Bologna stifle Bamberg to book Final spot
ANTWERP (Belgium) - Segafredo Virtus Bologna put on one of the most dominant performances in Basketball Champions League Final Four history, securing a 67-50 rout over Brose Bamberg to book their spot in the Final on Sunday.
Bologna led from start to finish, jumping out to a double digit lead in the first half and never allowing Bamberg into the game in the second, riding another impressive performance from Kevin Punter.
Punter had 21 points, a joint-best scoring performance for the Basketball Champions League Final Four, as he out-duelled Tyrese Rice, who was the only player to perform for the Germans with 21 of his own.
"(It was a) Well fought game," Punter said. "We handled our business offensively and defensively, stuck to our principles and executed. There's not much I can say about it, I'm just glad we won. Now we're just focused on Sunday."
It was a defensive masterclass for Bologna, holding Bamberg to their lowest total of the season and the lowest ever by a team in the Final Four, along with a Final Four record low of 25% field goal shooting.
Amath M'Baye added 9 points, and Dejan Kravic 8, whilst Bamberg received 9 from Elias Harris.
"First of all congratulations to Bologna," Bamberg's Bryce Taylor commented. "They played a solid game. I thought they played better than us, obviously. Disappointing result for us, we have to keep our heads up high and get ready for Sunday."
Head Coach Federico Perego added:
"We didn't share the ball enough. But when nobody is scoring, it's becoming tough... We have a lot of players with great character, and they tried to put the team back on their shoulder. That happens.
"We have to give credit to Bologna because they played really solid, very aggressive - they were better than us."
Kevin Punter knocked down the first basket fo the game, before registering 7 points in the first period and along with Kravic helped Bologna to a 22-11 first quarter lead. Tyrese Rice did his best to counter-attack with 7 of his own.
Extending their lead to 14 in the second, Bologna looked firmly in control before Rice woke up.
He reeled off back to back threes, making it a 10 point game, before an unsportsmanlike call on Arradori allowed Bamberg to pull it back to single digits for the first time in the second period.
However, Bologna steadied the ship, riding Punter's 12 first half points as he became the Basketball Champions League Final Four leading scorer in the process to take a 42-28 lead into halftime.
The second half proved to be a mere formality, as Bologna answered every potential Bamberg run to book their spot in the Final.