Brose Baskets have qualified for the Top Four for the twelfth time in the club’s history. The team of Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri clinched the coveted ticket for the finals of the Germany cup in Oldenburg in Mid-April with a comfortable 76:61 win on the road against ratiopharm Ulm.
The way the home side started underscored its intention to make amends for the 63:85 debacle against Mitteldeutscher BC in front of its own crowd three days ago. Brose Baskets was not able to match its intensity in the opening minutes and only center Dalibor Bagaric managed to score with a lay-up. Ulm surged into an 11:2 lead in the first six minutes; in addition, Bamberg conceded five fouls and the “Sparrows” just one. Andrea Trinchieri remonstrated with the referees and was penalized with a technical foul – but that acted like a clarion call for his players: they defended with greater fight and aggression at the back and won two turnovers right away, enabling Dawan Robinson and Trevor Mbakwe to reduce the deficit quickly to 9:13. Daniel Theis buried free throws and Brad Wanamaker added a slam-dunk to tie the scores. Brad Wanamaker then drained a bucket from beyond the arc on the buzzer to put Brose Baskets 18:13 in front at the end of the period. In particular, the ex-Ulm player Daniel Theis gave Bamberg a lot of impetus and helped stretch the lead to 28:19 with a lay-up and a three. However, Ulm cut the gap to six points (30:24) midway through the second quarter, after which Bamberg prevented Ulm from scoring for a three-minute spell and pulled away to 41:24 at half-time thanks to Mbakwe, Robinson and a bucket from outside in the final second by Janis Strelnieks (12 points).
Urged on by 6,200 fans, Ulm made a huge effort to turn the game around and cut the deficit to 49:40 with three buckets from beyond the arc in succession. Yet Trinchieri’s team always had an answer: Bamberg’s shooting was very dependable, especially from the foul line (15 free throws out of 17 attempts) and it went into the final ten minutes leading by 59:47. Although Ulm pulled it back to 59:51 at the beginning of the final period, playmaker Dawan Robinson (12 points), who was an incredibly good stand-in for Brad Wanamaker (11 points) after the latter conceded his fourth foul, controlled how Bamberg built its plays in textbook fashion: Robinson made points himself, but also kept on producing great assists – such as when he set up the free-standing top scorer Daniel Theis (17 points) to make two threes. Brose Baskets played out the game securely and Janis Stelnieks even stretched the lead to 58:76 with a bucket from outside. Ulm was only able to put a better complexion on the score in the final second.
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “It was the tough game we expected. However, we defended very well over 36 minutes. The first three to four minutes were a nightmare – we didn’t rebound, had no defense and so were soon eleven-two behind. But then we found a way to rob Ulm of its energy and at the back also produced the stops you need in games like this. All in all, we deserved the win.”
Brose Baskets face their next task in the Beko German Basketball League on Sunday, February 22, 2015, when Basketball Lions Braunschweig come to the Brose Arena. Trinchieri’s players aim to exact revenge for the 66:77 defeat earlier in the season (and the 0:11 trouncing in overtime). The game tips off at 5 p.m.