Brose Baskets edged Unicaja 70-72
In another show of pride, Brose Baskets Bamberg defeated Unicaja 70-72 on the road in Malaga, Spain to give itself a fond farewell from the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. Bamberg, which had already been eliminated from Top 16 contention, finished with a 4-6 record for fifth place in Group B thanks to its first road win. Brose came back from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to win in the final minute on a go-ahead basket by John Goldsberry and free throws by Anton Gavel, who led the winners with 13 points. Predrag Suput and Brian Roberts added 12 points apiece for Bamberg. Roberts added 7 assists to go with a key triple in crunch time. Unicaja, which had already qualified for the Top 16, finished in third place at 5-5, breaking a head-to-head tie with Lottomatica Roma thanks to a wider margin in the respective home wins they split. Unicaja could not have finished higher than third anyway, since Real Madrid had won its game against Spirou Charleroi and owned the tie-break advantage between them. Robert Archibald led Unicaja with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Joel Freeland came back from injury to score 10 while Berni Rodriguez tallied 9 points and 5 assists.
Bamberg hit first, with Tibor Pleiss and Gavel scoring layups before Uros Tripkovic hit from beyond the arc to get Unicaja on the scoreboard. Soon, Freeland showed he was back by scoring on a layup and a three-point play to tie 8-8. Bamberg tried to spread Unicaja's defense from the perimeter and Gavel swished a triple, but the Spanish hosts stood strong and forced 6 turnovers leading to an 11-0 run in which Archibald scored 6 points. A triple by Rodriguez and a hook by Archibald kept Unicaja rolling. Reyshawn Terry hit from beyond the arc for the guests before Augusto Lima's layup gave Unicaja a double-digit lead, 26-16, after 10 minutes.
Rodriguez converted a beautiful drive at 29-16 early in the second quarter, only to see Goldsberry answer from beyond the arc and Pleiss score on a pretty turnaround hook shot. As Bamberg tightened its defense on the perimeter, Unicaja stalled and the visitors attacked, with a dunk by Pleiss capping a 0-7 run at 23-29. Rodriguez picked up the hosts then, passing to a cutting Guillem Rubio for one basket before Saul Blanco's sweet fallaway jumper re-established a double-digit lead, 33-23, for Unicaja. Bamberg did not despair and moved the ball aggressively on offense, setting screens, passing crisply and getting good looks. The visitors were perhaps too aggressive, however, as 12 first-half turnovers compared to 4 by Unicaja opponents hurt Bamberg. So did 37% free throw shooting, which off-set solid 10-for-12 accuracy on two-pointers. Eventually, a great drive and spinning layup by Terry narrowed the difference to 36-32. That got Unicaja's attention, and before the half could finish Rafa Freire found Rubio for another layup that fixed a 40-32 score at the half.
Unicaja extended its defensive dominance to the start of the third quarter, as Freeland sealed the rim with an impressive block of a Casey Jacobsen layup attempt and Roderick Blakney capitalized at the other end with a jumper. The hosts kept building their lead, as Tripkovic shook loose for a deep three-pointer to make it 45-34. Bamberg opted to set up the low-post game with Predrag Suput, who scored twice inside, although Freire answered with a runner and three-pointer at 49-41. After the visitors cut to the difference to 6 points on free throws by Robers, Rodriguez and Blakney converted consecutive layups to again keep Unicaja comfortably ahead, 53-43, after 30 minutes.
Bamberg stormed back at the beginning of the final quarter with 5 points by Maurice Stuckey in a 0-7 run that put Unicaja on its heels. Pressed for a basket, Unicaja executed flawlessly, moving the ball to Blanco in the corner for a triple to stretch the margin to 56-50. Archibald answered a layup by Kyle Hines with a midrange jumper, but Karsten Tadda copied him to keep Bamberg close, 59-54. Bamberg finally got the lead when Roberts downed a triple at 58-59. Again, Unicaja answered the bell: McIntyre tied it from beyond the arc, and after Suput scored, Blanco again converted from beyond the arc for what became a four-point play and a 65-63 score with 3 minutes left. Bamberg would not be denied, however, as Pleiss tied it with a layup. After Archibald split a pair of free throws, Roberts drained a deep three-pointer from the top for what had all the feelings of a dagger shot. Freeland tied it again for Unicaja with a layup, but Goldsberry countered with a running jumper that put the visitors ahead, 68-70, with 33 seconds to play. With time on the clock to make a decision, Unicaja decided to go for broke with a Tripkovic triple attempt, but the guard was not able to convert. Gavel did not miss on his ensuing trip to the free throw line, making it 68-72. Rodriguez scored a layup, but there was no time left now for Unicaja, although its season continues, while Bamberg exited the Euroleague with its pride fully in place.
Thursday, December 23, 2010