It may not have been the most beautiful basketball but ratiopharm ulm and MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg played to a historic 71-71 tie in Game 1 of the German League Final Tournament Semifinals, setting up even more drama for Game 2 on Tuesday, June 23.

Marcos Knight scored 24 points with 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks and Nick Weiler-Babb tallied 21 points for Ludwigsburg, who gave up 23 offensive rebounds to Ulm and connected on just 4-of-29 three-pointers for 13.8 percent.

Ulm, who only hit 6-of-27 three-pointers for 22.2 percent, were paced by Derek Willis with 19 points and 14 rebounds with Patrick Heckmann scoring 16 points to go with 8 rebounds.

It was the first tie in German playoffs history since Giessen and Wolfenbuettel finished 78-78 in the second Semifinals game in the 1974-75 season. The scores of the two games will be added up to determine a winner.

Weiler-Babb scored Ludwigsburg’s first two baskets for a 4-1 lead – after he picked up just 12 points in 57 minutes against FC Bayern Munich in the Quarter-Finals. Archie Goodwin threw down a big dunk for Ulm and Dylan Osetkowski made it 7-6. But Knight answered with two scores and Weiler-Babb had two triples to build a 17-7 Ludwigsburg lead. Ulm missed their first six three-pointers and five of their first six free throws and went scoreless for nearly 4 minutes until Gavin Schilling stopped the rut. Heckmann managed a trey for Ulm, who were within 21-14 after 10 minutes.

Heckmann continued his strong game in the second quarter with two baskets before Thomas Klepeisz and Willis nailed back-to-back three-pointers in a 14-5 run to move ahead 28-25. Weiler-Babb added five more points to put Ludwigsburg back ahead before the lead changed hands again with a Heckmann three-point play. A mini 6-0 spurt put Ludwigsburg up 36-32 at the break.

Andi Obst started the second half with a three-ball to give Ulm back the lead and Jaka Lakovic’s team was up 43-40. The game was an intense fight with Knight helping push Ludwigsburg back ahead 49-47. Ulm managed a 9-1 run with a triple from Klepeisz and led 56-50 with the score 56-52 after 30 minutes.

Willis collected six points early in the fourth quarter as Ulm used a 10-5 surge for a 66-57 advantage. Ludwigsburg held Ulm scoreless for nearly 3 minutes and Knight tallied six points to pull within 66-65. Osetkowksi stopped the rut but teenager Lukas Herzog made two free throws to put Ludwigsburg back ahead 69-68. Willis responded with a three-ball for Ulm with Thomas Wimbush evening the game 71-71. Knight seemed determined to give Ludwigsburg the win with the final possession but Heckmann drew the charge against the Ludwigsburg leader with 2.6 seconds left and the game ended in a tie.

QUOTES: Ulm’s Derek Willis (who celebrated his birthday on Sunday): “I just tried to give a good, solid effort out there and do what I can for my team.”
(About the game): “Plain and simple, you have to look at it like a football or rugby game. You just have to come out here and fight. This time of the year with the tournament, it’s about who wants it more, who’s going to put out that effort and I think both of the teams fought for it really hard. Now we come back next game and see what happens.”
(What he expects in Game 2): “I expect a better effort by us on the boards. Knight killed us. He’s crashing in and making our job really difficult. I think collectively we need to focus in on that and play our game. I think we came out of our game a little bit. Just get back to the basics.”

Ulm head coach Jaka Lakovic: “It’s the first part of the series. I think we played a solid game defensively. Offensively I think we missed our opportunities. And hopefully we can use them in the next game.”
(What has to improve for Game 2): “We have to make a couple more shots. We have to stay solid on defense and stay very solid especially on defensive rebounding.”

Ludwigsburg’s Marcos Knight: “It’s the points differential that counts so you have to make we get locked in on the next game, which will start 0-0 just like the first game.”
(About Ludwigsburg never giving up): “No, we’re never gonna give up. That’s our game. We play tough and play defense and play together. We didn’t play that well on offense but we played really well defensively at times. That’s what wins championships: defense. That’s where we’re going hang our hats on and do for sure.”(Expectations for Game 2): “Same as the first game. We gotta play better defensively. We gotta rebound better for sure.”

Ludwigsburg coach John Patrick: “Ugly. We gave up 23 offensive rebounds to Ulm. We didn’t defend particularly well against their bigs. But somehow we fought back again in the fourth quarter and got this tie. We can play a lot better. I don’t know if we even hit a three-pointer after the first quarter, but we can play a lot better. I am happy that we played a lot better defense in the fourth quarter. Lukie (Lukas Herzog) and Radii (Caisin) gave us some energy. I am looking forward to Tuesday.”
(Expectations for Game 2): “Another dogfight. Hopefully with a little more structure on offense for us. And especially better rebounding. But it will be exciting.”


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