Euroleague newcomer GHP Bamberg had another magic night with its second consecutive road win and the fourth straight overall, this time at Strasbourg by a narrow 68-71 scoreline. Derrick Phelps was again the hero in the end, hitting a three-pointer with 2 seconds remaining to seal the win. Bamberg improves to 6-4 and earned at least a share of second place in Group A. Strasbourg drops to 3-7 and needs to step on the gas to remain in the running for the Top 16. Tim Begley and Spencer Nelson led the way for the winners with 12 points each, while Phelps and Koko Archibong posted 11 points apiece and Chris Ensminger had 8 points and 10 rebounds. For Strasbourg, Ricardo Greer led the way with 15 points, Jeff Greer posted 14 and Stanley Jackson 13.
Archibong opened the scoring with a dunk, but Jeff Greer soon matched him and on the following play, Ricardo Greer launched Strasbourg to a 5-2 start with a three-point play. The guests struggled on offense inside as Ensminger had problems finding the basket, while on the other side Jeff Greer nailed a triple to make it 8-2. Nelson scored again after 3 minutes for Bamberg, but Strasbourg had found the pace it liked on offense, which meant fast baskets. However, Archibong used his athleticism to break the local defense when he dunked again to make it 10-8. Nelson tied the score at 12-12 when Bamberg beat the shot clock as both teams paid the price for the lightening pace. However, four points by Ricardo Greer sandwiched a K'Zell Wesson three to make it 18-12. Strasbourg. Ricardo Greer added another triple and Jackson stole the ball to build a double-digit lead (23-12), which became 26-16 by the end of the first quarter.
Tim Begley found the net from downtown for Bamberg and Phelps joined him, but Strasbourg maintained the lead at 30-21 on a Sacha Giffa basket. Phelps took responsibility on offense with another basket, but it seemed like all the baskets came easy for the hosts, as Jeff Greer hit a jumper for a 32-23 score. Ensminger committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Ondrej Starosta, which brought two more free throws for Strasbourg, but the team was unable to use the ensuing possession for points. The ball changed hands quickly with many turnovers on both sides until Phelps stepped up again with a triple, but Starosta scored again for the hosts to send the game to the halftiime with a 40-27 edge for Strasbourg.
Bamberg started the second half scoring the first three points and it took three minutes before Strasbourg got on the board as Starosta's free throw made it 41-30. Giffa and Demond Mallet traded triples and Jackson scored a three-point play to keep Strasbourg ahead with a 10-point lead (49-39). But Bamberg never surrendered and scored five straight points on Begley's three and an Archibong dunk. The temperature rose when Robert Garrett drilled a triple that trimmed the deficit even more, but Jeff Greer used the last seconds of the quarter to hit a late jumper for a 55-47 Strasbourg lead after 30 minutes.
A Nelson three capped a 6-0 run that made it 55-53 early in the fourth with plenty of time to go for Bamberg to complete the comeback. However Nelson committed an unsportsmanlike foul on the following play and the hosts got 4 points from the situation to create some breathing room. Begley drilled a triple, but Strasbourg maintained the momentum when Jackson blocked Mallet on a fast break in spectacular fashion. But Strasbourg blacked out on offense and Ensminger found his way to the basket to tie the game again after 34 minutes (59-59). He then scored to give Bamberg the first lead of the night. Three minutes went by before Ricardo Greer scored again for Strasbrourg from the line. Bamberg didn't use its opportunities to pull away and Ricardo Greer again scored for the hosts. Every basket was pure gold for each side now, and they were scarce. Garrett managed to hit a bucket for Bamberg and the ball returned to the visitors, who missed three attempts. Strasbourg didn't have it easy either, but at least Ricardo Greer found points from the free-throw line for a 64-63 lead. Nelson pulled a crucial offensive rebound to score for Bamberg, while John McCord missed his attempt on the other side. Begley added two more free throws for the visitors, but Ricardo Greer could only answer with one for a 65-67 with 24 seconds to go. Nelson hit one from the line too for a 65-68 advantage, but Jeff Greer stepped up with a triple that tied the game at 68-68. With 6 seconds to go, Bamberg looked for the shot and with 2 seconds to go, Phelps blasted a three that saved Bamberg and put the team well on its way for a historic Top 16 spot.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006