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Brose Bamberg secures playoff berth with a win over Braunschweig

Bamberg, 04-26-2019

Thanks to a gala performance by Augustine Rubit, especially in the final period, when the American notched up 18 out of his total haul of 29 points, Brose Bamberg managed to come back after trailing 70:77 with five minutes to go and win 93:88 at home against Basketball Lions Braunschweig. Its 20th win of the season in the easyCredit German Basketball League means the team of Head Coach Federico Perego has qualified for the playoffs and is likely to finish in fifth and so face fourth-placed RASTA Vechta, which gained promotion just this season, in the quarter-finals.

With four games remaining, Bamberg cannot afford another defeat and Vechta would have to win just one of its four for Bamberg to overtake it in the table. In order to secure fifth spot ahead of sixth-placed Ulm or seventh-placed Bonn, Bamberg needs one victory out of its last four games in the regular season against Munich, Oldenburg, Bayreuth and Würzburg. Since the league had suspended Head Coach Federico Perego for a game, his assistant Stefan Weissenböck celebrated his premiere as Head Coach on the sideline – and the Austrian saw his players get off to a strong start: Tyrese Rice, Daniel Schmidt and Louis Olinde with a thunderous slam-dunk put their side 6:0 in front, after which Elias Harris and Nikos Zisis stretched the gap to 18:10. However, the club from Lower Saxony added two buckets from downtown and a lay-up to equalize by the end of the period (20:20). Apart from Louis Olinde, who turned in a strong performance in defense in particular, Cliff Alexander turned on the heat in the second quarter, contributing seven of his 12 points to a 10:0 run that enabled Bamberg to surge 14 points in front at one stage (43:29). However, the lead dwindled to seven points by half-time (48:41).

After the break, Bamberg became disconcerted as Braunschweig quickly tied the scores at 48:48. After the visitors went 57:58 ahead, the lead changed hands four times, but then Tyrese Rice (11 points) managed to put his side 69:67 in front going into the final period with two threes in the space of 25 seconds. Not much clicked for Bamberg in the first five minutes: A free throw by Cliff Alexander to make it 70:67 was followed by an almost five-minute barren spell, as Braunschweig produced a run of 10 points without reply to pull 70:77 ahead. Yet the home side was able to switch gear, even without a timeout – mainly thanks to Augustine Rubit. With his athleticism, the only way Braunschweig was able to stop the American was by fouling him: Rubit added four lay-ups in two minutes, three of them with a bonus free throw, and added two more free throws to help his side chalk up a 13:2 run and move 83:79 in front. After the bucket from beyond the arc by Tyrese Rice to make it 86:79, Rubit added another three and two free throws to notch up his best performance of the season in two respects (18 points in a quarter and 29 in a game) and give Bamberg a 91:82 lead. The last two buckets from outside by Braunschweig only put a better complexion on the result.

Assistant Coach Stefan Weissenböck commented: “The result was right. We desperately needed a win after five defeats in six games, but it was a close thing in the end. Sengfelder caused us problems and we still have our deficiencies. We got off to a sluggish start to the second half, didn’t move the ball well and didn’t defend well. But I’m pleased we found a way as a team to win the game in a spell where everything could have tilted our opponents’ way.”