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Brose Bamberg reaches the final after defeating Bonn by 90:87

Bamberg, 01-20-2019

Brose Bamberg has advanced to the 2019 German cup final after a thrilling 90:87 victory over Telekom Baskets Bonn. The team of Head Coach Federico Perego has home court advantage in the tussle for the first title of the season when it faces Alba Berlin on February 17. Yet Bamberg had to go “through hell” for a half before clinching its place in the final.

What a crazy, fiercely contested, passionate semi-final in the German cup! Bamberg got off to a nervous start and, after taking a quick 4:0 lead, failed to score for minutes on end, whereas it felt that Bonn drained every one of its shots, as it went 4:12 and then 12:21 in front. The strong Elias Harris (10 points) and Tyrese Rice tied the scores at 22:22 at the start of the second period. Despite better defending by Bamberg, Bonn still drained very tough and wild shots and also benefited from a disputed unsporting foul by Patrick Heckmann to score 7 points in one attacking sequence, with the result that Bamberg trailed 22:32 just 44 seconds later. That gap grew to 31:45 only a little later, yet – unlike recently when it suffered such setbacks – the team of Head Coach Federico Perego, who was making his home debut, did not fall apart. A rock-hard block by Louis Olinde as Bonn attempted an easy lay-up, a quick pass upfield and a bucket from downtown by Bryce Taylor made it 34:45 and provided the emotional spark for a comeback. Tyrese Rice buried the next three before the break, while the tireless Cliff Alexander beavered away below the basket and was able to add four points after snapping up offensive rebounds. And Bryce Taylor cut the deficit to 46:50 on the buzzer. What was noteworthy: Even when Bamberg was trailing by its widest margin, the crowd still got right behind its team and fired it on vociferously – unlike in the encounter against Vechta, where jeers and whistles echoed around the arena. That spurred on the team even more: Perego’s players battled away, worked hard and fought for every ball.

And Bamberg clicked better in offense after the break, was always on the move, tried to create space, confused Bonn’s defense with fast passing, and then shot quickly. Its play after winning turnovers has also changed under Perego: The home side notched up 15 points on fast breaks; in particular center Cliff Alexander (21 points) was able to add one slam-dunk after the other. Along with Tyrese Rice (21 points), Alexander was mainly responsible for the fact that his side went 74:66 ahead shortly before the end of the period. The next seconds showed that Bamberg still has a lot of work to do in defense after the five months under former Head Coach Bagatskis: Bonn mercilessly exploited positional mistakes in the home side’s defense to produce a 0:5 run in the space of 30 seconds and slash the gap to 74:71. Things got even tighter and Bamberg slipped 77:78 behind with six minutes remaining. Tyrese Rice and Augustine Rubit struck back and put their side 87:82 in front, but Bonn was able to equalize with 27 seconds remaining. Salvation came in the shape of Tyrese Rice, who drained a shot from the left corner with seven seconds left on the clock (89:87). On Bonn’s subsequent attack, Patrick Heckmann snapped up the rebound after an attempted lay-up and was fouled in doing so – Bamberg was in the final!

Federico Perego commented: “Every game against Bonn is a big fight. That was the key to victory. We showed energy and played very physically. We didn’t get off to a good start again, but we came back. Everyone supported each other and the spectators gave us strength. They really fired us up today and were a great help.”