Julian Larsson scored 23 points as Regensburg Baskets picked up a crucial 76-67 victory over TTL Bamberg to move out of last place in the German 2. Regionalliga South-East North Division.
Regensburg have now won two straight games but are still far from their goal of staying in Germany’s fifth division as Markus Höß’s team is now 5-12 in 11th place of 12 teams.
“I am happy that we won but the pressure is not gone. That won’t happen until we keep the league. Nothing will change before that,” said Höß, who believes his team will definitely avoid the drop with three more victories in the last five games of the season.
Things are quite cluttered in the lower half of the standings as DJK Hoffenheim are also 5-12 while USV Jena and TSV Breitengüßbach both have six wins and Nürnberger BC II, Big Oettinger Rockets Gotha II and TTL Bamberg all are 7-10.
“That was unbelievably important,” said Baskets playmaker Mike Urban about the team’s win over TTL Bamberg. “We knew that if we don’t win over an opponent like Bamberg that it will be very tough to keep the league.”
Urban, who joined the team at the same time as Larsson in early February, said Regensburg is slowly coming into form after dealing with tough close home losses to the top three teams in January and February and finally snapping their nine-game losing streak on February 26 against Nürnberg.
“Our team has stabilized itself. We are playing better together and you could see that as we were always close in the games since the winter break. And now I think things are looking up,” said Urban.
The player of the game for Regensburg on Saturday night was Larsson, who came to the Baskets from Bezirksliga club Amberg Dragons. Larsson made 9 of 12 free throws and two three-pointers for his 23 points – 16 more than he scored in total in his previous three games.
“I told the guys if you’re going to do something then do it with confidence. Julian had confidence and had a great game. It was very important. And you can see that our bench is there if we need it,” said Höß.
Regensburg started strong with a 16-9 lead and lead 20-17 after one quarter. The Baskets began to lose their concentration as frustration grew with the calls from the referees. And Bamberg took advantage of the uncertainty and used a 16-4 run to grab a 31-26 lead, which was 36-32 at halftime.
“Luckily we got ourselves back on track in the second half and cut down on our mistakes,” said Höß.
The Baskets scored the first seven points of the third quarter and then finished the period on a 9-0 surge to pull ahead 57-49 going into the final 10 minutes.
Bamberg took advantage of an unsportsmanlike foul on Tobias Waldhauser with two free throws and a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 58-54. But Urban answered with a three-pointer – his only points of the game – to start a 10-0 run for a 68-54 cushion.
The guests had one more comeback, pulling within 70-65 with 1:30 remaining. But Larsson drained his second three-pointer and the Baskets’ defense held up the rest of the game.
Regensburg captain Johannes Wießnet scored 17 points while Daniel Waldhauser had 8 points, Jan Sauer 7 points and Fabian Gülich 6.
Bamberg’s top scorer was Felix Griebel with 22 points while Matthias Rosenthal added 14.
The game also saw Regensburg’s new center Malte Binting make his debut with the team, scoring four points and giving the team a lot of energy and leadership in his first game since spring 2010 after he took last season off for family reasons.
“I was satisfied with his performance,” Höß said of Binting’s showing. “Of course he’s not fit yet and still has to find his way into the team. But you could tell that when he is on the court that is has a presence – both offensively and defensively.”
Regensburg Baskets face a tough task in their next game on Saturday March 10 at Science City Jena II with youth German internationals such as 19-year-old Josip Peric and 18-year-olds Paul Albrecht and Stephan Haukohl.