Rubit shines, Brose downs Zalgiris to snaps losing streak
Brose Bamberg snapped a five-game losing streak with a 93-86 victory over Zalgiris Kaunas in a ferociously intense battle at Brose Arena. It was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than 7 points at any stage, and the outcome was in the balance until Daniel Hackett hit a crucial long two-pointer inside the final minute. With head coach Andrea Trinchieri recovering from shoulder surgery, Brose was led by assistant coach Ilias Kantzouris and delivered a commendably determined performance to improve to 7-11, paced by 22 points and 7 rebounds from Augustine Rubit. Another big performance in the paint came from Dejan Musli with 14 points and 6 rebounds, and Hackett added 16 points. Aaron White excelled for Zalgiris, which dropped to 11-7, with 23 points and 8 rebounds, while all of Arturas Milaknis’s 18 points came from behind the arc. Vasilije Micic scored 12, Brandon Davies added 10 and Kevin Pangos had 9 points and 10 assists.
Baskets were traded evenly in the early stages, with Davies scoring twice for Zalgiris while Patrick Heckmann netted a triple and Musli scored plus a foul for the hosts. A long two from Axel Toupane and a running jumper from Pangos sent Zalgiris ahead. Rubit tied it again from close range and Musli scored twice in an 8-0 run to make it 18-12. But a triple from Micic sparked a response from Zalgiris, which moved ahead as White scored 4 consecutive points. Micic beat the shot clock as Beno Udrih laid up to complete a 1-12 run, but Leon Radosevic responded for Brose to make it 21-23 after 10 minutes. The see-saw pattern continued in the second quarter, which started with a triple from Hackett, but soon saw a three-point play from Micic. Milaknis made a trio of tough three-pointers to repeatedly edge Zalgiris ahead, while Rubit scored 5 for Brose and Musli tied it at 37-37 after grabbing an offensive board. But Pangos netted a jumper, Antanas Kavaliauskas scored from underneath the basket and White recorded a layup and one as Zalgiris finished the half with a 0-7 run to lead 37-44 at the break.
Dorell Wright opened the second half with a triple, but Milaknis answered with his fourth of the night and Davies scored to stretch the lead, before Nikos Zisis bounced in a lucky three off the rim and then hit a more conventional long-range strike. Musli scored off another offensive rebound to make it 49-51, but Milaknis made his fifth triple and White dunked to keep Zalgiris in front. Zisis made his third three-pointer of the quarter as Brose came back, and Rubit tied it from close range. Pangos joined the long-range shooting party to restore the visitors’ lead, but not for long as free throws and a Hackett jump-hook made it 62-59. Heckmann scored a reverse layup to cap an 8-0 run, but Micic answered with a mid-range jumper and it was 64-61 after three quarters. Davies opened the final period with a layup before White and Radosevic traded alley-oop dunks within seconds. Wright’s triple sent Brose 4 ahead, and Rubit made it 74-67 from the free throw line as Paulius Jankunas fouled out. Milaknis came back with yet another triple, but Maodo Lo answered with a downtown strike for Brose, and hot-hand Rubit spun to score for a 79-72 lead with four minutes left. White scored 4 straight to tighten it up, but Hackett scored free throws and a jumper to keep Brose ahead. Rubit bagged another big bucket before White dunked, and it was 85-82 with a minute to play. Hackett made a crucial long jumper and although Zalgiris kept fighting, Brose did enough from the foul line to win.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018