Alba Berlin edges rival Bamberg to sweep season series
Alba Berlin hung on for a 72-75 victory over German League foe Brose Baskets Bamberg Wednesday night at Stechert Arena to sweep the season series between the rivals. In a spirited game that featured four lead changes and three ties in the fourth quarter alone, DaShaun Wood came through with a key steal on Anton Gavel with less than 10 seconds to go to protect a 1-point lead. Heiko Schaffartzik tacked on 2 critical free throws to make it 72-75 and a Gavel miss and a Matt Walsh line violation sealed the Berlin victory. The victory lifted Berlin to 2-10 in Top 16 Group E, while keeping Bamberg winless in yet another narrow loss. Deon Thompson paced Alba with 15 points, Ali Traore added 14, JeKel Foster 11 and Zach Morley 10, while Nihad Djedovic dished 7 assists and Wood 6. Sharrod Ford led the hosts with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. Anton Gavel scored 14, Bostjan Nachbar 11 and Maik Zirbes and Casey Jacobsen had 10 each in defeat.
First quarter: Berlin bigs build small advantage
The game got off to a fast start as Zirbes fired the opening tip toward Ford who dunked just 5 seconds into the game. Foster got Berlin going with a triple on the visitors’ first possession. The hosts kept points inside from the duo of Zirbes and Ford to go ahead 8-5, but the Berlin bigs kept it close before Morley made it 8-9. The game remained a battle of bigs as Traore and Zirbes traded baskets to make it 10-11 midway through the first quarter. Thompson put the visitors up 4 with a three-pointer, however Gavel soon fired a perfect alley-oop pass to Zirbes for a slam that tied the score at 14-14. Traore scored twice to keep Belin ahead and Morley further extended the lead with a three-pointer. Matt Walsh got on the scoreboard with a triple from the top of the key that made it 19-21 through one quarter.
Second quarter: Bamberg rallies, Wood forces halftime tie
Gavel thrilled the crowd when he banked in a three to beat the shot clock and tie the score, however Foster soon had Berlin back on top with a three of his own. Traore reached 10 individual points in boosting the Albatrosses’ lead to 24-29. After Foster made it a 7-point game, Coach Chris Fleming called a Bamberg timeout. Walsh found Ford inside and Nachbar cut the deficit to 3, however Thompson scored twice and DaShaun Wood’s first points made it 30-37. Ford helped change the momentum with a huge block on Wood and Jacobsen and Walsh scored the next 4 points. After Zirbes made it a 1-point game, Morley and Ford traded triples. Karsten Tadda stepped in front of Morley to draw and offensive foul and allow Jacobsen to put Bamberg ahead with a three-pointer. Wood had the last word with a floater on the buzzer to even things at 42-42 at halftime.
Third quarter: Hosts surge ahead, visitors come right back
The big men remained in the forefront early in the second half, with Zirbes putting Bamberg back ahead from the line before Traore and Thompson got Berlin the lead. However Jacobsen responded with a three and Ford scored in the paint to make it 49-46. Gavel doubled the lead with a pull-up three. Thompson and Yassin Idbihi trimmed the deficit to 2 before Gavel struck again. Nihad Djedovic took a steal in for a layup as Berlin kept close. Tadda impressed with a fancy layup, however a Derrick Byars triple clawed Berlin back within 1 and Wood fed Thompson for a layup and foul in the final second of the quarter, 58-59.
Fourth quarter: Four lead changes, three ties set up closing drama
With Freak City rocking, Nachbar put Bamberg ahead only to see Wood match him. The pace slowed a bit thanks to a few fouls and some missed free throws. Ford rocked the rim with a two-handed jam off a pass from Walsh, but Idbihi put Berlin ahead once more. The drama built as Nachbar tied it at 66-66 from the line with a little more than five minutes to play. Morley and Gavel traded points. After Wood lifted the visitors again, Gavel put a step-through move on Idbihi to tie it once more, 70-70. Foster nailed a clutch three with just under two minutes remaining. Walsh teamed with Ford to make it a 1-point game entering the final minute. The hosts had the ball with less than 10 seconds left and a chance to win, but Wood slapped the ball away from Gavel. Schaffartzik went to the line and sank a pair of clutch free throws to make it 72-75 with 6 seconds remaining. Berlin sent Gavel to the line with 4 seconds remaining. But Gavel missed the first, intentionally missed the second and a line violation gave Berlin the ball and victory.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013