s.Oliver Baskets Würzburg again failed to beat Brose Baskets at their eighth attempt in the German Basketball League. Despite the stress of a long journey in the Euroleague, the German champions romped to a commanding 80:67 victory yesterday in the sold-out s.Oliver Arena against a Würzburg side that turned in a strong performance.
The newly promoted club from Lower Franconia hoped that the German champs would be tired and ripe for beating after two trips to Moscow and the cup qualifier in nine days. And so the home side really stepped up the pace in the opening minutes – whereas Bamberg conceded possession on its first two attacks, Würzburg was able to score. The players of Head Coach Doug Spradley even extended their quick 4:1 lead to 14:6. Bamberg’s Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri responded by putting on Nikos Zisis. The experienced playmaker took things into his own hands right away, sparked his side’s comeback with a bucket from beyond the arc and two free throws and produced two strong assists for Daniel Theis (10 points). Bamberg was 17:16 ahead by the end of the period and the start of the second one saw a fiercely contested game, with the lead changing hands six times before Janis Strelnieks (10 points) drained a three seconds before the buzzer to give his team its highest lead up to then (41:34).
Trinchieri’s team came out for the second half with fresh wind in its sails: Leon Radosevic smashed a slam-dunk through the hoop and drained a mid-range bucket, top scorer Brad Wanamaker (14 points) made a lay-up with a bonus free throw and Nicolo Melli (11) added a tip-in off an offensive rebound. Backed by strong defending, the visitors produced a run of 9 points without reply to surge 50:34 ahead. After that, the club from Lower Franconia fought back to close the deficit to nine points (62:53), but old hand Nikos Zisis (14 points) responded clinically with a bucket from outside, snapped up the defensive rebound at the other end and so set up Elias Harris for a three to make it 68:53 at the end of the quarter. In the final period, Würzburg again cut the gap to ten to kindle hopes of a shock among the 3,000 fans in the s.Oliver Arena, but Nikos Zisis crushed them with his third three to decide the derby.
Andrea Trinchieri commented: “That was the most we could get out of the game. We were on the road too much and so hardly had any time to train. Nevertheless, we controlled the game because my team’s in good physical shape. Eight of the twelve games in the past 32 days were away: two of them in Moscow, as well as at Real Madrid and Olympiacos Piraeus in the Euroleague. It’s not easy to deal with such a situation. I therefore asked my players to play good defense and win another game. We weren’t brilliant, that just wasn’t on. We no longer had much energy in the final period, which is why we didn’t score as well. But I believe we deserved to win the game.”
Brose Baskets finally have a home game again: FC Barcelona comes to the Brose Arena for an encounter in the Top 16 of the Euroleague on Thursday, February 4 (tip-off: 8 p.m.).