Bamberg still undefeated in Basketball Champions League

Brose Bamberg edged out Pinar Karsiyaka on Tuesday to pick up their third win in as many games in Group F. At the same time, RETAbet Bilbao held off Fortitudo Bologna on the road to celebrate their first-ever win in the Basketball Champions League.

Meanwhile, in Group E, Strasbourg and VEF Riga are now tied at the top of the standings after defeating Peristeri and Rytas. Here’s a closer look at what happened in the four Week 6 games on Tuesday:

Group F

Brose Bamberg certified Tuesday as the best start in their BCL history by holding off Pinar Karsiyaka in a tight clash to clinch a third win in as many games this season, 83-82 at home.

There was so little to separate the two teams that the hosts led for most of the night but never by more than seven points, and they only enjoyed that cushion early in the opening quarter.

Youngster Bennet Hundt showed ice running through his veins by sinking two free-throws 43 seconds from the final buzzer to give Bamberg an 83-80 lead, but the superb on the night Raymar Morgan also replied from the line to make it a one-point game.

Bamberg misfired on their last possession, and Karsiyaka called a timeout with 13 seconds remaining. After the action resumed, first David Kravish and then Michele Vitali came up with big defensive plays to prevent the Turkish side from finding an open look.

Kravish, Vitali, and Chase Fieler finished with 14 points apiece for the winners. At the same time, for Karsiyaka, Morgan had a game-high 25 points. D.J. Kennedy of Karsiyaka had 10, becoming the first player in competition history to score in double digits in 18 consecutive games.

The German team is the sole leader of Group F on their perfect 3-0 record, while Karsiyaka dropped to 1-1.

Bamberg wins against Karsiyaka in Basketball Champions League

In the other Group F game, RETAbet Bilbao picked up their first-ever victory in the BCL at Fortitudo Bologna’s expense, 69-64.

The Basque side was playing without the injured Ondrej Balvin and Quentin Serron. At the same time, Fortitudo, who was coached by former assistant Stefano Comuzzo following Meo Sacchetti’s dismissal on Sunday, had to make do without Adrian Banks.

The absences probably contributed towards a low-scoring affair as both teams struggled with their shooting, especially from long range, with Bilbao shooting 21 percent from beyond the arc and Fortitudo an even worse 18 percent.

However, Bilbao did well to outrebound their hosts 45 to 38, and the Spanish team’s second unit contributed a valuable 30 points, while the Bologna bench only scored 17 points.

With Fortitudo leading 60-58 just before the one-minute mark in the final stanza, Pietro Aradori missed a jumper that would have made it a four-point game, and Jaylon Brown made arguably the biggest shot of the night on the other end, drilling a triple to put Bilbao ahead 61-60.

After the Italian side wasted another offensive possession, Brown drew a foul and converted both his free-throws to give the visitors a three-point cushion with just 25 seconds left on the clock.

Ludde Hakanson sealed the deal for Bilbao as he made the most of his trips to the stripe in the final 10 seconds and sunk all four of his free-throws.

Brown and Felipe Dos Anjos finished with 11 points each, with the latter also grabbing 10 rebounds for a double-double.

Meanwhile, Ethan Happ had 19 points, 10 boards, and 6 blocks for Fortitudo, who are still looking for their maiden victory in the competition.

Group E

VEF Riga squandered a 17-point lead, trailed by 11, but still managed to celebrate an 85-81 win over a shorthanded Rytas in a wildly unpredictable Baltic derby in Vilnius.

The Latvian side, who had not won even a single game on the road in the 2019-2020 campaign, have now two wins in as many road games this season and have climbed to 2-1 and joint top spot in the Group E standings.

Rytas, who were playing without Arnas Butkevicius, Rokas Gustys, Andrew Goudelock, and Ryan Boatright on Tuesday, has now dropped to 1-2 on the table.

VEF came out guns blazing and scored 12 quick fast-break points to grab a 19-2 lead, but Rytas responded with an excellent half-court press and went on a 21-5 run in the first four minutes of the second frame to balance proceedings.

Rytas appeared to be imposing their will after the interval when a Gytis Radzevicius jumper 3:17 from the third buzzer capped off a 15-8 run and gave the hosts their biggest lead of the night, 61-50.

Kyle Allman, however, stopped the rot from the free-throw line. VEF reduced the gap to just three points at the end of the period and started off the final stanza on a 15-6 run, which Michale Kyser capped with a dunk to put the Latvians ahead 75-69.

As both teams wasted possessions down the stretch, VEF was able to hold on to that lead without too much drama, and Kristers Zoriks effectively sealed their win with a layup 23 seconds from time.

Kyser finished with a near double-double of 18 points and 9 rebounds on an almost flawless 8 of 11 from the field, and Allman was not far behind, collecting 17 points and 9 assists. Martynas Echodas had a game-high 20 points and added 6 rebounds in a losing effort.

In the other Group E game, Strasbourg held Peristeri to just 23 second-half points and pulled away from the Greek team after the break for a comfy 77-57 victory at home that lifts them to joint-first place in Group E.

The French team won the battle handily on the glass, outrebounding their hosts 40 to 21, including an abysmal 17 to 2 difference in offensive boards.

Peristeri led for large chunks of the first half, albeit never by more than six points, as Strasbourg struggled with their long-range shooting.

Jaromir Bohacik, however, was one Strasbourg player who could reliably connect from downtown, as he shot 5 of 6 from beyond the arc and inspired a 15-4 run by the hosts to start the third quarter.

A triple by the Czech international capped off that burst for Strasbourg to take a double-digit lead, 51-38 with 4:06 remaining in the third frame.

The gap never fell below 10 points again, and Strasbourg led by as many as 23 points in the final stanza as Peristeri’s offense short-circuited.

Bohacik paced Strasbourg with 21 points, and 5 rebounds, and DeAndre Lansdowne chipped in with 12 points off the bench, while Terran Petteway had a team-high 16 points for Peristeri.

Strasbourg has improved to 2-1 on the table and shares the top spot with Rytas, while Peristeri has now lost two in a row and dropped to 1-2.

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