Brose Baskets extended their unbeaten run in the German Basketball League to 14 games. With a hard-fought 71:58 home win over Fraport Skyliners from Frankfurt, the team of Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri gained revenge for the league defeat earlier in the season. Bamberg still leads the table with a gap of three wins over FC Bayern Munich.
Fraport Skyliners are the only team in the Beko German Basketball League to have beaten Brose Baskets twice this season: in the pre-season preparations, when both teams were not complete, and in November, when Trinchieri’s players had to travel directly to Frankfurt after the Friday evening game in Sassari and lost narrowly by 86:88. And the visitors also got off to the better start in the Brose Arena. It was only after more than two minutes had elapsed that Brad Wanamaker put the first points on the board for the home side. Frankfurt was 8:2 ahead midway through the first period. It is not for no reason that the club from Hesse has conceded the least number of points – and the home side also found the going tough against Frankfurt’s strong defense for a long time. Brose Baskets had to fight hard to score and notched up half of their first twelve points from the foul line. Janis Strelnieks put them ahead for the first time in the ninth minute (11:10), after which Daniel Theis stretched the lead to 24:18 with a lay-up at the start of the second quarter. However, Trinchieri’s team was not able to pull further away – Frankfurt remained strong in defense and struck back with buckets from beyond the arc to snatch the lead again (30:27). A three-point play – a great lay-up and bonus free throw – from Brad Wanamaker (13 points) tied the scores, then Nikos Zisis added free throws and produced an assist for Leon Radosevic (9) to make it 37:34 for the home side at half-time.
After the break, Trinchieri’s players managed to find the small gaps in the Skyliners’ tight defense: threes from Brad Wanamaker and Janis Strelnieks, as well as eight more free throws, made it 51:37 after 15 minutes and the game seemed to be going according to plan. Yet the fans rejoiced too soon: in the space of 80 seconds, Frankfurt hit back with three buckets from outside. After Andrea Trinchieri quickly called a timeout, the visitors then added a lay-up to slash the deficit to 52:50. Brose Baskets now responded in turn with tougher defending, with Daniel Theis particularly excelling with five of his six blocks (a career record). The German champions only conceded eight points in the final 12 minutes and finally found space to shoot from beyond the arc at the other end: Janis Strelnieks (18 points) drained the important three to make it 58:50 shortly before the end of the third period and then sealed the game with his next two buckets from outside (63:53 and 68:53).
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “Frankfurt was the worst opponent we could face after the game against Real Madrid, where we played to our limit. The Skyliners are a very good side and a genuine title candidate – they’re very well coached, play as a team and move the ball well. The encounter was tough, a true play-off game. We didn’t make our open shots and so I’m happy we won the game. We played just as intensely as the Skyliners and captured a wonderful win against a strong team. Daniel Theis was magnificent. He’s learning a lot in the Euroleague and then putting it into practice in the German league.”
Brose Baskets aim to chalk up another win in the Euroleague on Friday, March 4, 2016, when they visit Zalgiris Kaunas. The tip-off is at 6:45 p.m.