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Champions League: Brose Bamberg loses

Novgorod, 12-17-2019

It was almost a carbon copy of five of Brose Bamberg’s last six games: The team of Head Coach Roel Moors carved out a double-digit advantage after 37 minutes to lead its group rival Nizhny Novgorod by 75:65 with three minutes remaining – and yet still lost 75:76 thanks to the home side’s run of 11 points without reply in the last 180 seconds. As a result, Bamberg risks failing to qualify for the Champions League playoffs.

A win on the road at the Russian club would have been important for Brose Bamberg following its two defeats at the hands of Tenerife and the avoidable home loss against Nymburk, since Bamberg – in fifth in the group and so not in a playoff spot – could have closed the gap on third-placed Novgorod in terms of wins. Consequently, Bamberg was highly motivated in the first half as it set about catching up after falling behind when, after leading by 7:4 after three minutes, the home side produced a 0:10 run. Yet Moors’ players clawed their way back thanks to precise shooting from top scorer Bryce Taylor (who scored 12 of his 14 points in the second period) and a strong Paris Lee (9 points) to tie the encounter at 39:39 at the break.

After an evenly poised start to the second half (50:49), a lay-up and bonus free throw from Kameron Taylor (9 points) gave his side a fresh boost of energy. Taylor immediately blocked a shot from Novgorod, while Christian Sengfelder, Tre McLean and Retin Obasohan (11 points) stretched the lead to 63:51. Although Novgorod closed the gap to 58:63 at the start of the final period, Bamberg struck back with a composed response and restored its double-digit advantage thanks to Bryce Taylor (73:63 with four minutes to go). From then on, the home side reverted to a full-court press and tightened up its defense significantly. As in previous weeks, Bamberg did not come to terms with that tactic: It lost its structure in building plays and focused on solo actions; open shots were now few and far between. The only additions to its score were the two free throws by Paris Lee to make it 75:65 with three minutes left. Novgorod closed the deficit point by point and trailed by just 75:74 with 26 seconds left on the clock. But then Bryce Taylor played a disastrous pass to allow Novgorod to take the lead on a fast break. On Bamberg’s final attack, Kameron Taylor tried to bludgeon his way to the basket, but was blocked as he was shooting.

Brose Bamberg’s Head Coach Roel Moors commented: “Congratulations to Nizhny. It fought to win right to the very end. However, we’ve only ourselves to blame for this defeat. We largely controlled the second half in particular, but then gave them the feeling that they could still win. We couldn’t handle the pressure. In addition, we missed very simple lay-ups, even when we were unchallenged. That makes the difference at the end of the day.”

Fourth-placed Brose Bamberg now faces a home game against third-placed MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in the easyCredit German Basketball League on Friday, December 27, 2019. The tip-off is at 8:30 p.m.

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