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Brose Bamberg loses to title candidate Jerusalem

Jerusalem, 01-30-2019

A 26-point deficit was simply too much in the end! The “comeback kings” Brose Bamberg were not quite able to turn the game at Hapoel Jerusalem around after trailing 44:70 in the third period, but did manage to reduce the gap to 80:88 at one stage, only to eventually lose 89:103 against one of the favorites for the Champions League title.

More could have been possible for Brose Bamberg against the team of the legendary NBA star Ama’re Stoudemire. The visitors got off to a strong start, also because the Israeli club missed a number of open shots. Center Louis Olinde produced an impressive display: They youngster notched up seven of his ten points in the first period – playing against the veteran Stoudemire, one of the strongest opponents in that position in the Champions League! Yet Bamberg was not able to hold onto its 17:13 lead, as the home side got into its stride more and more in offense to leave Bamberg trailing narrowly by 30:35 midway through the second quarter. Shortly before half-time, however, the players of Head Coach Federico Perego were completely caught napping in defense, allowed Jerusalem’s long-range shooters to bag five successive buckets from beyond the arc and so, instead of trailing narrowly at the break, slipped far behind (33:52).

Bamberg also did not initially recover from that after the break, as the home side stretched the gap to 40:66. Perego had to stir his team into action by appealing to their sense of honor in a timeout. And his players stepped up to the plate – at least the ones who have been playing for Bamberg for a lengthy time this season: Elias Harris battled away against Stoudemire to score 15 points, Patrick Heckmann fought tirelessly (winning three steals!) and chalked up a great 3-point field goal percentage (three out of five) and likewise made 15 points, while top scorer Augustine Rubit (16 points, 5 rebounds) played a major part in the comeback. When Ricky Hickman cut the deficit to 80:88 after a steal by Louis Olinde with four minutes to go, the encounter could have tilted the visitors’ way. Yet Bamberg relapsed into its old ways on the next three attacks: A futile solo action by Tyrese Rice, whose shot missed the mark, after which Olinde and Rice conceded two turnovers while building plays. The clinical home side exploited that to move 95:83 ahead and then played out the game in commanding fashion.

Federico Perego commented: “Congratulations to Jerusalem. They played very well and won deservedly. We wanted to operate with good defending in order to stop them. We didn’t manage to do that. They missed a lot of open shots in the first period and that watered down the result a little. However, three minutes in the second period were enough to make us fall back into old habits. We raised that issue again in the half-time break, but this time we were simply too far behind and, although we struck back, we simply weren’t able to overtake them.”