Gillespie was Bayern's unsung hero
FC Bayern Munich rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet Belgrade 87-80 at Audi Dome to end a four-game losing streak.
Cassius Winston and Vladimir Lucic led the winners with 20 points apiece, but Bayern could not have won the game without starting center Freddie Gillespie, whose huge fourth quarter sparked the hosts' comeback.
Things did not look great for Bayern midway through the fourth quarter. The hosts could not find answers against Zvezda's three-guard offense featuring Nemanja Nedovic, Facu Campazzo and Luca Vildoza. The visitors led 66-75 with less than 6 minutes left and looked well on their way to winning the game, but Gillespie had other ideas.
Gillespie used great timing to block Luka Mitrovic's shot, allowing Winston to score at the other end. Gillespie went on to dunk and on the next play, grab a defensive rebound that led to a three-pointer by Andreas Obst at the other end. Zvezda called timeout but Gillespie was the next player to score on a power layup, tying the game at 75-75.
On Bayern's next offense, Obst missed from beyond the arc. Gillespie grabbed the offensive rebounds, and Bayern made the most out of that second chance he generated, as Corey Walden hit the go-ahead triple. When Obst returned the favor and found him for a two-handed dunk, Bayern had built an 80-75 lead with 1:10 remaining and Gillespie had scored half of the points in his team's decisive 12-0 run.
Nick Weiler-Babb and Walden put the finishing touches on with a couple of critical baskets. Gillespie did not finish the game with spectacular numbers: 8 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks and a PIR of 11. However, he had 6 points, 2 rebounds and a block in those 3 minutes and 30 seconds in which Bayern came back and took a significant lead to win the game down the stretch.
"We were down by 10, everything looked really bad but we never gave up and made a 35-24 run in the fourth quarter, and 19-5 in the last 5 minutes. We really didn't look back, we just pushed, pushed, pushed, pushed," Bayern head coach Andrea Trinchieri said after the game. "We had a couple, I would say three unbelievable defensive plays, securing the rebounds, and on offense, we converted. And we won a game because we don't want to leave any opportunity on the floor."