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MANNHEIM, Germany — In a rematch of last season’s European Division II title game, the Mannheim Bison played like champions again.

The Bison got 23 points from junior forward Andre Nelson in an 86-62 victory over Patch on Friday night.

Mannheim’s Earl Lee added 17 points and 12 rebounds, and senior Weslee Medina had 16 points and five assists.

“I’m back,” said Nelson, who played for the Bison as a freshman but skipped last year’s title run to play with a German club team. “I’m trying to help my boys repeat as champions.”

Nelson also had seven steals, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.

Though it was the season opener for both teams, Mannheim, which defeated conference champion Patch 57-48 on this floor for the European title last February, had the revenge factor working on Friday.

The Bison dropped a practice game to Patch 47-45 here in December.

“They celebrated on our court,” said Mannheim’s All-Europe senior James Meeks, who scored 13 points and handed out 10 assists. “We didn’t like that at all.”

The Bison prevented a second celebration with a dominating 29-14 second quarter. Medina drained two of his three three-pointers, both off feeds from Meeks, during the decisive eight minutes. The result was a 46-26 halftime edge.

“The key to this game was teamwork,” Meeks said. “Coach [John Crockett] complimented us on our teamwork after the game.”

The group effort was apparent on the defensive end, too.

Patch got 15 points from Mike Walker and 13 from Neal Griffin, but star scorer Jeromy Casselberry managed just seven points on six shots from the floor.

“My goal was to shut him down,” Meeks said.

Bamberg tops Baumholder

Defending European Division III champion Bamberg won a pair of defensive struggles, 55-49 on Friday, and 50-49 on Saturday, to improve to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in league play.

“Baumholder is a big, tough, solid team,” said Bamberg coach Charles Jordan. “Both games could have gone either way.”

Tim Gamble averaged 18 points in the two victories, while Darryl Wiley scored 28 points in the two contests.

Jordan said he saw signs of neglect after the long holiday layoff.

“We were rusty,” Jordan said, “and they missed a lot of shots they’d ordinarily make.”

Livorno wins pair

In less than 58 minutes of work Friday and Saturday, Sammy Ayer scored 25 points and D.J. Wilson 21 as the Livorno Lions (4-2) posted 52-10 and 48-8 mercy-rule victories over visiting Milan.


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