It seems that the Euroleague is never without drama. The Spanish champions Valencia Basket outplayed the team of Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri for 35 minutes and led by 15 points with four-and-a-half minutes left. Yet Bamberg turned the crazy game around with an outstanding final four minutes to capture a 83:82 home victory.
Brose Bamberg’s form in the Euroleague in the past two weeks has been like a roller coaster ride, with constant ups and downs. The game against Valencia has added to the list of crazy games involving Bamberg. The first 35 minutes are quickly told. Without Ricky Hickman, who drained four buckets from beyond the arc in his 17 points before the break, Bamberg would have gone in at half-time trailing by a far larger margin than 41:47. Valencia pulled away right after the teams came back on court, chalking up a three-point field goal percentage of 66 as its surged into a 77:62 lead midway through the third period. It was a steal by Augustine Rubit that sparked Bamberg’s unexpected comeback. The American intercepted a pass and added quick points to make it 64:77, then followed that right away with a further lay-up. Andrea Trinchieri resorted to a small formation and let the fast-paced Maodo Lo shake up the Valencia defense – and the German international was able to add two lay-ups plus a wild three (73:81). Bryce Taylor was then fouled and buried both free throws to make it 75:81 with 88 seconds to go. Valencia then missed its shot, thanks to tighter covering by Bamberg in defense. Maodo Lo snapped up the rebound and played a quick pass to Bryce Taylor, who drained his shot from outside: 78:81 with 61 seconds remaining. Valencia was now nervous in offense and again missed. Augustine Rubit followed up his own attempted lay-up and grabbed the offensive rebound to score (80:81). Ricky Hickman then committed a tactical foul, but Valencia missed one of the free throws (80:82). Bamberg had 14 seconds to close the gap. However, Valencia defended well against the last play and Ricky Hickman did not have anyone free to pass to – but there was the former Bamberg player Tibor Pleiß next to him. With all his experience, Hickman rose to shoot and collided with Pleiß – free throws for Bamberg with two seconds on the clock. The American did not let the chance slip, making all three shots to give his side a 83:82 win and crown his performance with 26 points.
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “What should I say? Another unforgettable night, not only because of the final result, but also how it all came about. We were poor, also because Valencia made every three-point shot. We didn’t give their players an inch of space, but they still drained just about everything. Valencia was the better team for 37 minutes. Then – as I learned last year – you sometimes have to look outside the box. When the things you think should work don’t, you have to change something. So we played with four guards and threw our system overboard. We showed character and never gave up, even when we were twelve behind with three minutes to go.”