Last weekend saw the champions and cup winners Brose Bamberg lose and win. On Friday evening, the team of Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri went down 70:74 to Khimki Moscow in the Euroleague, then chalked up a narrow 80:77 victory against ratiopharm Ulm on Sunday evening.
In a game that was tight throughout the forty minutes, the Russian club Khimki Moscow had the better nerves at the death and so captured victory in the Brose Arena. It was precisely right at the end, when Bamberg tied the scores at 69:69 thanks to top scorer Dorell Wright, Daniel Hackett and Ricky Hickman after trailing 60:68, that Bamberg lacked the killer instinct over the final centimeters. Ricky Hickman twice had the chance to put Bamberg ahead, but the American failed to drain his shots. After the next miss by Dorell Wright and an offensive foul by Augustine Rubit, Khimki led again and held on to win. Nevertheless, Trinchieri’s team impressed with its commitment in defense and focus in offense. However, this tenth defeat in the Euroleague now means it is two wins away from a playoff berth.
Bamberg got off to a difficult start in the German league tussle against ratiopharm Ulm, a club that has likewise not played impressively so far this season. After conceding three turnovers and being caught by fast counterattacks by the club from Swabia, the German champs were soon 7:14 behind. The two centers Leon Radosevic and Dejan Musli got the home side back into the game with their lay-ups to help tie the encounter at 21:21 shortly before the end of the first period. The lead then changed hands on almost every attack. The former Ulm player Augustine Rubit put Bamberg 40:38 in front at half-time with a strong slam-dunk.
After the break, Bamberg opened up a clearer gap for the first time thanks to seven points from the strong Daniel Hackett. Top scorer Ricky Hickman (21 points) gave his side its first double-digit lead with a bucket from downtown as Bamberg went into the final period with a 65:53 cushion. However, Trinchieri’s team again began to wobble and did not manage to score from the floor for almost five minutes. Ulm first reduced the deficit to 68:64 and then even took a one-point lead with 94 seconds to go. Yet despite the nervousness compounded by the unusually high number of defeats, Bamberg regained its focus: Maodo Lo added two free throws and Leon Radosevic made a lay-up and the home side was able to successfully thwart Ulm’s last three attacks to run out deserved winners in the end by 80:77.
The draw for the cup qualifiers was made during the break. Armin Andres, the Vice-President German Basketball Association, hails from Bamberg, but did not prove to have a lucky hand for the home side: Trinchieri’s team faces league leaders FC Bayern Munich away on January 21.