With the shocking stroke that AJ Moye suffered earlier in the week, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners wanted to play in honour of the injured Skyliner who lives, eats, drinks and dreams of basketball and the club was as motivated to win against his ex team Tuebingen like all of Britain now is in anticipation of the royal wedding of William and Kate, or the whole organization and fans of the Gloria Giants Duesseldorf are for winning their first game and giving coach Murat Didin a few less sleepless nights and Bayern Munich soccer club getting back to the top of the Bundesliga standings and giving president Uli Hoeness his arrogant touch back that everyone seems to love and accept and Frankfurt was able to transform that real eye of the tiger energy from AJ Moye on the court as they nipped The Walter Tigers Tuebingen 79-76. Frankfurt ha dtheir game faces on for 40 minutes, but it was obvious that their thoughts was with the lovable AJ Moye. “I feel that the spirit of AJ Moye was on the court tonight. We wanted to win for him and played very hard. We knew that this would be a very difficult game. We knew that AJ would have wanted us to play hard and that inspired us. We pulled it out for AJ”, stressed Skyliner shooting guard Jimmy Mckinney. The Walter Tigers Tuebingen also played their hearts out and had Moye in their thoughts even guys that never played with him. “I think his eye of the tiger was on the court tonight. I am sure he wanted to physically on the court and was probably thinking about the game all day. Moye is a fighter and I wish him all the best getting well again”, commented Walter Tuebingen forward Dane Watts. In the end, no team deserved to lose, but Frankfurt was able to pull it out at the end. “We knew that it wouldn´t be easy for us without Powell and Moye Basketball is a team game and we understood how to adjust to these tow key loses. We got big games from Mckinney and Dabbert. Key was getting defensive stops at the end and their turnover sealed the win for us”, stated Skyliner guard Dashaun Wood. For Tuebingen losing like this was just bitter. “We had a very good chance to take a win from a undermanned Frankfurt team, but we were unable to pull it out at the end”, stressed Tuebingen forward Dane Watts.
“I want to beat Tuebingen by a million points” were the words that Moye said after the win against EnBW Ludwigsburg which was another typical unique quote by Moye as not only his gregarious character was missed off the court, but also on the court with his play. 90 minutes before the start of the game, one was already getting a feeling that a special strong love was being given from the fans as more and more number 40´s were appearing in the Ballsporthalle giving support AJ Moye who had suffered a stroke on Tuesday. Very many AJ Moye get well signs were handed out in the arena, the usual #6(6th man) fan jersey had the number 40 and there was a get well AJ card in the arena where all the fans could give the Los Angeles native their own little special message. The atmosphere was a bit sorrowful about what had happened to Moye, but at the same time also positive. Life must go on, but the people in the Ballsporthalle showed that Moye was on their minds. Even though Moye is a member of Frankfurt, he played in Tuebingen for three years and was teammates with coach Igor Perovic and general manager Robert Wintermantel at times seemed in deep thought about their ex teammate who had been such an inspiration for them in Tuebingen. “I was really shocked when I heard the news about Moye. He always played with 100% and gave everything to help the team. He was loved by the fans in Tuebingen and quickly loved in Frankfurt. Even when he was hurt in a game, he kept playing and just wanted to win. I know that he is a fighter. He will fight and do everything to return. He knows that myself and everyone in Tuebingen is thinking about him. He is a great guy and I wish him all the best”, stressed ex Frankfurt player Robert Wintermantel.
AJ Moye played two seasons with Walter Tigers Tuebingen coach Igor Perovic and also played for him as he became coach. Perovic also seemed stricken by the events around Moye, but had nice memories of the ex Indiana Hoosiers. “It was unbelievable when I heard the news. AJ has a great charachter perhaps the best in the league. He always showed energy on the court as he showed in Tuebingen and I am not surprised how fast Frankfurt has taken him into their hearts. He always practiced hard in practice and never practiced easy. He always gave 100% and just has a special mentality. He is simply a very special person”, stated Walter Tigers Tuebingen coach Igor Perovic. Even players that never played with him had only positive words for Moye. “The news about AJ is really sad. I dont know him personally, but he is a very good guy. I dont remember him so much since I played against him in my first year with Goettingen, but I do remember that he is a very hard nosed undersized three man, that is physical, a good defender and always tough”, stated ex BG Goettingen forward Chris Oliver. Moye was not only supported by everyone in the arena, but also had his family in the stands. “The atmosphere was great in the arena. AJ is doing well is moving around. It was great seeing all the love for AJ in the arena”, said the step dad of AJ Moye.
As if the loss to AJ Moye had not been enough to digest, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners got a second sour message as they learned that ex NBA player Roger Powell would miss 4-6 weeks due to a ligament rupture. “A player from Maccabi Haifa hit my knee in the game which caused my injury”, stated Skyliner forward Roger Powell. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners got off to a slow start as The Walter Tigers Tuebingen quickly jumped on Frankfurt taking a 6-0 lead as they scored twice in the set offense with a Chris Oliver jumper and lay in off the penetration from Branislav Ratkovica and Dane Watts made a thunderous dunk on the fast break scoring on a 2 on 1 with Johannes Herber who supplied him with the pass. Frankfurt seemed a bit nervous and were still feeling out Tuebingen as they let them get inside easily. Despite a spectacular behind the back pass from Ratkovica to Oliver which led to an easy bucket inside, Frankfurt slowly got their offense rolling as Wood nailed a three pointer and two free throws and Joe Dabbert started a 6-0 run and hit with a jumper and a lay in after working overtime for the offensive rebound as Frankfurt trailed only 10-9 and Kimmo Muurinen gave Frankfurt their first lead 11-10 as he scored on a reverse lay up getting a no look pass from Wood on the fast break. Both teams showed quickly that neither team would be able to go on a big run as there were six more lead changes in the last few minutes. Rathkovica scored inside with a penetration finger tip role, Quantez Robertson scored with a dunk off the fast break and Anatoly Kashirov scored with a turn around shot over Marius Nolte as Tuebingen led 14-13. After Nolte and Rathkovica free throws, Kenny Wiliams gave Tuebingen the 17-15 lead back. With little time remaining in the first quarter, Robertson hit a jumper from the wing and Jimmy Mckinney drooped a bomb as Frankfurt led 21-17 after one quarter. “We started off a bit slow as guys may have been a bit nervous without me and Moye. We got our rhythm going, but Tuebingen was rebounding very well. Both teams were competing very hard”, stressed injured Skyliner Roger Powell. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 43% from outside while The Walter Tigers Tuebingen were shooting 44% from the field and 0% from outside. Tuebingen had the slim 11-9 rebound edge, but three turnovers while Frankfurt had two turnovers.
The second quarter remained a real dogfight as neither team was able to lead by more than four points. The Walter Tigers Tuebingen was able to weaken the Frankfurt momentum going on a 6-1 run to take the 24-22 lead. Serb Radovan Markovic supplied two jumpers and showed that his shooting is his biggest weapon and Wiliams fought for an offensive rebound and scored as Frankfurt was trailing again. Tuebingen would keep the lead as known shooter Johannes Herber annoyed Frankfurt with two jumpers as Frankfurt trailed 28-27. Markovic then nailed his third shot of the quarter from the wing as he left Mckinney in the air and then took three steps to his left and gave Tuebingen the 31-27 lead. The game may never have witnessed a big run of say 12-0 or 14-0, but it was a game of small runs. Frankfurt went on a 6-2 run asDominik Bahiense De Mello nailed a three pointer and Mckinney countered with athree pointer a beautiful lay up high of the glass. Kashirov then tied the game at 36-36 with a hook shot high of the glass, but Frankfurtw ent into halftime with the 39-37 lead as Nolte made a pretty spin move off the glass and Wood hit two free throws. Tuebingen scored the last bucket of the game as the shot of Kashirov was an air ball which was scooped up in the air by Watts and put into the basket. “It was a hard fought game and we never stopped fighting. We played good defense in the second quarter”, stressed ex Utah Jazz Roger Powell. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 43% from the field and 38% from the three point line while The Walter Tigers Tuebingen were shooting 47% from the field and 20% from the three point line. Tuebingen had the 21-17 rebound edge, but six turnovers while Frankfurt had five turnovers.
The third quarter remained very tight as The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were able to keep the lead for the first six minutes before The Walter Tigers Tuebingen were able to retake the lead. Frankfurt might have been without work horse AJ Moye and pure scorer7rebounder Roger Powell, but the team still hand their road runner Dashaun Wood who started hot in the third quarter as he scored a mid distance jumper and then a three pointer as Frankfurt led 44-39. Wood took 24 free throws and seemed like he was living at the line as the only thing missing was a lounge chair and TV and ESPN Sportscenter. Wood finished with 34 points and had already felt early that it would be his day. “I felt good in warm ups as I imitated some of the things that AJ usually does. A part of AJ was in my body today. I think these were the most free throws that I ever took in a game. It felt like an NBA game for me, because usually its guys like Iverson and Bryant who get 20 + free throws per game”, expressed Wood. Super Tez then scored in the lane making a nice pass fake to Nolte and finishing himself. Frankfurt had their W Wood and Tuebingen had their W Watts who was their work horse under the boards. After two watts free throws, he then made a dunk after retrieving a no look pass from Kashirov. Frankfurt never led comfortably and after Wood hit a pull up pop shot and Frankkfurt led 50-44, Tuebingen stormed back with a 6-2 run to tie the game at 50-50. Tuebingen kept doing damage inside as Powell was dearly missed as Kashirov scored inside twice. The game stayed close as Tuebingen could retake the lead. Ex German national player Johannes Herber nailed a three pointer as the whole Tuebingen bench popped to their feet and Tuebingen led 53-51. It isn´t always Pascal Roller with the big shot, but Mckinney also has proved time in and time out who big his shot can be as he tied the score at 53-53. However then it was time again for the Dane Watts show as he was so difficult to stop on this night as he scored on a reverse lay up getting fed by Ratkovica and then stole the ball and played give and go with Herber and then scoring on the fast break lay up. Tuebingen led 57-53 and Mckinney finished the scoring in the third quarter with a floater as Tuebingen led 57-55. “Both teams continued to fight and Tuebingen never gave up”, said Roger Powell. The Walter Tigers Tuebingen were shooting 48% from the field and 25% from the parking lot while The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 41% from the field and 33% from the parking lot. Tuebingen continued to dominate the rebounding 29-24 and both teams had nine turnovers a piece.
The Walter Tigers Tuebingen kept the lead for the first five minutes and were able to lead by as much as six points 64-58. Watts kept up his scoring rampage scoring with a quick scoot past Muurinen on the wing and then stepped outside and buried a three pointer. Despite the Tuebingen lead, one never really was afraid that Tuebingen could run away with the game as Frankfurt made big plays on defense and getting stops and letting them come back into the game with a 7-0 run to retake the lead 65-64 and they would never trail again. Robertson and Wood made free throws and Mckinney hit a three pointer from the top of the key. Wood stayed strong on offense drawing fouls it seemed on every second possession. After two Wood free throws for the 68-66 lead, Ratkovica tied the game at 68-68 with two free throws. Wood and then Watts went head to head scoring twice, but Frankfurt kept the lead 73-70. De Mello then hit one free throw as Frankfurt led 74-70. With under a minute to go it was Ratkovica that scored on the penetration and getting the end one as Tuebingen trailed 74-73. Mckinney then made one of two free throws, but got a break as Tuebingen couldn´t handle the rebound as the ball landed in the hands of Dabbert and he scored with aput back as Frankfurt led 77-73. Herber then nailed a clutch three pointer as Tuebingen trailed only 77-76. After Wood missed two free throws, Tuebingen had 8 seconds to play, but Radovan Markovic stepped out of bounds turning the ball over to Frankfurt. “We had some bad luck on the last play. We tried to get the ball quickly up the court, but Markovic was on the line. Everything that could go wrong for us in that situation did”, stressed Chris Oliver. Wood then made his two mistakes good by making two free throws as Frankfurt closed out the game with a 79-76 win.
“This was a tough game to loose. We made a few mistakes at the end with turnovers and not boxing out which cost us the game. Frankfurt played well on the pick and roll and in the penetration. We were unable to stop Wood. Ok he is quick, but you simply can´t allow him to break the defense”, stated wx CSKA Moscow center Anatoly Kashirov. “We played good defense down the stretch. We got the stops when we needed them and the difference between good and bad teams is if you can get stops. We also showed that without Powell and Moye, there were other guys that stepped up. I had to be more aggressive tonight”, warned American Jimmy Mckinney. Frankfurt killed us on the transition and penetration. We missed many easy shots and were not good off the dribble”, commented Chris Oliver. “We were unable to control Wood. When he wasn´ts coring or getting to the free throw line, he was kicking the ball out. Wood stepped it up big and was the difference”, stated Dane Watts.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were led by Dashaun Wood with 34 points, five rebounds and two turnovers. Jimmy Mckinney added 16 points. Quantez Robertson chipped in with nine points, three rebounds and three steals. Marius Nolte produced eight points and three rebounds. The Walter Tigers Tuebingen was led by Dane Watts with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Branislav Ratkovica chipped in with 13 points and five assists. Johannes Herber produced 12 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Anatoly Kashirov produced 10 points and five rebounds. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners won their seventh game in a row in the BEKO BBL and now must shift gears again for a few days and get ready for the next game in the Eurochallenge against BK Ventspils. Despite the win, The DEutsche Bank Skyliners can still improve in some areas.”We can improve with our help side defense and rotations. But in general with our offense and defense execution can get better”, stressed Jimmy Mckinney. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners return to action on November 23rd at BK Ventspils. “We want to carry the energy against Tuebingen into our game in the Eurochallenge”, warned Dashaun Wood.