Bologna booked their place in the Champions League final with a dominating 67-50 victory. The Italian took an 11-point lead after the first quarter and never looked back as Kevin Punter led the way for Coach Sasha Djordjevic’s Team with 21 points. Amath M’Baye dropped 9 points while Dejan Kravic had 8 points in the win. Tyrese Rice matched Punter with 21 points on the evening, however, Frederico Perego’s side will be playing in the third place game on Sunday afternoon.
Both teams showed jitters early on as Bologna jumped out to a sloppy 12-7 lead on the strength of Kevin Punter midway through the first quarter. Rice tried to keep Bamberg close but the Italian squad’s big man Kravic dominated the paint to take a 22-11 advantage after ten minutes of action.
Bologna continued to extend their lead as captain Pietro Aradori scored at will to go up 29-15 with 5 minutes remaining in the second frame. Rice gave Bamberg some life with a pair of triples but Sasha Djordjevic’s team didn’t fret as Punter knocked down a long distance trey to head into halftime with a 42-28 lead.
Both teams struggled to score during the first 5 minutes of the second half but Bologna still stayed in ahead 48-32 while Rice tried his best to cut the advantage to 53-39 after thirty minutes of play. Punter continued his scoring spree as Bologna led by twenty points, 64-44 with 5 minutes remaining in the contest as they went on to wrap up a dominating 67-50 victory over Bamberg.
1) Kevin Punter is a man in a mission and he showed why he was a huge player this season for Bologna and last year when he helped AEK Athens to the Champions League title. Punter scored at will and made sure that the basketball world didn’t forget him as Tyrese Rice commanded much attention over the last few days due to his search for a third different European championship and a third MVP award. The New York native averaged 15.1 points this season and deserves a huge amount of credit for taking his team into the finals. Punter’s sweet stroke is a thing of beauty as he drilled home 4 triples while leading his team with 21 points.
2) The first half was an absolute disaster for Bamberg as they couldn’t move the ball whatsoever. Tyrese Rice had to freelance for twenty minutes scoring 13 points but the rest of the team was MIA. The German squad were able to dish out only two assists, yes 2 as Bologna stopped them cold every time it looked like they could potentially go on a run. Things didn’t get any better in the 3rd quarter as Bamberg continued with their assist average for the evening with just one more over the next ten minutes and ended the night with you guessed it, just one more helper for a grand total of 4. I don’t know any team that can win with just dishing out 4 assists over forty minutes. Let me know of you can find one.
3) Bologna dominated the paint outscoring Bamberg 28-18 from inside as well as points from the bench 25-20 which is a bit misleading as it stood at 25-12 after 3 quarters. Those are two huge areas that the Italians controlled with no answer from Bamberg. It seemed that whatever Bologna wanted to do, they did. Dejan Kravic was a key player in the first quarter as he scored all of his 8 points in the frame to help Bologna to the lead that they would never relinquish throughout the 40 minutes.
One more glaring flaw for Bamberg was their inability to hit the 3. While Tyrese Rice went 5/9 the rest of the team shot 0/14! Oy! You’re never going to win shooting the ball like that. Period.