Brose Baskets hands Unicaja its first loss
Brose Baskets Bamberg took over midway through the second quarter and never looked back en route to an impressive 73-53 victory over previously unbeaten Unicaja Malaga at Brose Arena on Friday evening. The German champs outscored Unicaja 46-20 in the middle two quarters to improve to 4-2 in Group D. Unicaja, which would have been the first team to clinch a Top 16 berth had it won, fell to 5-1, but remains atop the group standings. The hosts outrebounded Unicaja 36-26 and made 10 of 22 three-pointers (45.5%), while the visitors only sank 4 of 26 from downtown (15.4%). Janis Strelnieks paced the victors with 14 points and 6 assists, while Brad Wanamaker added 13 points and Darius Miller 11. Edwin Jackson, Alberto Diaz and German Gabriel were Unicaja’s top scorers with 9 points apiece.
First quarter: Jackson pushes Unicaja to early lead
Richard Hendrix got a lucky roll on a running shot in the lane for the first basket of the game. Defense was the name of the game early as the hosts were held scoreless for nearly four minutes. In that time, Jackson nailed his first triple. Wanamaker got the Bamberg going with a three from the top of the key, but Jackson responded with another triple. Elias Harris dunked home a missed Wanamaker layup. The hosts were soon without Miller, who committed a second foul and was then called for a technical for arguing. Jackson and Hendrix stretched the lead to 6 with free throws. Wanamaker drove for a layup and Strelnieks did the same to get Bamberg within 9-11. After Jackson and Wanamaker traded free throws, Jamar Smith spotted a cutting Fran Vazquez for a slam. A Strelnieks three from the corner drew Bamberg within 14-15. Vazquez rose high to reject Nicolo Melli and later came in behind after Alberto Diaz stole the ball from Wanamaker to deliver a slam that ended the quarter with the visitors up 14-17.
Second quarter: Radosevic, Strelnieks help Bamberg turn it around
Patrick Heckmann blew by his defender for a one-handed slam and Daniel Theis used his leaping ability to put Bamberg ahead 18-17. Dani Diez responded with a layup on the next play and soon a Jamar Smith triple had the visitors up 4. Strelnieks pulled up on the break for a triple to bring hit team within 1. New signing Leon Radosevic came in and sank a reverse layup to give Bamberg the lead. Nikos Zisis connected on a jumper with his feet on the three-point line. Zisis split free throws and Melli buried a jumper to cap a 10-0 run for a 28-22 advantage. Suarez split free throws and German Gabriel scored inside to bring Unicaja within 3. Melli placed a perfect pass to Radosevic for a layup. Then Strelnieks nailed a three from the elbow and Radosevic sank a baseline jumper to set a double-digit lead, 35-25. Melli’s jumper ended runs of 9-0 and 19-3. Hendrix tried to revive the visitors with free throws, but Wanamaker nailed a three for a 13-point advantage. A free throw each by Vazquez and Diaz made 40-29 at the break.
Third quarter: Bamberg’s defense shuts down the visitors
Miller buried a three from the corner to get back in the swing of things. Mindaugas Kuzminskas managed his first points of the game. Though the Unicaja defense was successful in limiting the hosts’ attack, the visitors had only scored once in the first three minutes of the half. Alberto Diaz was awarded a basket via goaltending, but Bamberg responded with a triple from Wanamaker. Smith hit a long jumper and Miller answered with a turn-around shot. Theis made it 50-35 with a pair of free throws. Will Thomas knocked down free throws for Unicaja, but Melli responded with a layup. Miller made it an 18-point lead with a three from the corner. The difference grew to 20 with Zisis free throws. After a timeout, Strelnieks’s penetration and free throw capped a 10-0 run to end the quarter at 60-37.
Fourth quarter: Difference peaks at 29 as hosts cruise
Hendrix scored down low, but Bamberg was cruising. Zisis hit a three and Theis added a baseline jumper. Diaz connected on a three from the top of the key, but Radosevic sank a long jumper. Radosevic showed off with a chasedown block of Smith, which turned into a Miller three. Theis added free throws to stretch the difference to 72-43. Gabriel and Diaz teamed for 8 straight Unicaja points in the closing minutes, but the game was long decided by that point as the Bamberg faithful celebrated an impressive victory.
Friday, November 20, 2015