Bamberg break AEK hearts
FIBA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - QUARTER-FINALS (LEG 2)
|AEK||69 - 67||Bamberg|
|(20 - 17)
(36 - 32)
(54 - 49)
(69 - 67)
AEK’s title defence of the Basketball Champions League is over, as a 69-67 victory on the night wasn’t enough to turn around a four-point deficit from the quarter-final first leg against Brose Bamberg.
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Trailing by four points after the first game in Germany (67-71), reigning champions AEK were confident of launching a comeback inside a packed OAKA Indoor Arena, but the Athenians fell short in dramatic circumstances.
With the passionate home fans providing loud support, AEK played with the initiative throughout the match, taking the game to Bamberg and gaining a 36-32 lead by half time to even the aggregate score.
AEK continued their aggressive attacking play in the Greek capital. As the game rolled on, the pendulum looked to firmly be swinging AEK’s way, especially when the Kitrinomavri boasted a large 12-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter.
However, in a late burst, Bamberg put an end to AEK’s momentum and delivered a dagger to their opponents with five seconds remaining.
Down by four at the time, Bamberg’s Tyrese Rice twisted to a shooting position near the free throw line, subsequently looping an attempt over Howard Sant-Roos to give the Germans the aggregate advantage (138-136).
In the final second, Giannoulis Larentzakis had the opportunity to send the tie to overtime, but when taking the shot, he slipped under pressure from an opponent and the chance was gone.
Vince Hunter was the top AEK scorer with 19 points, while Delroy James (12) and Larentzakis (10) also reached doubles figures for the Greeks. Rice was an inspiration for Bamberg with 25 points and five assists.