The win continues a positive trend for Coach Barloschky's men.
Hamburg's defense showed up to survive ugly fourth quarter
Veolia Towers Hamburg nearly suffered a colossal collapse - but only nearly - and the German side is thrilled to have gotten its first victory of the season thanks to a strong defensive performance.
Hamburg watched host Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana cut a 28-point deficit to 1 point in the closing seconds, but Hamburg left Slovenia with an 83-86 win in Group A.
“We executed the game plan for the most part of the game. I am very happy with our defensive performance. Obviously, we got ourselves a big lead after three quarters and we kind of let the game get away - almost. But it’s an almost. We found a way in the end to get the necessary stops and scores to win the game,” Hamburg coach Benka Barloschky said.
The Hamburg play-caller said his young team got nervous in the final quarter against an experienced team away from home.
“You have a chance to get the first win on the road. Everybody gets a little nervous. But we found a way. I am super proud of the team and we will celebrate this win for sure.”
Barloschky has reason to be happy about his defense. Hamburg came into the game with the worst defense in the competition, ranking 20th in opponents index rating (127.7), points allowed (101.8), two-point shooting (63.6%) and three-point shooting (46.8%).
Cedevita did not come close to any of those statistics, scoring 83 points while shooting 47.7% on two-pointers and 23.5% from long range and registering a PIR of 91.
“We are unbelievably relieved that we finally got our first win in the EuroCup. Of course, the fourth quarter was really ugly. Things just clicked all of a sudden for Ljubljana - they hit almost everything. But we stuck together and we won here,” said Mark Hughes, who scored 16 points, including 4 free throws in the final 9.2 seconds to secure the win.
The victory was just the latest positive for Hamburg, which was leading Besiktas Emlakjet Istanbul late in the third quarter before losing 90-78 last week on the road. Barloschky’s team also has won three straight games in the German League.
Aljami Durham, who scored a team-high 21 points against Cedevita, said Hamburg has to keep going now: “We have a little run now that we want to continue. We cannot stop working hard and wanting to take a small step forward.”
It will be all about forgetting the near collapse and remembering the victory.