Markus Konle
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What a basketball thriller: The Gießen 46ers make it very exciting in Oldenburg after a great first half, but tremble in the end to a 75:72 (49:34) victory.

The basketball players of the Gießen 46ers clapped each other in relief, apparently they were too tired for big jumps of joy. After a wild roller coaster ride and a very intense Bundesliga game, they scored two eminently important points with the 75: 72 win at EWE Baskets Oldenburg on Saturday evening and gained some space in the table with their third win of the season.

It was clear to the 46ers from the very first second that they wanted to forget the home gossip against Crailsheim. The Giessen conjured up a fantastic first half in front of 4876 spectators. They were fully focused in defense, scored a high percentage from almost all positions and initially controlled the match. After seven minutes, Kendale McCullum scored to 21:10 and for the first double-digit lead for Giessen, who were ahead with 29:19 after the first quarter.

Then Nuni Omot had his big performance. After coach Pete Strobl’s public criticism of him, he scored 15 points in the second quarter for Central Hesse, who acted as if from a single source and did not allow themselves to be unsettled by an intermittent high from Oldenburg. With a strong defense, lots of ball wins and still a very good hit rate from the field, they set themselves apart and were in the lead with 49:34 at the break. For the baskets there were whistles from their fans when they walked into the dressing room and “We want to see fighting too” corridors.

It was to be expected that Oldenburg would come out of the break stronger – but not that they would be back in business with an 11-0 run within 130 seconds. After all, the 46ers stayed close to the front in what was now a disintegrated and unremarkable game. Above all, they repeatedly awarded important points on the line – in the end they amalgamated 17 free throws, only hit 20 in 37 attempts. But the hit rate also fell from the field – the result: Before the final quarter, Oldenburg was 59:60. It remained tight, it remained disheveled, it remained nerve-wracking – and at first no player was able to lead the team at the Giessen team. After 4:25 minutes in the last quarter, Omot scored the first points for Mittelhessen in the last section – for a 62:20 lead, because the uncertainty was also clearly noticeable in the Baskets. But when Rickey Paulding scored the 70:69 with a lay-up 1:46 minutes before the end and thus the Oldenburg’s first lead in the entire game, the 46ers seemed to run out of steam in the last few meters.

But the strong McCullum did little to turn the game around again – and how: With two seconds remaining on the music box, he threw a throw-in at the back of the ex-Giessener Alen Pjanic and shortened it to 71:72. Then he got the defensive rebound in defense after a lay-up by Bennet Hundt and put the 46ers in the lead with 73:72 eleven seconds before the end. And because Paulding failed on the other side, Omot grabbed the defensive rebound and converted both free throws to 75:72 after the immediate foul on him, the victory was perfect four seconds before the end – Paulding’s emergency three when the clock ran out did not find his target.

“It’s nice to finally enjoy an away win. It was very exhausting for my team, “said Coach Strobl afterwards, taking a deep breath:” We had very weak games before in which we didn’t do what we set out to do. That’s why we had tough training sessions where we wanted to deliver the intensity and the fight, as we showed here in the first half. In the second half we were of course a little lucky, which is also part of it. “

Oldenburg: Herrera, Pressey (6), Breunig (12), Clark (17,), Agbakoko, Odiase (7), Paulding (19), Hundt (4), Pjanic (6), Michalak, Holyfield (both ne).

Gießen: McCullum (15/5 Assists), Omot (19/5 Rebounds), Nawrocki, Blake (9), Begue (1), Tate (10/6 Turnover), Binapfl, Koch, Fayne II (12/8 Rebounds), Anderson (8/6 Assists), Bryant (1), Uhlemann (n.e.).

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