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Brose Bamberg defeats Ulm to move into fourth

Bamberg, 03-10-2019

After a weak start where it trailed by 12 points, Brose Bamberg was nevertheless able to celebrate a 103:94 win over ratiopharm Ulm and fill up with confidence for the decisive Champions League second-leg game at Banvit Bandirma on Wednesday. Bamberg’s sixth straight win in the German league means it is has now moved up into fourth in the table.

Brose Bamberg got off to a poor start: Ulm literally streamrollered the home side in the opening attacks, forcing seven turnovers thanks to its overpowering defending and successfully finishing fast breaks. Trailing 4:11 after three minutes, Bamberg slipped 12:24 behind after seven. A bucket from downtown by Maurice Stuckey was the rallying call for Bamberg: Ricky Hickman followed that up with five points on two attacks and so the home side was able to reduce the deficit to 20:24 and then – thanks to the next three from Augustine Rubit and a lay-up plus a bonus free throw – closed the gap to two points at the end of the period (26:28). With his best display for Bamberg this season, top scorer Bryce Taylor played a major part in giving his team the lead in the second quarter. The 32-year-old notched up 13 out of his total haul of 15 in the space of 10 minutes on court, drained seven out of eight shots, and also gave Bamberg its widest lead before the break (47:40). The only annoying thing was that Ulm cut the gap to 53:48 shortly before the half-time buzzer.

The team of Head Coach Federico Perego came back out highly focused. Thanks to strong defending, Bamberg now forced the visitors to concede seven turnovers in the period, while Nikos Zisis (13 points) and Elias Harris (14) helped produce two runs of eight points without reply to make it 80:61. Both teams went into the final period with the score standing at 82:65. Although the gap continuously dwindled in the final ten minutes and was just nine points at one stage, Perego used the last quarter to change his side merrily and rest key players for the Champions League game on Wednesday. Seven Bamberg players were therefore able to get into double digits: Besides Taylor, Augustine Rubit scored 15, Cliff Alexander made 14 (including many spectacular slam-dunks), and the two playmakers Tyrese Rice and Ricky Hickman finished with 11 apiece.

Federico Perego commented: “In the first period we invited Ulm to make fast breaks. We weren’t focused enough and ought to have known that Ulm defends very aggressively and forces a lot of turnovers. But we got back into the game and in the third period we did what we had set out to do. But we should have defended the lead better after that – we slackened our grip too early.”

Brose Bamberg now faces the second leg in the Round of 16 in the Champions League at Banvit Badirma in Turkey on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 (tip-off: 6 p.m.). Bamberg won the first leg last week by 81:79, so it will advance to the quarter-final with a win or draw or even a loss by just one point.