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Brose Bamberg wins without Rice against Nymburk

Bamberg, 02-06-2019

Brose Bamberg defeated CEZ Nymburk by 78:71 to bring the group stage of the Champions League to a close. The encounter was not a sparking affair, but then nothing was at stake for Bamberg two days before its tough away game at Mitteldeutscher BC. Going into the game, Bamberg was already assured of finishing third in the group and so of qualifying for the Round of 16.

Head Coach Federico Perego left out Bamberg’s top scorer in the Champions League, Tyrese Rice, so that the playmaker could be rested. Cliff Alexander was back in the team after his suspension, as was Stevan Jelovac, although as in recent games he was again not given any time on court. Instead, Perego pinned his hopes on youngster Arnaldas Kulboka, who was also given the chance to line up in the starting five. However, the Lithuanian player missed all of his four pretty open shots from beyond the arc in the first period – one of the reasons why his side trailed 12:19 after the first five minutes. However, the home side improved after that and in the second ten minutes, especially in defense, and reduced the deficit to 19:23 by the end of the first quarter thanks to Patrick Heckmann (8 points). In the second period, the 26-year-old drained an important three to put his side 33:29 in front, after which Kulboka also buried his first bucket from downtown (41:34) and then added a lay-up plus a bonus free throw to make the score 46:36 at the break.

In the second half, Bamberg tried to play out and hold on to its lead instead of stretching it. Federico Perego spread his players’ time on court to conserve their energy, but Bamberg’s play in offense was not beautiful to behold. However, it remained focused in defense and so was 59:51 ahead going into the final period. The encounter was then a pretty placid affair and low in highlights, despite the good 11 points by Nikos Zisis and eight from Louis Olinde and Elias Harris. When Bamberg failed to score for two minutes, Nymburk closed the deficit to 63:59. However, Zisis with a lay-up, Hickman with his second three and top scorer Augustine Rubit (13 points) sealed victory for Bamberg.

Federico Perego commented: “We were able to try out a lot in this game and so that meant there were sometimes five players on court who had never operated together. All in all I’m satisfied, even though there were spells where we lost possession too often and allowed too many offensive rebounds. We’re now looking ahead. We’ve a lot of work to do, but we’re on a good trajectory.”