Bamberg Chasing History
Brose Baskets win 3rd consecutive Champions Cup
Telekom Dome, Bonn, March 25 – Marcus Slaughter scored 17 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and blocked 4 shots to lead the Brose Baskets to a 82-73 win over the Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Brose won their fourth Champions Cup in the Beko BBL and are the first team in German league history to win this mini-tournament three consecutive times. They will go for the double also for the third time this spring, as they are two-time league champions as well.
Bamberg jumped out to a 29-17 lead after the first quarter and held off Bonn who were buoyed by their home crowd. Talor Battle scored 19 point and Tony Gaffney added 17 points but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit at the beginning and Slaughter’s inside game, blocking and changing shots and finishing home the alley-oops with tremendous dunks.
Predrag Suput and Casey Jacobsen both were in double-figures for the winners, scoring 16 and 12 points respectively.
The final may have been entertaining, but not as dramatic as the semifinal an evening earlier, when Brose had to battle against Bavarian rivals ratiopharm ulm. The two teams traded baskets in the final minutes of the 4th quarter, both teams making would-be game-winners but finally finishing tied at 88 at the end of regulation.
Down 86-85, Anton Gavel drove to the hoop, passed the ball out to an open Casey Jacobsen who nailed a trey with :05 seconds left and gave the Baskets an 88-86 lead. Isaiah Swann followed with a leaning jumper at the buzzer to give both his Ulm teammates and the sold out crowd a reason to celebrate – extra basketball!
In the overtime period, it continued to go back-and-forth until Gavel hit a jumper with :51 seconds left to give Bamberg their biggest lead since the first half at 97-94 and Tibor Pleiss dunked home the final points with :17 seconds for the final points of the game. But until Dane Watts’ three-point attempt hit the back iron and bounced away, only then were the Baskets able to move on to the final 99-96.
Gavel led all scorers with 30 points, off-setting Ulm’s John Bryant who scored 25 points, six in OT including one that should not have counted, as his putback came after the ball clearly bounced off the shotclock was out-of-bounds. The refs missed it and his bucket counted, fortunately for Bamberg not in the final result.
Ulm did salvage the weekend, as they won the third-place game over the New Yorker Phantoms from Braunschweig 85-68. Roderick Trice scored 19 points to lead his team of four in double figures. Michael Umeh of the Phantoms led all scorers with 31 points but it wasn’t enough for the second straight night. Bonn earned their place in the final after beating Braunschweig 77-64 before the Bavarian Classic Duel.
The regular season continues this weekend and if the Baskets were worn out from the semifinal, they didn’t show it in the final. They will have to show their resolve and experience in the final six games of the regular season – four of them at home – to hold on to the top seed for the playoffs. They hold a two game lead over ratiopharm ulm, who begin the final stretch on the road against the FRAPORT SKYLINERS but also finish with four games at home.
Brose start and finish this final stretch against the Phoenix Hagen and BBC Bayreuth, two teams at the bottom of the BBL table, but play four consecutive games against playoff-caliber teams – Artland, Würzburg, Bayern and Berlin who have clinched a berth in the postseason.
The top seed and the playoff participants will be decided in the next games.