Germany: ALBA clinches first place in Group B
ALBA Berlin claimed a thrilling 97-89 victory over MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg to lock up first place in Group B of the German League Final Tournament. Luke Sikma narrowly missed a triple-double and finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists, while Marcus Eriksson hit 5 three-pointers for 15 points for ALBA, which won all four of its games in the group phase. Rokas Giedraitis, Peyton Siva and Landry Nnoko all scored 11 points and Johannes Thiemann added 10 points for ALBA, which will take on BG Goettingen in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Ludwigsburg finished in second place in the group with a 3-1 record despite Thomas Wimbush pouring in 30 points and Nick Weiler-Babb picking up 21 points and 11 rebounds.
The other game on the final day of the group phase saw Brose Bamberg beat Rasta Vechta 100-82. The quarterfinals, which start on Wednesday, are now set with Berlin battling Goettingen, Fraport Skyliners vs. ratiopharm Ulm; FC Bayern Munich against Ludwigsburg and Bamberg facing EWE Baskets Oldenburg.
Wimbush collected 8 points as Ludwigsburg opened a 9-16 lead. ALBA rushed back thanks to its outside shooting, with Eriksson hitting 3 three-pointers and dishing to Thiemann for a triple and a 24-21 lead after 10 minutes. ALBA failed to score in the first 2 minutes of the second quarter until Siva sank a three. Giedraitis, Niels Giffey and Jonas Mattisseck all hit from long range to move ahead of Ludwigsburg 43-38. Wimbush answered with 7 straight points to put Ludwigsburg back ahead, but ALBA led 46-45 at the break. The back-and-forth continued in the third quarter with Weiler-Babb scoring 10 points - including consecutive triples – for a 54-59 Ludwigsburg lead. ALBA responded with a 17-4 charge including three-point plays by Thiemann and Giedraitis for a 71-63 cushion, which was 71-67 after 30 minutes. Siva’s three early in the fourth quarter pushed the advantage to 76-69. Wimbush carried Ludwigsburg back with 8 points for an 80-81 lead - only to see Sikma answer with a pair of threes. Eriksson also connected from downtown as ALBA went up 90-81 with 2 minutes to play. Wimbush made three free throws with 66 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 92-86, but Sikma iced the game with 2 foul shots with 56 seconds remaining.