The Deutsche Bank Skyliners wanted to get on the right track in their first game in 2011 with a win on the road and were as focused as Jimmy slick and suave Jimmy Mckinney has to be on the court, because nothing is guaranteed as he remains the king of the extensions of the short term contracts in the BEKO BBL and D League player Andre Barrett of the Idaho Stampede was in the NBA in 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 with 10 day contracts, as Borussia Dortmund has played in the first half of the season blowing away most of their competition, or Tom Brady and Michael Vick will enter the playoffs as they could possibly meet in the Superbowl and rekindle the flair and excitement of another quarterback battle which was present back in the day between NFL greats Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach, but despite playing a hard game, the gang of coach Gordie Herbert were unable to withstand the unrelentless force of John Bryant and unending pressure of the sixth man Kuhberg crowd losing 87-82. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners lost their second game in a row and had every chance of winning down the stretch, but were unable to withstand the strong nerves of Ratiopharm Ulm. “With Ulm up by nine points, that just hurt us mentally. They hit crucial shots at the end that helped them get the win”, stressed Skyliner center Marius Nolte. Ratiopharm Ulm won their second game in a row and are showing that the playoffs don’t seem unrealistic. “This was a big win for us. I am very proud of my team and how they responded after the win in Bremerhaven. The guys worked hard. Benzing hit a big shot down the stretch, Bryant did a good job scoring and Humphrey did a good job making his three pointers. The team still has to do a better job taking care of the ball and limiting turnovers, but considering that we started 0-4 and are 8-9 now, I am very proud of the players”, stressed Ratiopharm Ulm coach Mike Taylor.
The center of attention in the game was American John Bryant who is a 23 year old 208cm 135 kilo center from San Pablo, California. He has ripped apart the BEKO BBL this season averaging 15,6ppg and 10,9 rpg. With Frankfurt missing a second center as Joe Dabbert had been released last week, this reporter was speculating the first 20-20 game by the American, but in the end, Bryant finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds. When you are looking up to the big man, you see a combination of a lovable teddy bear and comedian Seth Rogen. He may have been able to reach the 20-20 stats had he had a stronger first half. “Frankfurt did a great job in the first half not letting me get touches. Muurinen did a good job on me being physical and pushing me out of the zone. In the second half I was getting more touches, because we were doing a better job on the ball screen with sprinting in and diving hard which draws the defender away and got me easy buckets”, added Bryant. “Without Dabbert we were at a big disadvantage. He has a big body and does a good job boxing out and getting rebounds. We should of done a better job of trapping the low post which we had been practicing the last week”, warned Skyliner Kimmo Muurinen. After playing at Santa Clara from 2005-2009, he started his professional basketball career last season for Erie Bay Hawks (D-League): 48 games: 13.2ppg, 9.5rpg, 1.6apg, 1.5bpg, FGP: 49.3%, FT: 77.6%. With such good stats in the BEKO BBL, it would only be surprising that he wouldn’t like the league, but sees big differences to the D-league. “The Beko BBL is a very competitive league. There are good teams and great players. I enjoy Germany a lot. In the D league the games are longer and in the BEKO BBL, I don’t have to deal with the defense three second rule. There are less games in Germany, but I feel the competition is the same even though the style is different. The D league is more guard orientated and more one on one while the BEKO BBL is more structured”, commented John Bryant. Bryant got only praise from the top scorer of the BEKO BBL. “Bryant is the best center I have seen this season. He is very good at finishing around the basket and him getting 20p-10r seems so easy”, added Dashaun Wood.
Shortly before the first jump ball was presented, one saw the usual conversations at center court as Dominik Bahiense De Mello had a nice hug for Robin Benzing and captain Pascal Roller was conversing with the ex Tv Langen star. The start of the first quarter had a similar start to the game in Bonn last week. Robin Benzing did get Ratiopharm Ulm on the board first with a sweet hard drive to the hoop over Jimmy Mckinney, but Frankfurt then cruised out on a 14-2 run to lead 14-4. Kimmo Muurinen was very strong in this phase as he contributed 7 points scoring with two jumpers and a lay in inside after getting a perfect lob pass from Wood. Frankfurt found that quick high intensity as they found many different ways to score. Quantez Robertson scored inside and Jimmy Mckinney dropped a three pointer on the transition. Ratiopharm Ulm was not in awe by this fast start by Frankfurt, but calmly kept gnawing away at the lead by the opponent. John Bryant wasn’t that dominating yet with rebounds, but was scoring easily scoring inside on the pick and role and just getting by the help defense. Ratiopharm Ulm also got a lay in by German national player Per Guenther who really hurt Frankfurt with his penetration especially later in the second half. Guenther has made a real jump this season as he is the third top scorer for Ratiopharm Ulm. He may still look like a shy boy, but his play is anything but shy, but rather aggressive. “Guentehr is getting more and more comfortable with each game. He has so much self confidence that he knows that he can make plays at critical points of the game. He is attacking more and more and a great finisher for his size”, warned Travis Walton.
The Mike Taylor club was also observant on the glass as Rocky Trice scored on a tip in. Lee Humphrey then netted his first of five three pointers and before any Frankfurt player really knew what the Ratiopharm Ulm mascot was, Ratiopharm Ulm had cut the Frankfurt lead to 20-19. Ratiopharm Ulm stepped up their defense in the run highlighted by a Rocky Trice block on Dashaun Wood. Mckinney then made a big three pointer as Frankfurt led 23-19. German Sebastian Betz made two free throws as Ratiopharm Ulm trailed 23-21 after one quarter. “Frankfurt started very strong, but basketball is a game of runs and we came back cutting their lead down to two points only”, stated 2009 NCAA finalist with Michigan State Travis Walton. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 43% from outside while Ratiopharm Ulm was shooting 53% from the field and 50% from outside. Ratiopharm Ulm was leading the rebounding 11-5 and had four turnovers while Frankfurt had three turnovers.
In the second quarter, big runs took a slight back seat as a few small runs were present, but both teams had their painted faces on as the game was very even as there were seven lead changes. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners did start with a small run of 6-2 to slightly pull away 29-23. Muurinen did a fine job beating 30 year old American Sean Sonderleiter twice once inside an dthe second time getting him up in the air and then stepping to his left and sinking a high rainbow from the top of the key. Ex NBA player Roger Powell came back into the game scoring inside with a slick move. Ratiopharm Ulm then went on a 8-0 run to retake the lead 31-29. Three point specialist Lee Humphrey who was NCAA champion with Florida in 2006 and 2007 and had a streak of making at least one three pointer in 39 straight NCAA games nailed two and Bryant scored inside again with relative ease. Dashaun Wood then tied the score31-31 with a beautiful fake pass look to Super Tez on his right, but finishing him self. After two Sean Sonderleiter free throws for the Ratiopharm Ulm 33-31 lead, Coleman Collins made a monster block on Wood, but Frankfurt retook the lead on a De Mello three pointer. Collins then made two free throws as Frankfurt trailed 35-34, but then it was Wood again who took something out of Bonn´s Nic Wise game as he penetrated inside and finished with a fade away jumper as Frankfurt led 36-35. Robertson then gave Frankfurt the lead 38-37 but a Sonderleiter free throw and Trice steal from Wood and two handed stuff gave Ratiopharm Ulm the 41-38 lead. Dashaun Wood closed out the first half with a floater as Frankfurt trailed 41-40. “We played very good defense and valued our offensive possessions”, said Ratiopharm Ulm guard Travis Walton. Ratiopharm Ulm was shooting 50% from the field and 50% from the three point line as The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 29% from the three point line. Ratiopharm Ulm had the 17-12 rebound edge, but nine turnovers while Frankfurt had five turnovers.
The tight lead by Ratiopharm Ulm didn’t seem to be to the liking of coach Mike Taylor as the club tried even harder to get the ball inside to John Bryant and it worked. Bryant scored the first five Ratiopharm Ulm points as he drew two fouls and scored inside as he somehow found the way to the rim with a finger tip role reverse layup as Frankfurt trailed 46-41. However Frankfurt went on a mini 4-0 run to cut the Ratiopharm Ulm lead to 46-45 as Quantez Super Tez Robertson showed his athletic explosiveness scoring twice inside going by Bryant in mid air and getting a nice pass from Wood next to the hoop. Ex Phoenix Hagen point guard Per Guenther then scored on a catch and pop and scored on a lay up as Frankfurt trailed 50-45. Frankfurt stayed close to Ratiopharm Ulm as Roger Powell scored off the bench scoring twice inside including once over Benzing cutting the Ratiopharm Ulm lead to 52-49. However Ratiopharm Ulm closed the third quarter with a 6-2 run to break away and lead 60-51 after 30 minutes. Guenther used his quickness again as he had so often on this day scoring with a quick scoot to the bucket. Powell scored with a runner, Benzing made two free throws and Coleman Collins scored hard on the penetration over Marius Nolte. In the third quarter, Frankfurt received their third 24 second shot clock violation of the game which really hurt them as two of the three baskets had gone in, but couldn’t count. “In the third quarter, Humphrey hit big three pointers and Bryant helped us a lot around the paint. We got good defensive stops and they missed some key shots”, warned Travis Walton. Ratiopharm Ulm was shooting 47% from the field and 43% from the parking lot while The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and 25% from the parking lot. Ratiopharm Ulm had the huge 29-19 rebound edge, but 15 turnovers while Frankfurt had only eight turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners continued to fight, but were never ever able to regain the lead back as Ratiopharm Ulm didn´t have any panic attacks on offense and their sixth man helped them secure the win. “Our crowd was a huge factor. We went with the momentum. I have not seen a more loud arena in Germany. Our fans are amazing and are simply basketball fans”, stated Travis Walton. Frankfurt did start off on a bang going on a 6-0 run with consecutive three pointers by Roger Powell and Jimmy Mckinney to cut the Ratiopharm Ulm lead to 60-57. The third quarter remained a shot out as both teams kept firing away, but Frankfurt was unable to get 2-3 defensive stops to possibly get them the win. After Collins scored inside and Powell got free and dunked, it was Humphrey and De Mello that traded three pointers as Ratiopharm Ulm led only 65-62. Whenever Ratiopharm Ulm tried to break away as Humphrey tried with another three pointer, Frankfurt had a response as Muurinen scored inside as Frankfurt trailed only 68-65. Trice and Jordan then traded buckets as Frankfurt trailed only 70-67, but were never able to get over the hump. Bryant then scored inside past Nolte, but Powell responded with a dunk as Frankfurt trailed only 72-69. Frankfurt seemed to have that three point cushion engraved in their memory bank as nothing seemed to be able to be done to get the lead down and take the lead. Then came the first crucial Ratiopharm Ulm shot as Humphrey nailed a fast ball three pointer right through Mckinney as Frankfurt trailed 75-69. Wood then quickly marched down the court and scored inside as Frankfurt trailed only 75-71. Then came the deciding bucket which seemed to get Ratiopharm Ulm closer to the 50 home win for Mike Taylor as Benzing made a three pointer. Benzing didn´t hesitate, but just showed that he is a crunch time player in the making. “That was an important three pointer for me. I had hit my first two shots and after that nothing. I have total confidence from the coach and I felt no pressure taking this shot”, added German National player Robin Benzing. Bryant then got an offensive rebound and put back as Frankfurt trailed 80-71 with less than two minutes to play. However Frankfurt stayed tough hitting big shots with Powell and two Mckinney three pointers as Frankfurt trailed only 84-80, but the lead was too high on this day as the Frankfurt defense and rebounding work was simply not sharp enough on this day. Wood then made a lay up as Frankfurt trailed 85-82. Guenther sealed the win for Ratiopharm Ulm 87-82. De Mello took one last shot that never touched anything as Frankfurt remain winless in 2011. “We started well, but lost our rhythm on offense and defense and rebounded poorly as a team”, stated Skyliner sports director Kamil Novak. “We made it to easy for Ratiopharm Ulm to score at the end”, added Skyliner guard Pascal Roller.
Ratiopharm Ulm was led by John Bryant with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Lee Humphrey added 20 points. Per Guenther chiped in with 13 points and Robin Benzing had 10 points. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were led by Roger Powell with 18 points. Jimmy Mckinney contributed 15 points and four assists. Dashaun Wood and Kimmo Muurinen added 14 points a piece. Frankfurt shot very poorly from downtown at 29% and lost the rebounding battle 39-28. “If you lose the rebounding by 10+, then it will always be hard to win. We shot too many three pointers and they killed us inside. We had no big man inside. Letting Joe Dabbert go hasn’t helped us any”, warned Dashaun Wood. Ratiopharm Ulm shoot excellent at 50% from the field and outside and dominated inside. Ratiopharm Ulm seem to be on a good way in 2011 and will need another good performance Sunday against Bamberg and need to improve a few things. “We strated 0-4 and even those loses we could of won. We are a young team and could be 8-5 without those loses. We have to get better on ball screens on defense and have better ball efficiency on offense”, warned Travis Walton. Frankfurt need to forget this game fast, but remember what they did wrong and be ready as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg arrive on Sunday. “We have to find different ways to use our speed and get that old chemistry back on offense and defense. Our offense has to get better as well”, warned current BEKO BBL top scorer Dashaun Wood. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners host The EWE Baskets Oldenburg on Sunday January 9th at 19:30.