Brose Bamberg has extended its cross-season run to 37 straight wins with an 82:68 victory over Gießen 46ers. Unlike in the game between the two earlier in the season, when the club from Hesse demanded everything of Bamberg and the reigning champions won 79:77 only thanks to a last-second bucket by Darius Miller, the encounter yesterday evening in the Brose Arena was actually as good as decided after the first period, after which Bamberg led 25:8 and proceeded to play out the game commandingly.
Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri always faces an agonizing choice for German league games: According to the rules, he has to scratch three foreign players out of the nine in the squad (Zisis, Causeur, Veremeenko, Radosevic, Strelnieks, Miller, Nikolic, McNeal and Melli) – the German Basketball League does not allow more than six non-German players. Apart from the injured Janis Strelnieks, Trinchieri rested Leon Radosevic and Darius Miller – and what was the biggest surprise of the evening: himself. The championship-winning coach sat on the far left of the bench, with pen and writing pad in hand, often coordinating this and that with Sport Manager Daniele Baiesi. Assistant Ilias Kantzouris took over the role of Head Coach against Gießen – and the home side had taken the wind out of the visitors’ sails by the end of the first quarter. Vladimir Veremeenko stormed powerfully through Gießen’s defense to make two lay-ups, while Jerel McLean and Maodo Lo (twice) drained buckets from beyond the arc to give their side a clear 15:4 lead. Gießen did not have any antidote to the tenacious defending of Brose Bamberg and lost possession in offense seven times in the first ten minutes. Nicolo Melli and Daniel Theis, who ended up with nine points apiece, stretched the gap to 23:8. The home side remained focused in the second half: Although Gießen briefly cut the gap to 32:20 through Andi Obst, who is on loan from Bamberg, the German champs produced an 11:3 run, which Patrick Heckmann (11 points) finished to make the score 44:23. Lucca Staiger’s three meant they even went in at half-time with a 20-point lead (49:29).
Bamberg’s pace slackened after the break. Kantzouris left Nikos Zisis on the bench completely after his five minutes on court in the second period and put his trust in the playmaker position in Jerel McNeal and especially Maodo Lo. Nevertheless, the number of turnovers conceded by the home side increased in the third quarter, which Gießen exploited to reduce the deficit briefly to eleven points (62:51). Top scorer Maodo Lo (16 points) restored the old gap (70:51) with a bucket from downtown and a half-distance shot at the beginning of the final period and so Bamberg was able to play out the game calmly.
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “I’ve a great coaching team which the players, club, organization and I can trust. And after so many games in the season, I thought it was important give everyone a fresh impetus. Routine can kill. I wanted to see the game from another angle. Who knows, perhaps I’ll do the same again sometime this season.”
Brose Bamberg now faces a game on the road in the Euroleague at Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Friday, March 10, 2017. The tip-off in the Abdi Ipekci Arena is 7 p.m. CET.