When you observe Cuxhaven American center Edward Seward(48 BBL games with Phoenix Hagen) who stands in at 206cm and weighs 110 kilo and can smile with the best of them after a victory or a tasty Big Mac, but he also can show his gritty and physical side when he is battling in the paint. The smiles and laugh wrinkles in his face have been nonexistent this season as team Cuxhaven Bascats have started 0-5 including two 100 point plus massacre loses to Baunach and Wurzburg as Bavaria seems to be a place to avoid at the moment, the team has given up an average of 94 points per game and lost to their opponents on average by 29 points. It is 10 before midnight in Cuxhaven as the head coaching chair of Latvian Krists Plendiskis is as unstable as a Stork bird that gets lost in a feeding time trail of Leopards in Nambia. Cuxhaven has attained no real luck to win games whereas three time Beko BBL champion Giessen 46ers have had luck and non luck as they have a 2-3 record, but lost a one point game at home to Hamburg and lost on a buzzer beater in Leverkusen, but also won a nail bitter in OT In Jena. Cuxhaven was praying for any kind of trace of success to finally get that first win and get those cheek wrinkles of Seward working overtime again while the Giessen 46ers were hoping to get back on the winning track again after losing to Kirchheim last week and hoping for added team chemistry with late signing ex German national player Johannes Lischka who was benched for two games, but back in the lineup last week netting 9 points in 20 minutes against Kirchheim. Lischka who at times has as stern an expression as the Wonder Years teacher Ben Stein snuck into six minutes against the Cuxhaven Bascats and after the game despite a nailbitting 74-70 win still looked like a younger Stein just with dirty blond hair. Once again there was enormous excitement and working on those nails for 40 minutes, but Giessen found some lady luck getting by the Cuxhaven Bascats 74-70. After the win Giessen American Eric Palm tried to put some perspective on the luck that Giessen have and haven´t ha dthis season. “We are used to these tight games this season. These kind of games keep us focused more on offense and defense. Getting wins like this will help us in the playoffs when you encounter more tight games. We struggled on offense again as we have all season long, but once we get our rhythm then we will be a very dangerous team”, stressed Illinois native Eric Palm. The Cuxhaven Bascats haven´t had any kind of luck this season and the way the season has been going, even when they are so close the luck just doesn´t seem to land on the side of the team. “We knew that this was a big game and we were ready for it. I hope that despite the loss that this game will help us move forward and I hope we know that we played very hard and fought until the end, but just came up a bit short”, stated Cuxhaven point guard Aaron Cook.
As the first quarter moved on, Cuxhaven fans may have thought that they were in a pleasurable movie with a happy ending being constructed as the North German team played with a lot of energy and controlled 85% of the first quarter letting Giessen closer in the last minute. Cuxhaven took the quick 4-2 lead as German Dennis Nawrocki hit free throws and ex Lich forward Bill Borekami showed his touch around the glass with an offensive rebound and put back. However Giessen stayed with Cuxhaven as ex Bremerhaven center Jonathan Malou thought two can play that game following Borekambi with the same trick. Cuxhaven started to get more and more rhythm on offense while staying true to their aggressive defense rolling out on a 11-4 run to lead Giessen 15-9. In the run, Cuxhaven continued to dominate the boards as 36 year old veteran Edward Seward who played his first four years of professional basketball in the Regionaliga with Aschersleben scored twice on put backs after securing offensive rebounds. Young German Jeffery Martin who played 12 Beko BBL games for Bremerhaven last season was on fire hitting form all over the court as he finished the first quarter with 9 points. Cuxhaven just played with a lot of intensity while keeping Giessen off guard switching up their defensive sets and had more effort on the glass. However Cuxhaven couldn´t quite keep that tempo allowing Giessen on a 6-2 run to cut the Cuxhaven lead to 17-15. In the Giessen run, 33 year old veteran Bjoern Schoo who is playing for his 13th team hit a pull up jumper and found Cuban Yorman Polas for the back door dunk. “Martin had a big quarter as the team has full confidence in his abilities. We played defense aggressively and just were very physical and didn´t let them take comfortable shots”, stressed Maryland native Aaron Cook. Cuxhaven was shooting 40% from the field and outside while Giessen was shooting 40% from the field and 25% from outside. Cuxhaven had the huge 12-6 rebound advantage, but four turnovers while Giessen had only one turnover.
The second quarter remained very tight as Cuxhaven held the lead until the break and had their biggest lead of seven points, but Giessen always stayed on their door step not letting their opponent to close the door shut on them. Cook started the second quarter with two free throws, but Giessen guard Besnik Bekteshi countered with a three pointer, but Giessen still trailed 19-18. Cuxhaven then got a spurt of momentum escaping on a 8-2 run to lead 27-20. In the run Cuxhaven was led by North Carolina native Keith Sherril who scored on two mid distance jumpers. 20 year old 205cm German Helge Baues also showed his amazing foot work dancing inside twice and scoring without problems. Giessen rallied on a 4-0 mini run as Cuxhaven threw up an air ball and made a turnover while Giessen capitalized with a Benjamin Lischka hook shot and Johannes Lischka free throws as Giessen trailed 27-24 and seemed to be threatening. However Cuxhaven had two good offensive sets where Cook nailed a three pointer and Edward Seward snuck up the court like Rajon Rondo getting the easy bucket while the Giessen transition defense was helpless and crawling back. Then the Giessen fans witnessed a classical Lischka brother combination as Johannes made the put back off the Benjamin miss as Giessen trailed 32-26. Giessen closed out the second quarter with a lightening 5-0 run to go into half time trailing only 32-31. TJ DiLeo made a steal and went coast to coast and then Cook shot a bit too early giving Giessen seven seconds as Palm nailed a three pointer. “Cuxhaven was playing good basketball, but still finding their way. As the underdog, they had a big desire to win. Cuxhaven was playing good defense, but Giessen also wasn´t executing and missing easy shots”, stressed TV Lich guard Jermale Jones. Cuxhaven was shooting 43% from the field and from the three point line while Giessen was shooting 36% from the field and 27% from the three point line. Cuxhaven led the rebound battle 25-11, but had 11 turnovers while Giessen had only two turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Giessen 46ers were able to achieve their first lead of the game halfway through, lose it again and retain it at the end. Seward started off the third quarter with what he does best getting mean under the boards getting his sweaty hands on the rebound and putting it home. Cuxhaven kept the lead despite a Benjamin Lischka lay in as Giessen trailed 34-33, but Cuxhaven German Dennis Nawrocki tested his 26% three point shooting percentage dropping a big three as Cuxhaven led 37-33. Giessen then got their first lead of the game in part of a crafty 6-0 run to lead 39-37. Malou scored inside made a free throw and Bekteshi threw a bomb over Cook for the lead. However this sudden burst of Giessen power didn´t scare Cuxhaven as they quickly regained the lead on a mini 4-0 run as their defense sparked the offense as Seward blocked Bekteshi and Cook fed Baues for the fast break finish. Cook then nailed a step back jumper as Cuxhaven led 41-39 again. After Polas tied the game with free throws, it was Cook again giving Cuxhaven the lead with an off balance shot 43-41. The game continued to go back and forth, but Giessen got some extra special momentum at the end as they got two consecutive steals from Palm and Wells that led to DiLeo and Palm lay ins as Giessen kept the lead after 30 minutes 48-46. “Their press defense changed the tempo of the game. They capitalized on the steals which gave them rhythm”, commentated Aaron Cook. “We picked up our defensive intensity and our full court pressure rattled some of their younger players. This was the turning point of the game”, expressed ex BV Chemnitz guard Eric Palm. Giessen was shooting 34% from the field and 29% from the parking lot while Cuxhaven was shooting 40% from the field and 38% from the parking lot. Cuxhaven still had the overwhelming 37-22 rebound edge, but an unacceptable 16 turnovers while Giessen had five turnovers.
The Giessen 46ers kept that momentum from the end of the third quarter and carried it into the fourth quarter. Cuxhaven could tie the game three more times, but after that Giessen never looked back despite the fighting qualities of Cuxhaven that never eroded. Cook tied the game at 48-48 with a pull up jumper. Palm responded with perhaps the prettiest play of the night with a finger tip roll while falling to his right for the 50-48 advantage. Borekambi then tied the game again at 50-50 with a mid distance jumper. Cuxhaven got their last lead of the game at 52-50 as Sherril hit his bread and butter the mid distance jumper. Giessen then jumped out on a 8-0 run to lead 58-52 and would never relinquish the lead again. Ex Citadel(NCAA) guard Cameron Wells scored two consecutive buckets and Polas nailed a three pointer. Sherril stopped the run with a put back, but Giessen continued to hammer Cuxhaven with consistent shooting as Palm nailed a three pointer and then made another pretty basket spinning and hitting off balance as Giessen led 63-56. Cuxhaven never gave up and it was the young guys on this day who stepped up as Martin and Borekambi combined for 23 points. Borekambi had nerves of steel now seemingly taking Cuxhaven in the come back trail alone hitting two buckets to cut the Giessen lead to 64-61. However Giessen always had an answer as they got big buckets from DiLeo and Polas to get their lead back to 68-63. Cook made free throws and if it wasn´t Borekambi then it was the other young buck Martin to take command hitting a huge three pointer as Cuxhaven remained on the Giessen door step with one leg inside their living room as they trailed 69-68. However down the stretch, Cuxhaven missed an easy lay in by Borekambi and Cook missed a three pointer while Giessen hit their free throws from Palm who dropped five at the end to secure the win. “Key at the end was knocking down free throws. This has been a problem for us this season and especially for me. Usually I am at 85%, but I think hitting some early got me in rhythm and our guards found me for some open shots”, explained Eric Palm. “We have a lot of trust in Bill Borekambi and he can get by anyone. He was a bit unlucky at the end. The play at the end was designed for me. I only had a split second and had to take it. I had that last shot in my head so many times since the loss. I would have traded my 17 points for that last three getting us into overtime”, added Aaron Cook.
The Giessen 46ers were led by Eric Palm with 19 points. Yorman Polas added 12 points and five rebounds. Cuxhaven was led by Aaron Cook with 17 points and nine assists. Jeffery Martin added12 points and Bill Borekambi 11 points. Giessen finished the night shooting 41% from the field and 33% from downtown while Cuxhaven shot 44% from the field and 35% from downtown. Cuxhaven won the rebounding duel 40-30, but coughed up the ball 18 times while Giessen did 10 times. Despite another bitter loss, there seems to be hope for the future of Cuxhaven. “I don´t really look at wins or loses but as a team building to get better. I think that we took a step forward. If we continue to be physical and defend like this, then I think we can win games”, warned Aaron Cook. Giessen is 3-3 now and the win had its plus and minus side. “We have to rebound better. We were down 25-11 at halftime. We won´t lead many games like that. In the second half, I think that we picked up the rebounding. There were some long rebounds where our guards helped out. Despite it being a roller coaster game. Our defensive intensity was good. It set the tone for us to end the game well”, warned Eric Palm.