U-Banca Transilvania prevailed against Brindisi

Yesterday evening the BT Arena in Cluj-Napoca hosted the Basketball Champions League Round 5 game between U-BT and Happy Casa Brindisi.

The Romanian champions showed right from the start that they intend to keep the 1st place in the group and got off to a hot start, scoring 22 points in the first 6 minutes, forcing the Italian team to take a timeout. Brindisi joined the scoring party after that and by halftime, the score was 55-48 for the team from Cluj. The Italians continued to shoot the 3 pointers very effectively and got within 3 points at the beginning of the 4th quarter (84-81), but Cluj managed to make stops in defense when it mattered the most and they controlled the boards, winning the rebounds battle (35 to 24). The high scoring encounter ended 104 to 94 in favour of U-BT, who are ready to make history at their first participation in the competition.

U-BT finished the game with six players in double figures. Team captain Patrick Richard (who played his 100th game for U-BT) was the top scorer of his team with 23 points, followed by Elijah Stewart with 20. Point guard Brandon Brown did a great job organizing his team’s offense, scoring 17 points and dishing 10 assists, while center Andrija Stipanovic had a perfect night: 15 points with 7/7 field goals. On the other side, Nick Perkins had a great night with 26 points scored. The other Perkins in the team, Josh, also played great ( 16 points, 7 assists ), while Lucio Redivo shot 5/6 from 2 points and 3 /4 from long range to finish with 21 points.

At the press conference following the game, Brindisi coach Frank Vitucci and his veteran player Jeremy Chappell both voiced their displeasure regarding the referee’s performance, specifically the difference in the number of free throws (33 to 6 in favour of the home team). When asked about this, coach Mihai Silvasan said that he believes his team wasn’t aggressive enough on defense and should have used more fouls. He also pointed out that his team is known for drawing many fouls as they attack the basket a lot, so the number of free throws his team shot is normal.

In the last round of this group, anyone can still qualify. U-BT will travel to Istanbul to face Darussafaka and with a win, they will secure 1st place and the automatic qualification for the next round. Brindisi will also play away from home as they will travel to Israel for the game against Hapoel Holon. Coach Vitucci’s side can finish 3rd and qualify for the play-in round only if they beat Holon and Cluj also win, otherwise his side will be eliminated from the competition.

Image credit: Basketball Champions League

Imre Halasz