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Brose Bamberg wins hard-fought victory over Vechta

Bamberg, 05-22-2019

Just one second separated Brose Bamberg from disaster in the quarter-final and squaring the series: Tyrese Rice saved the cup winners in the second game against Vechta with a strong floater to tie the scores at 89:89 and take the encounter into overtime – and only then was the team of Head Coach Federico Perego able to capitalize on the flagging strength of its decimated opponents from Lower Saxony to snatch a 102:98 home win and level the series at 1:1.

From the outset, Bamberg was far more alert and played with greater intensity than in the away game it lost three days before. Perego’s team defended tightly below the basket against Vechta, who was weakened in its tall positions and merely managed to score one out of seven lay-ups in the first period. Nevertheless, Bamberg trailed by 11:15 at the end of the first quarter and even by 13:23 after 13 minutes as a result of bad luck with its shots: Its first 12 shots from downtown simply refused to drop, danced on the hoop and rebounded out. And Vechta capitalized mercilessly on the turnovers Bamberg conceded at the start of the second quarter to drain four threes and surge 10 points ahead. Perego called a timeout, after which his side was as if completely transformed. Augustine Rubit made the home side’s first bucket from beyond the arc and a veritable deluge of threes ensued: three from Tyrese Rice and one apiece by “Mo” Stuckey and Bryce Taylor to help Bamberg go in at half-time 35:31 in front.

Whereas the first half was characterized by tight defending and many missed shots, both teams turned on the heat in offense after the break. First of all, Bamberg built its largest lead (61:54) thanks to 12 points by Augustine Rubit, but Vechta’s TJ Bray and Josh Young struck back to make it 65:62. Seventy-one points were scored in the third period (30:31), making it one of the five highest-scoring in the entire German league season. Bamberg did not get off to a good start to the final quarter and Vechta, who again adopted a rotation of just seven players, led by eight points (75:83) with three minutes remaining. Once again it was a timeout by Perego and a bucket from outside by Augustine Rubit immediately after that turned the game in favor of Bamberg. Free throws and a lay-up by Elias Harris and further points from Rubit snatched the lead back (84:83). The last 44 seconds could not be beaten for drama: TJ Bray drained a three to make it 84:86 for Vechta, but Bryce Taylor (11 points) hit back in kind to put Bamberg 87:86 ahead. Bray then buried another three – 87:89 for Vechta with six seconds to go. Tyrese Rice feinted a shot from outside, went past Austin Hollins and drained a floater above two Vechta players to tie the encounter at 89:89 with one second left on the clock. Bamberg then had more strength and concentration in overtime than the club from Lower Saxony and forced the visitors to make a number of missed shots thanks to strong defending, while at the other end top scorer Augustine Rubit (31 points, a season best for him) and Tyrese Rice (26) leveled the series at 1:1.

Federico Perego commented: “It was the tough game we expected. We missed a lot of open shots in the first half, but we still kept in contention. We were able to equalize even after trailing by ten points thanks to our ability to stage comebacks that we’ve shown throughout the season. That restored our confidence and we again started scoring more below the basket. The series is now all-square and we’ll give everything we have again in Vechta.”