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg 92-84 at home. Bayern led by double figures in the first quarter and pushed the lead to 16 points in the second quarter and never let Ludwigsburg closer than 5 points the rest of the way. Bayern improved to 5-3 and Ludwigsburg fell to 4-3. Bayern dominated the paint with 44 points to 26 for Ludwigsburg while the hosts made 47.4 percent from long range. Sylvain Francisco came off the bench to lead Bayern with 20 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists while Serge Ibaka had 15 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks and Devin Booker scored 15 points. Jaren Lewis led Ludwigsburg with 21 points and Jayvon Graves had 19 points.
Bonn drain 19 threes in blowing out Göttingen in return of trio
Telekom Baskets Bonn drained 19 three-pointers in blowing out BG Göttingen 101-77 on the road as Bonn head coach Roel Moors, Till Pape and Harald Frey faced off against their former team. Bonn took control of the game with a 33-17 third quarter to move to 5-3 and send Göttingen to a 1-5 record with 5 straight losses. Bonn shot 59.0 percent from the field including an incredible 63.3 percent from long range and committed only 8 turnovers. Savion Flagg paced six Bonn players in double figures with 23 points with Glynn Watson scoring 18 points and Harald Frey adding 15 points and 5 assists. Karlis Silins top-scored for Göttingen with 23 points and 22-year-old Zach Ensminger poured in 20 points.
Tübingen down Braunschweig in OT on the road, snap 6-game skid
Tigers Tübingen snapped their six-game losing streak as they downed Basketball Löwen Braunschweig 92-87 on the road in overtime. Tübingen led for most of the first half and the second half went back and forth with Jhivvan Jackson sending the game to overtime with a layup with 9 seconds left. After 16 lead changes and 12 ties, Mateo Seric and Jackson both hit three-pointers in a 9-0 Tübingen start to the extra session as Tübingen moved to 2-6 and Braunschweig fell to 3-5. Tübingen forced 21 Braunschweig turnovers and scored 56 points in the paint compared to 36 for the hosts to make up for hitting just 16.1 percent from long range. Jackson poured in 29 points to go with 6 rebounds while Jimmy Boeheim had 19 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists and Seric chipped in 15 points and 8 rebounds. Jilson Bango collected 16 points and 11 rebounds and Ferdinand Zylka scored 15 points in the loss.
Tübingen’s Austrian Ersek gains German passport
Tigers Tübingen added a strong German player without bringing in someone new as Austrian shooting guard Erol Ersek was granted a German passport. The 24-year-old Vienna native will no longer count as an import player for Tübingen, where he is playing his third season.
Ulm survive Würzburg comeback, remain atop the league
ratiopharm ulm remained atop the league as the reigning champions survived a comeback against Würzburg Baskets 88-83 on the road for their third straight win. Ulm never trailed and took their first double digit lead in the third quarter with the cushion swelling to 14 points with 5 minutes to go. Würzburg fought back to within 84-83 with 9 seconds left before Tommy Klepeisz hit two free throws with 8.5 seconds to go to ice the game. Ulm improved to 7-1 to return to first place in the league and Würzburg dropped to 3-4. Ulm committed only 12 turnovers and shot 51.5 percent for the game. LJ Figueroa scored 23 points to lead Würzburg while Karim Jallow had 19 points and 8 rebounds and Trevion Williams picked up 15 points and 10 rebounds. Otis Livingston led all scorers with 27 points and Javon Bess scored 17 points in the defeat.
Player of the Week
The Player of the Week for Round 8 is HAKRO Merlin Crailsheim guard Leo Westermann for his outstanding game in a loss to MLP Academics Heidelberg. Westermann flirted with a triple-double of 19 points - on 7-of-12 shots - including 5-of-8 on three-pointers, 7 rebounds and 10 assists to go with 4 steals and 1 block for an efficiency of 31.
German Top Five of the Week
G: Zach Ensminger, BG Göttingen
Ensminger had another outstanding game for Göttingen against Telekom Baskets Bonn as he scored 20 points with 3 three-pointers to go with 2 rebounds and 1 assist.
F: Karim Jallow, ratiopharm ulm
Jallow collected 19 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals in a win over Würzburg Baskets.
F: Mateo Seric, Tigers Tübingen
Seric continued his excellent season with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals against Basketball Löwen Braunschweig.
C: Martin Breunig, SYNTAINICS MBC
It’s impossible to not include Breunig after his team shocked ALBA BERLIN thanks to the big man picking up 13 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
C: Filip Stanic, Bamberg Baskets
Stanic did all he could with 21 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks against Veolia Towers Hamburg, but they were not enough in a loss.
Sananda Fru, 20, PF, Basketball Löwen Braunschweig
Fru scored a season-high 9 points on 4-of-5 shots and 1-of-2 free throws against Tigers Tübingen to go with 2 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks in 17:14 minutes.
Len Schoormann, 21, SG, EWE Baskets Oldenburg
Schoorman started and played 16:00 minutes against RASTA Vechta and picked up 3 points on 1-of-4 shooting (1/3 threes), 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
Leif Möller, 20, PG, Veolia Towers Hamburg
Möller played in his fourth game this season and collected 3 points on 1-of-4 shots (1/2 threes) and 3 assists in 9:44 minutes against Bamberg Baskets.
Former Tübingen and IBAM talent Isaiah Ihnen is playing his third season in the last five years at the University of Minnesota after coming back from two ACL tears. The 23-year-old forward had a great game against University of Texas-San Antonio, burying 5 three-pointers in scoring 20 points to go with 6 rebounds in 20 minutes.