ratiopharm Ulm not only came away with a victory over Mornar Bar to stay alive in the race for the 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16, but Coach Jaka Lakovic hopes his team has established a new trademark with its defensive showing.
Ulm entered its Round 6 matchup at Mornar Bar on a four-game losing streak and allowing 80.5 points per game in that stretch. But the German side shut down Mornar 66-82 for the win, including giving up just 23 points in the second half.
"We came here with the mentality to defend. Defend to give ourselves a chance to win the game. The second half especially was a good example of what should be our trademark. Defense and from there getting confidence on offense," said Lakovic, whose team has now swept Mornar in Group B action to move to 2-4.
The key to the showing was keeping Mornar’s shooters in check as the home team made just 5 of 29 three-pointers (17.2%). As a team, Mornar had been shooting 36.7% from long range coming into the game.
Ulm’s defense has been improving game by game, giving up 87 points in Round 2 to Germani Brescia and then 86 points to Boulogne Metropolitans 92. In Round 4, 73 points were enough for Buducnost VOLI Podgorica to win and Unicaja Malaga prevailed with 76 points in Round 5.
“This win gives us hope and aspiration to work and fight for the Top 16,” Lakovic said.
A big reason Ulm was able to beat Mornar was Dylan Osetkowski - once again that is. The big man poured in 22 points in Ulm’s Round 1 home win over Mornar and he totaled 22 points against in Round 6, to go along with 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals for an index rating of 27.
"To advance you gotta win, you gotta grind it out, play through mistakes, play through calls. And I think we did a good job on that,” Osetkowski said. "The Top 16 is our goal. Coming into the EuroCup we were striving for that. We’re still striving for that. It will be tough but we’re excited about the challenge."
Having a new trademark to work with could help in that challenge.