Lottomatica Roma remained strong in the battle for a spot in the Top 16 with a 59-73 road win at Brose Bamberg Bamberg on Wednesday night in Germany. The win was Roma’s first away from home this season and saw the team improve to 4-7 in the Group C standings. Depending upon how Partizan Igokea does on Thursday against Real Madrid, Roma could climb into fifth place in the group. Roma hosts Partizan in a big showdown next week. Meanwhile Bamberg dropped its fifth straight. The hosts put up a fight, keeping the score close for much of the first half, which ended 26-32. Allan Ray and David Hawkins helped Roma take a double-digit lead, but Ademola Okulaja and Predrag Suput sounded a charge in the fourth quarter. However it would not be enough to threaten Roma, which calmly closed out the win. Erazem Lorbek led the winners with 16 points, Hawkins and Ray added 15 points apiece, Roko-Leni Ukic scored 12 and Gregor Fucka 11. Robert Garrett paced Bamberg with 14 points and Okulaja posted 13 points and 8 rebounds.
Darren Fenn opened the scoring for Bamberg with two free throws, but the German champs couldn't handle the ball, turning the ball over five times as Roma finally began hitting from the outside. Ray knocked down back-to-back triples for a 2-7 Roma lead. Chris Ensminger stopped the bleeding with an inside hook and Bamberg's new acquisition Mithat Demirel beat the shot clock with a jumper, which was followed by a long ball from Fenn to even things at 9-9. But Roberto Gambini was open after some confusion in the Bamberg defense for a triple of his own and a 9-12 lead. Two Lorbek foul shots increased the lead and Ukic's jumper put Roma ahead 11-16 after one period.
Hawkins and Ukic both hit jumpers in the lane as Roma pulled ahead 12-20 early in the second. Fucka beat Bamberg's young big man Tim Ohlbrecht in the post for a 14-22 lead, which Garrett answered with a triple and then 2 foul shots to cut the deficit to 19-22. Hawkins hit from downtown, but Garrett's driving layup made it 21-25. Roma failed to convert on four straight possessions and Demirel pulled Bamberg within 22-25 with a free throw, only to be matched by Lorbek at the other end. Lorbek then nailed a three-pointer and the lead was 7. Fenn made 2 free throws and Okulaja hit a jumper to close to within 26-29. But free throws by Hawkins and Ukic made it 26-32 at the break.
Okulaja opened the second half with a tip-in but Hawkins nailed a three-pointer. Okulaja and Demond Greene hit from downtown and brought Bamberg to within 36-39. But Ray answered with a long ball of his own and then Hawkins scored a lay-up and Roma was back ahead 36-44. Bamberg played tough defense but Ray proved better with a long jumper to push the lead to 10 points and Hawkins's free throws made it 36-48. Lorbek's jumper pushed the advantage to 36-50 but Mark Dickel nailed a three-pointer just before the buzzer to trim the deficit to 39-50 going into the fourth.
Ukic opened the fourth with a triple, which Okulaja answered with a three of his own. But Ray made 2 foul shots and Ukic scored a breakaway layup to push the lead to 42-57. Suput scored 5 points and then Garrett knocked down a triple and the lead was back down to 50-61. But Fucka scored back-to-back baskets sandwiched around Okulaja's three-point play and Roma led 53-65. Bamberg had a final chance to get back into the game as Fucka was charged with an unsportsmanlike foul with 2:30 left. But Ohlbrecht made just one foul shot and Okulaja missed a jumper and Roma still led 54-65. And Ray's tough basket inside made it 55-68. Fucka and Hawkins combined for 3 free throws and Fucka scored inside for the final score, 59-73.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008