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Defending champions Brose Bamberg reaches quarter-finals

Gießen, 09-29-2019

Title-holders Brose Bamberg defeated JobStairs Gießen 46ers by 72:66 in the Round of 16 in the cup after a tough fight to advance to the last eight. The visitors from Upper Franconia failed to capitalize a number of times on the chance to open up a decisive gap and so the encounter was on a knife’s edge for a long time, before Bamberg’s strong defense prevented the home side from scoring for three minutes at the death.

The newly formed Brose Bamberg lined up for its second competitive game – and chalked up its second win. It was not as commanding as five days ago in Bayreuth, but the team of Head Coach Roel Moors showed abilities it completely lacked last season in the encounter at JobStairs Gießen 46ers: Commitment and the desire to chase for every ball, fight and tenacity in rebounding, and the speed and athleticism with which the players drove the ball forward. In particular new signings Christian Sengfelder and Assem Marei are really strong rebounders. They both snapped up 10, four of them in offense – and 15 of Bamberg’s final haul of 72 points came off those second chances to score. And whereas Sengfelder was disgruntled with his own shooting (just two points from seven attempts), Marei was a model of reliability, adding eight of Bamberg’s first ten points and also the crucial bucket to make it 70:66 with 30 seconds remaining. The Egyptian notched up 17 points and also accomplished the special task assigned to him of keeping John Bryant, Gießen’s top scorer of past years, away from the basket. Yet despite all that praise for Bamberg’s top-class fighting spirit, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Moors’ team got off to a strong start in three periods, producing great runs: At the start to take a 16:9 lead, a 7:0 run at the beginning of the second period to make it 28:23, and then a 9:0 run to stretch the gap to 45:37 after the break. Yet Bamberger allowed the home side from Hesse to claw its way back each time and tie the encounter at 19:19 after the first period, even go in at the break with a 36:37 lead, and trail just 55:53 after the third quarter and 68:66 with three minutes left after being 68:61 behind. Bamberg needs to address that problem, maintain its focus (especially in defense) and force the opposing side to make mistakes and miss shots. And it showed it can do just that in the final 170 seconds: Kameron Taylor and Tre McLean stole possession from Gießen’s point guard Stephen Brown on two of the last five attacks, while on the other three Bamberg closed down the space in the paint so tightly that the home side had to take crazy shots from outside with the clock running down and so failed to score. As a result, Assem Marei scored with a hook shot (70:66 with 37 seconds to go) and Paris Lee (9 points) made it 72:66 to seal victory after a steal and pass by Tre McLean, who finished up with a strong haul of 16.

Brose Bamberg’s Head Coach Roel Moors commented: “It was a very difficult game against a team with many weapons in its offensive arsenal. I think we did a good job in rebounding and in defense. However, we didn’t manage to control the pace of the game. We had a number of opportunities to pull away with a run, but we kept on letting Gießen come back quickly. 20 assists in a total score of 72 points is a particularly strong statistic and says a lot about our team play – and that’s precisely what we intend to build on.”

Bamberg now faces what is probably one of its toughest tests in the easyCredit German Basketball League when it welcomes last season’s runners-up and Euroleague participants Alba Berlin to the BROSE Arena on Sunday, October 6, 2019.

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