Consider it a lucky break but Regensburg Baskets earned a huge victory in their fight against relegation, pulling off a 71-51 upset on the road against a severely weakened Science City Jena.
Daniel Waldhauser scored 21 points and Johannes Wießnet added 19 as Regensburg won their third straight game to improve to 6-12 in the 2. Regionalliga SouthEast North Division.
With the U19 NBBL playoffs due to start on Sunday, Jena elected to sit four of their top players against Regensburg to rest up for the their Round of 16 showdown against Basket College Rhein-Neckar. Science City were without German youth internationals Stephan Haukohl, Josip Peric and Paul Albrecht as well as Fabian Strauß.
“A victory is a victory. And this counts double for keeping the league because it wasn’t expected,” said Baskets head coach Markus Höß, who played all 12 of his players, 11 of whom scored.
“And this is our first victory with a big margin. A 20-point win and only allowing 51 points – that’s pretty strong.”
Combined with home losses by DJK Eggolsheim (5-13) and USV Jena (6-12), Regensburg have real life in their hopes of keeping the league with games coming up against both of those teams as well as last placed BBV Leipzig (4-13 going into March 11 game against Big Oettinger Rockets Gotha II).
Even though Höß himself was very excited after the win over Science City, he was quick to remind everyone that the job is far from done as the Baskets still host USV Jena and Leipzig and travel to Eggolsheim.
“We have to be careful. We still have three important games and have to win two of them,” said the coach.
But Höß’s captain Wießnet said the task was made a bit easier.
“After the wins over Nürnberg and Bamberg we needed to win three of the last five to avoid relegation. Nobody expected the victory against Jena beforehand. Now it’s only two of four – which is very doable.”
Regensburg did not expect to leave Jena with their third straight victory but Höß’s men were a bit relieved when they saw Science City come out without Haukohl, Peric, Albrecht and Strauß.
“If their guys who were missing would have been there the game certainly would have gone a different way,” said Höß. “(Jena) lost last week against TG Würzburg. If they would have won, it would have been more meaningful and they would have come with a different team.”
Jena had won five straight before the Würzburg loss – which left Science City three games behind the leaders with just five games remaining.
Despite Jena missing those four players, Regensburg initially struggled with the team from former East Germany. But Höß had his team switch between zone and man-to-man defenses and came to grips with Jena’s big players, building a big lead and being ahead 20-14 after one quarter.
Regensburg continued their strong defense in the second quarter and held Jena to just seven points in the period to lead 39-21 at halftime.
“Jena’s poor shooting did not allow them to get back into the game. At the other end we did a good job getting the ball in the low post and switched between scoring from outside and down low,” said Wießnet.
Jena tried to press Regensburg in the third quarter and turn the game around but the Baskets were able to fend off Science City and lead 54-31 after three quarters. Regensburg even led by as many as 28 points in the game.
Oliver Pethran was the next best scorer for Regensburg with seven points while Tobias Waldhauser and Benedikt Schwanzer both had five points.
Lukas Baumann led Jena with 13 points while Konrad Glück and Nils Gubitz both scored 10 points.
Regensburg’s next game is Sunday, March 18 at home against USV Jena.