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Beko German Basketball League: Brose Baskets break Merlins’ spell and stroll to a 93:49

Bamberg, 10-07-2015

There was a gulf separating the two teams: on the weekend, Crailsheim Merlins had made the other teams in the league sit up and take notice after beating playoff candidate Telekom Baskets Bonn, but the team from Swabia suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the German champions Brose Baskets. The team of Head Coach Andrea Trinchieri sent the Merlins packing with a completely deserved 93:49 trouncing. After just six-and-a half minutes, the home side had surged into a 23:8 lead and so had virtually decided the encounter.

The game against Crailsheim Merlins was important in particular for rookie center Gabriel Olanesi. The British player, who has just moved from the American college to the German league, whacked a slam-dunk into the opposing side’s hoop in finest “Mbake style,” bagged two lay-ups and blocked two shots by the visitors at the other end. The 23-year-old had seemed a little “shy” in the test games and the Champions Cup against Oldenburg and had difficulty in adapting to the tougher play in Germany compared with in the US college league. But against Crailsheim, the 2.08-meter center showed his athleticism and jumping power. Six points in the first period, 14 in the whole game, five rebounds, 2 blocks, a turnover and two assists were testimony to his strong display. Thanks to Olaseni and Darius Miller’s eight points, the home side had opened up a 33:12 gap by the end of the first period. The game was over and Crailsheim was inferior in all departments. Andrea Trinchieri was then able to rest his key players and in particular gave his new players, such as youngster Patrick Heckmann or “Gabe” Olaseni, a lot of time on court. Brose Baskets capitalized on their individual advantages, especially in the big positions: top scorer Daniel Theis (15 points) was unstoppable and gave his side a 55:31 lead at half-time with seven points in the second quarter.

And Bamberg’s defense was even better after the break, producing eight blocks and seven turnovers to keep Crailsheim down to a meager 19 points in the second half. The German champions’ tight defending meant that the opposing side was not able to score easy points. In offense, the home side also passed the ball extremely well, as exemplified by the 31 assists. Top scorer Janis Strelnieks (15 points) and new signing Nicolo Melli (10) kept on stretching the gap and Lucca Staiger drained a bucket from outside to make the final score 93:48.

Andrea Trinchieri commented: “We wanted to play with a long rotation and we only rested Yassin Idbihi a little because he was feeling unwell. We played solid basketball, moved the ball well, dominated in the rebounding department and made 31 assists. That’s really pleasing. But one thing bothers me: when one of our players misses a free throw and then people in the arena whistle or boo, that’s dangerous. All my players always try to give their best. Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t. But I don’t like it when one of my players is criticized for no good reason.”

The German champs’ next encounter is on the road in the Beko German Basketball League on October 10, 2015, when they come up against the newly promoted Gießen 46ers in the Ost-Halle arena. The game tips off at 8:30 p.m.

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