MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg made history at the easyCredit BBL Final Tournament 2020 as they knocked off ratiopharm ulm 95-85 in Game 2 to reach the German league Finals for the first time in club history.

Marcos Knight carried his team to the two-game title series – which will be played on Friday June 26 and Sunday June 28 – as he totalled 26 points, 13 rebounds and 3 assists. Thomas Wimbush collected 22 points and 12 rebounds, Nick Weiler-Babb poured in 20 points and Jaleen Smith added 14 points and 4 assists for Ludwigsburg, who took the Semi-Finals series 165-156 on aggregate and finally advanced to the Finals after losing in the Semi-Finals in 1991-92, 1992-93, 2006-07 and 2017-18.

Ludwigsburg’s opponent in the Finals will be either ALBA BERLIN or EWE Baskets Oldenburg, who will be playing their Game 2 on Wednesday June 24.

Ulm lost their first game of the tournament – and with it their chance for their first league title – despite Archie Goodwin picking up 19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Thomas Klepeisz added 17 points and Derek Willis finished with 11 points in the loss.

Smith converted a three-point play to start the game and a trey from Knight put Ludwigsburg up 6-2 early on. Ludwigsburg failed to score for more than 3 minutes but Ulm was only able to move head 7-6. Ariel Hukporti, who left Munich to return home for school exams, through down a dunk and Ludwigsburg were up 10-7. But Klepeisz scored 10 points in a 12-2 spurt for a 19-12 lead. Tyler Harvey drained a three-pointer just before the first quarter break for a 24-16 Ulm lead.

Ludwigsburg forced two quick Ulm turnovers to get within 24-20 only to see Ulm respond with a 9-0 surge including a Per Günther triple in building the margin to 33-20. Knight stopped the drought with a trey and Weiler-Babb also hit from long range and Ludwigsburg was back in the game 36-32. Knight had a three-point play at one end with Andi Obst hitting a triple and Christoph Philipps converting an and-one as Ulm was up 46-39. Weiler-Babb knocked down a three-ball just before the buzzer and Ludwigsburg were down 46-42 at the break.

Smith and Wimbush started the second half with treys and Wimbush added a massive dunk and-one as Ludwigsburg stormed ahead 51-46. Ulm cut the gap to one point but Wimbush had another and-one and Hans Brase hit a long ball and Ludwigsburg led 61-55. Ulm fought back thanks to five points from Goodwin and Dylan Osetkowski’s three-ball made it 69-67. Ludwigsburg hit the final two scores of the quarter and led 71-69 after 30 minutes.

Ludwigburg remained hot to start the fourth with Weiler-Babb and Wimbush hitting long balls for a 77-69 advantage. Weiler-Babb drained another triple and then Knight scored seven straight points as the Ludwigsburg advantage swelled to 87-75. Andi Obst and Willis did manage three-pointers to get Ulm within 92-85 with just more than a minute left.

QUOTES: Ludwigsburg’s Marcos Knight: “Team effort. Tom (Wimbush) stepped up big. Our young fella Ariel (Hukporti) stepped up big in WoBo’s shoes. It was a team effort. Everybody played good. Our young guys gave us a lot of energy that we needed. A great team win, I am proud of everybody.”
(About Berlin): “We’re going to keep doing what we’ve always been doing throughout the season. We’re going to keep playing as a team on defense and rebounding. ALBA’s a great team, I have a lot of respect for them, but we’ll see where it goes.”

Ludwigsburg head coach John Patrick: “Marcos Knight has everything under control. He did it all in the second half. Wimbush used the mis-matches. We rebounded. Not like the first game in which Ulm had 23 offensive rebounds. We controlled the rebounds today and hit the big shots.”
(About first appearance in Finals): “Very proud. We lost Khadeen. We lost Tanner, lost Konsti. Lost WoBo. Still, we came together and got energy from the bench. The atmosphere from the bench and within the team is super. And that’s why we have a chance.”
(About Berlin): “It will be difficult. They have so many weapons. At least 10 people who can score 20 points. It was a tight game in the group stage. In the end, ALBA were better. I don’t know. We will have to have a good game plan. And everybody must perform if we want to win against ALBA.”

Ulm’s Per Günther: “You have to learn in your basketball career what things can make the difference in important games. When I look back at this series then I will remember the fourth quarter of the first game and the second quarter today. Just because we had Ludwigsburg at a point where we felt comfortable. They weren’t that intense and we were getting good shots. And both times we took our foot off the gas. We talk about everything at halftime and we are up four coming out of the break and then we are five back. You just have to learn that. The teams lives from that, individual players live from that. Marcos Knight takes over and Ludwigsburg finds another gear and you don’t have a chance. As bad as it sounds, in sports, when your opponent is showing a weakness you have be able to keep at it. And we didn’t do that to times. So Ludwigsburg deserved to win the series.”

Ulm’s Thomas Klepeisz: “I think we were missing the killer instinct today. Also in the last game. We should have taken a lead out of the first game. We didn’t get that and Ludwigsburg never gave up and kept fighting and put together the right runs at the right time, which we could not answer.”


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