Win or go home: Ludwigsburg book a trip back to Romania for Game 3
LUDWIGSBURG (Germany) - There will be a Game 3 in the Quarter-Finals. After BAXI Manresa, Lenovo Tenerife and Hapoel U-NET Holon swept their way to the Final Four, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg prevented U-BT Cluj Napoca from doing the same.
John Patrick's team won the game 92-75, in typical Ludwigsburg fashion, forcing turnover after turnover and not allowing anything easy under their rim. The game went on for more than two hours, speaking volumes of Cluj's resilience and ambition to make it a close game even when they were down by 19.
Turning point: MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg were in front for most of the game, and finally opened up a bigger margin late in the first half.
The momentum carried over to the third quarter, even after Patrick Richard banked in a three-pointer to beat the third quarter buzzer, it was still all about Ludwigsburg.
The champions of Romania probably thought they could make it interesting when they cut the gap to 79-71 with three minutes to play, but it was the all-too-familiar tandem of Justin Simon and Jonah Radebaugh powering a 13-4 finish to the game.
Game heroes: Pick your poison. Justin Simon with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal. Ethan Happ with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists off the bench. Jonah Radebaugh with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists. Yorman Polas Bartolo with 14 off the bench. James Woodard with 11 off the bench.
There were too many heroes for coach Patrick, making his life easier on the path to a 1-1 series result.
Stats don't lie: Having 21 turnovers in any game is bad, but against Ludwigsburg on the road, you can pack your bags and start preparing for Game 3 already. For periods of time, it felt like U-BT Cluj Napoca were having trouble just getting the ball across the halfcourt line.
Bottom line: With the series tied at 1-1, we are in for a massive Game 3. The first game in Romania saw just under 10 thousand fans in the stands, this time around there could be a new record.
The game will be played on Tuesday, April 19. Coach Mihai Silvasan will hope he gets more out of his main stars, Andrija Stipanovic (16 points), Karel Guzman (15) and Brandon Brown (12) were the only ones in double figures in Germany.
"They came with much more energy in the second half. That's their biggest strength, and we didn't react good to that. Congrats to them, we must prepare better in six days in front of our crowd to try and win the series." - Andrija Stipanovic, U-BT Cluj Napoca
"We knew that aggressiveness on defense and offensive rebounding is their strength, but we didn't manage to stop them too much. We allowed 16 offensive rebounds, a lot of second chance possessions. We didn't defend very well, and because of that we had troubles with our offense, with 21 turnovers. It's hard to win a game with this kind of number." - U-BT Cluj Napoca head coach Mihai Silvasan
"We came out with a lot of energy, we were really locked in on the defensive end and we executed our game plan. Every man that came in today played to the best of their ability. Gave a 100 percent while they were out there. And we just kept trying to have the energy up, because in the last game we had too many dips in our game. Today, it was pretty consistent, and we came out with a win." - James Woodard, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg
"It was a disappointing game last week in Cluj, because we had the game and we let it slip away. Compliments to Cluj, they never gave up, even when they were down 18, they fought back and made it interesting in the end. You can see that they play with a lot of heart. But we also played with a lot of heart today. For 40 minutes. Now we have a chance next Tuesday to fight to go to the Final Four, that's what we've been working on all season." - MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg head coach John Patrick