Brose Baskets have reclaimed third place in the German Basketball League with a 90:61 home victory over bottom-of-the-table Crailsheim Merlins. However, it was only at the end of the third period that Bamberg was able to open up a decisive gap after the league newcomers had almost tied the scores shortly after the break after trailing by 22:7 at one stage.
It was obvious from the first minute of the encounter with Crailsheim Merlins that Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri’s players wanted to make amends for the home defeat at the hands of Strasbourg a week ago. Ryan Thompson (11 points) drained a bucket from beyond the arc and two lay-ups, Elias Harris soon added a slam-dunk and Karsten Tadda gave his side a ten-point lead (14:4) after four-and-a-half minutes. Just 180 seconds later, the home side had stretched that to 22:7, but then the wide margin caused it to lose concentration. Bamberg’s shots up front became more hectic and less focused and its defense gave the league newcomers too much space. Crailsheim reduced the deficit to 22:15 by the end of the period, then scored two lay-ups before Karsten Tadda (10 points) stopped the visitors’ run with a three (25:19). The Baskets increased the lead again slightly to 39:33 with free throws by Josh Duncan and Trevor Mbakwe (14 points).
After the break the visitors closed the gap further to 39:35 and made an end-to-end game of it for seven minutes until the score was 52:48. But then power forward Josh Duncan in particular stepped up a gear in offense: he drained a bucket from outside, made a lay-up and the bonus free throw, and buried his next three to make it 61:50 – nine points in the space of 59 seconds. Daniel Theis, who produced a career-best five blocks in the game – as good as sealed the game just before the end of the quarter (63:50). Bamberg did not give its opponents a look-in in the final period. Top scorer Josh Duncan (18 points) added his third bucket from beyond the arc, followed by a ripping slam-dunk, while Josh Shipp – who had not scored up to that point – buried four of his seven attempted three-pointers to put 12 more points on the board. In the final minutes, the youngsters Daniel Schmidt and Andreas Obst were able to get on the scoreboard in the 90:61 victory.
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “I’ve learned my team’s more sensitive than I expected. In the first half many of the players were still thinking about the game against Strasbourg. Losing that important game in the way we did and then also for the first time at home hurt. That’s why there were a lot of ups and downs against Crailsheim. We played more aggressively in defense in the second half and managed to control the game. We have to keep on improving, since we have important games ahead of us. And the way we played against Crailsheim won’t be enough.”
The final game in the Eurocup group stage is on Wednesday evening, December 17, 2014. Bamberg will definitely advance to the next round as the second-placed team, regardless of how the game against fourth-placed CAI Zaragoza ends. The tip-off is at 8:30 p.m.