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Brose Bamberg strikes back after trailing by double digits for the third time in succession

Jena, 01-25-2019

Brose Bamberg chalked up its third straight win and its third victory under new Head Coach Federico Perego. However, the team will have to start asking itself after the 90:85 victory at Science City Jena why it is not able to perform at its best until the second half. Bamberg caught up against Bonn and Antwerp after trailing by 14 points – and Perego’s team went one better against bottom-of-the-table Jena: It trailed by 17 points at the break (40:57) and only then got into its stride.

Going into the game, Jena was in crisis after suffering nine successive defeats in the league and lined up with two new signings: Reggie Williams, who has made 206 appearances in the NBA, and Ronald Roberts. Yet the home side gave the impression that it had gelled well despite the new players: The two Americans put their stamp on the encounter from midway through the first period on, with the result that Jena almost played Bamberg’s defense dizzy. With the visitors leading 14:11, the former Bamberg player Julius Jenkins replied with his 6,000th point in his German league career to make it 14:18. That spurred on the two new signings: After the first period ended 20:23, Williams and Roberts turned on the heat, scored point after point against Bamberg’s defense and kindled hopes of a shock win among the home side’s fans during the break. Bamberg slipped 40:57 behind – its performance in defense was inadequate and lacked any hard defiance.

However, the new Head Coach Federico Perego flicked the right switches in the dressing room and his side came back out transformed. In the space of three-and-a-half minutes, Cliff Alexander (12 points) bagged six points and Tyrese Rice added five more to produce a quick 11:0 run and make it 51:57. Bamberg then managed to reduce the deficit a little more slowly up to the end of the period, and Patrick Heckmann drained a bucket from downtown right at the end of the third quarter (66:67). Captain Nikos Zisis put his side 68:67 in front with two free throws, but Jena struck back to score two buckets in succession (68:71). Patrick Heckmann (13 points) underscored his improving form under Perego with a lay-up followed by a three to make it 80:75 for Bamberg. Top scorer Tyrese Rice (26 points) sauntered through Jena’s defense three times in the space of 80 seconds to notch up six points with lay-ups and make it 80:86, after which Elias Harris added a bucket plus a bonus free throw to stretch the lead to 81:89 and seal Bamberg’s next victory. So the question remains as to why Bamberg is not able to produce such a strong performance as in the second half (which it won by 50:22!) over the whole 40 minutes.

Federico Perego commented: “It was our third comeback in a row. We were completely drained mentally in the first half. What then happened in the second half has less to do with basketball than the character of every single player. We showed our mettle. It’s always tough playing in Jena, so my players deserve even bigger congratulations for the comeback here and their great performance in the second 20 minutes.”