Lauretana Biella finished its Eurocup season with an 80-72 Pyrrhic victory over Brose Baskets Bamberg, which despite the loss, advanced to the Last 16. Biella needed to win by at least 18 or have CEZ Baskets Nymburk lose its Group H finale in order to reach the next stage. And even though Biella, which was without guard Joe Smith, led by 15 in the third quarter, it was unable to reach the needed margin and Nymburk won its game with ease. Accordingly, Nymburk, Bamberg and Biella all finished with 4-2 records and placed in that order due to tiebreakers. Now Bamberg advances to Last 16 Group K, where it will face Bizkaia Bilbao Basket, Panellinios and Benetton Basket. Biella was led by Pietro Aradori with 19 points. Fred Jones scored 15 in his first Eurocup appearance, but made just 2 of 12 three-pointers. Carl Ona Embo also scored 15 and Matteo Soragna added 12. Predrag Suput paced Bamberg with 21 points and Brian Roberts netted 16.
Suput broke the ice for Bamberg before Ona Embo, making his first start for Biella, got the hosts on the scoreboard. Anton Gavel put Bamberg ahead with a triple. The teams traded hoops for several minutes before the visitors caught their stride. Suput scored a basket and from the line and Karsten Tadda added 2 free throws as the guests went ahead 6-15. Luca Garri and Aradori responded the get Biella back. Fred Jones and Massimo Chessa connected on back-to-back three-pointers as the hosts took their first lead. John Goldsberry sank a pair of free throws to knot the game at 17-17 after 10 minutes. Despite a Chessa layup, Roberts sank a three and Elton Brown scored from the line as Brose Baskets regained control. A Soragna triple tied the game again. Aradori scored 3 free throws and then knocked one down from behind the arc before a Soragna three put the hosts up 32-26. Suput calmed his team with a three-pointer, but baskets by Jones and Aradori preceded a Jones triple that helped Biella to a promising 42-32 halftime lead.
Biella krept towards the magic 18-point mark early in the third quarter when Soragna and Ona Embo hit back-to-back threes to make it 48-34. Brown scored inside to settle the crowd, but Ona Embo had the lead at 15 midway through the fourth quarter. Brown and Roberts rescued Bamberg and when Beckham Wyrick joined in with a triple and a slam, the visitors pieced together 12 straight points to get within 53-50. Kieron Achara and Soragana ended the Biella drought from the line, but a Tadda triple made it 56-53 heading into the fourth quarter. The hosts needed one more run, but had trouble getting it started. Jones made a jumper and netted 3 free throws to increase the lead to 63-55, but a Suput Layup denied their momentum. More free throws by Goldsberry and Suput narrowed the deficit to 4. In the closing minutes, Bamberg made a push to win the game and got within 2 points on three occasions, but Ona Embo and Garri kept the hosts on top. Time was running out on Biella’s season, but still Aradori and Jones made sure of a victory, even if it was bittersweet.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010