Ekene Ibekwe Slithers Like An Angry Snake Dunking BBC Bayreuth Past The Fraport Skyliners 79-71

A few weeks ago, BBC Bayreuth basketball freaks may have been dreaming of Kevin Durant matching the 50 points of Deron Williams in a beko BBL game, meeting the NBA superstar in the city and holding a you tube moment forever, or examining his athletic moves and then making a fool of themselves trying to copy him, but since Durant never arrived, the basketball life in the Bavarian city that gave the world the musical composer has returned back to normal. However the team has showed that they don’t really need an NBA superstar as the team continues to play super basketball ever since Danny Gibson returned and new coach Marc Van Den Berg took the helm as the team has cut down their points allowed from 83 to 66. The team has sparkled like classic red wine on the court with solid team basketball with versatility at every position and came into the Fraport arena resting at position 11 and Kevin Durant 5007 miles away in Oklahoma leaving his play in a tiny part of their brain as they won their fifth game in their last six games stifling the Fraport Skyliners in their own living room 79-71. After the big win in Hagen last weekend, The Fraport Skyliners had to play catch up basketball in the second half never being able to retake the lead. “We played soft defense and didn´t make the necessary stops when we should of. We have to learn from these mistakes. BBC Bayreuth played very physical and we didn´t. Even when we got close there was something missing. We are good enough to get close, but not good enough to win”, stated Skyliner head coach Muli Katzurin. BBC Bayreuth played a very solid second half always going on small runs and just out playing the Skyliners in every phase of the game. “The key to the win tonight was our aggressiveness on defense. We were able to execute well on offense always finding the open man. We took the game on and not let the game come to us”, stressed BBC Bayreuth player Ekene Ibekwe. What was really impressive was even when Frankfurt came back, BBC Bayreuth was able to stay consistent as a team and play through pressure. “Our coach has preached staying together since he came. We keep fighting no matter what even in times when the opponent is pressuring us”, added BBC Bayreuth point guard Danny Gibson.

Two guys that shaped the play of their teams were German national player Tim Ohlbrecht and BBC Bayreuth forward Ekene Ibekwe. The last years haven´t been easy for Tim Ohlbrecht after having been compared to German superstar Dirk Nowitzki and being seen as a NBA Draft pic, the development of the German have been slow as he seemed to move more back then forward in Bonn the last two years. He came to Frankfurt with a short term contract resting on his shoulders until the end of December. Against BBC Bayreuth, Ohlbrecht showed that he wants to be rewarded with that contract extension as he poured in a career high 27 points and grabbed six rebounds. The German began strong and capped it off with 10 points in the fourth quarter and taking over, but unfortunately not getting enough support from his teammates to get over the hump with the win. One could see how focused Ohlbrecht was, and when he gets the confidence and playing time can produce strong numbers. “It felt good being out there. I wanted to win so bad out there. Coach Katzurin knows what I can do and I have the potential to play like this. I just have to keep playing like this in the next games”, added Tim Ohlbrecht. “Tim is a great player. This was his breakout game. He is a solid rebounder, can block shots and with Leuer gone has to have more games like that”, stressed Michael Thompson. Ex NBA player Brandon Hunter who was drafted in 2003 by the Boston Celtics and played also for the Orlando Magic is a man for few words as he didn´t have much to describe the performance by Ohlbrecht except uttering one word congratulations.

Ekene Ibekwe was the force on the court for BBC Bayreuth as he quickly showed his ability forcing Ohlbrecht to a miss on the first Frankfurt possession, then making a lay in past the German and then on the third play blocking young German Skyliner Danilo Barthel. He finished the game with 19 points, five rebounds and two blocks and dunked over Jermareo Davidson and Tim Ohlbrecht. He was near unstoppable and looked like a long reptile doing damage under the boards on offense and defense. “Ibekwe has NBA athleticism and most teams know that. He is like a snake slithering around under the basket”, smiled teammate Danny Gibson. Michael Thompson didn´t have to defend him at his position, but got a good impression of what the Nigerian could do. “Ibekwe is  agreat athlete, great shooter from all over, can block shots and reminds me of Phoenix Sun Hakim Warrick. Skyliner captain Marius Nolte was burned a few times by the ex Artland Dragon. “Ibekwe is so athletic, but his teammates set him up so well too. He really hurt us with his three pointer two”, commented Marius Nolte. “I have heard the comparison to Warrick. I try to be more than one dimensional hitting that three pointer at times. My teammates do a good job finding me. I used my athletic ability as best I can since I know that I can jump”, stressed Ekene Ibekwe.

4120, fans came to see the next fight to stay in the Beko BBL as the Fraport Skyliners started off slowly, but found their rhythm mid way through the first quarter. Beckham Wyrick who is a player that each team wants got BBC Bayreuth going getting a lay in after catching a Brandon Hunter airball and then nailing a three pointer over Quantez Robertson as Frankfurt trailed 7-4.  Frankfurt got on track quickly as Jimmy Mckinney made a fade away jumper from the wing and Michael Thompson made a floater as Frankfurt had their first lead 8-7. Wyrick scored again scoring with a hard penetration to the basket as BBC Bayreuth led 9-8.  Frankfurt then went on a 7-3 run to lead 16-11. Ohlbrecht made two dunks as the team was able to catch BBC Bayreuth napping a few times not getting back on transition. Robertson then scored on a fast break hoop. Down the stretch, Frankfurt kept the momentum and lead, but never was able to totally pull away as BBC Bayreuth always seemed to have an answer to stay on the Frankfurt tail. Ibekwe hit a three pointer, but Mckinney retaliated with a bomb from downtown as Frankfurt still had the upper hand 23-16. Young German Stefan Schmidt scored inside and Thompson closed out the first quarter with a three pointer as BBC Bayreuth trailed 26-19. “Frankfurt started off very concentrated and hit many shots. Jimmy Mckinney also found his rhythm quickly”, stated Fraport Skyliner PRO B player Amil Klisura. “We gave up 26 points. That’s basketball. We got off to a slow start, but fought back never giving up”, expressed Brandon Hunter. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 64% from the field and 100% from outside, while BBC Bayreuth was shooting 42% from the field and 40% from outside. Frankfurt had the 7-4 rebound edge and one turnover while BBC Bayreuth had two turnovers.

A basketball game isn´t a basketball with runs and this was something that would continue to grow as the game passed on. BBC Bayreuth got their first run to kick off the second quarter going on a 10-2 run to retake the lead 29-28. Ibekwe started the second quarter with a monster dunk over Davidson and then hit a three pointer. The dunks seemed to be on the BBC Bayreuth menu as American Tyler Smith unlaunced a thunderous dunk from the wing over Nolte. Ibekwe then dunked over Ohlbrecht as the once Frankfurt lead had evaporated in air. BBC Bayreuth had stepped up the aggressiveness on defense and were doing the little things better like getting offensive rebounds and just picking up their intensity which Frankfurt couldn´t match. Frankfurt did gte the lead back with a nice left handed lay in by Ohlbrecht 30-29. However Frankfurt was unable to stop these mini BBC Bayreuth runs. Brandon Hunter made a left handed mini hook shot and Danny Gibson found a crack in the zone and scored easily as BBC Bayreuth led 35-10. Frankfurt continued to fight and claw back, but BBC Bayreuth made some big plays to keep the lead. Ex Villanova star Corey Stokes caught a bullet in the zone stepped out to the wing and made a beautiful fade away jumper and Ibekwe scored on an easy lay in as Gibson scooted into the zone with two seconds and made the no look pass. Ohlbrecht kept Frankfurt in the game with hoops in the zone and making a tip in dunk off a Thompson shot as BBC Bayreuth escaped into halftime with a tight 40-39 lead. “One could see that when Thompson is on the bench, the Frankfurt game loses structure. BBC Bayreuth put more pressure on Frankfurt and they were unable to defend BBC Bayreuth well on 1-1 defense giving up easy baskets”, stressed Amil Klisura. “We played more aggressive on defense in the second quarter as everyone helped each other”, commented Brandon Hunter. BBC Bayreuth was shooting 50% from the field and 33% from the three point line as The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 67% from the three point line. BBC Bayreuth had the slim 16-15 rebound edge and both teams had five turnovers a piece.

In the third quarter, BBC Bayreuth was able to keep their nose in front despite a Mckinney hoop which gave The Fraport Skyliners their last lead of the game 41-40. The Fraport Skyliners had big problems preventing BBC Bayreuth runs and were hit with a 15-4 run as BBC Bayreuth led comfortably 55-43. Corey Stokes started slowly hitting one of his first three shots, but got going in the third quarter hitting an uncontested three pointer and then a fade away jumper as BBC Bayreuth led 46-41. “Ever since I was a kid, I have always believed that I will make every shot. Even if I miss 20 shots, I will take that 21st shot. I am happy that I have  a lot of confidence from coach and my teammates”, stressed BBC Bayreuth American Corey Stokes. Robertson then scored inside retrieving a shovel pass from Davidson, but whenever Frankfurt was pressing, BBC Bayreuth would continue to score no matter how tough the situation was as Gibson nailed a three pointer with one second left on the shot clock and Tyler Smith scored over Ohlbrecht. Hunter then made a pretty spin move around Nolte and Davidson feeding the ball to Ibekwe for the easy lay in as BBC Bayreuth led 55-43. Frankfurt finished the third quarter with a 9-4 run getting closer, but still trailing 57-52 after three quarters. Davidson was able to get to the free throw line and score inside and Thompson scored inside and Robertson showed some of that explosiveness taking that first step to the hole and three pointer scoring. “We lost our rhythm a bit in the third quarter. The technical fouls really hurt us and seemed to get momentum on their side”, stressed Skyliner captain Marius Nolte. “We continued to be very aggressive on offense and defense and continued to pressure them”, stressed Danny Gibson. BBC Bayreuth was shooting 49% from the field and 38% from the parking lot while The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 48% from the field and 40% from the parking lot. BBC Bayreuth had the 24-21 rebound edge, but eight turnovers while Frankfurt had seven turnovers.

The Fraport Skyliners started their comeback in the fourth quarter with a 6-2 run to cut the BBC Bayreuth lead to 61-58. Tim Ohlbrecht scored all six points scoring inside, dunking over Brandon Hunter and scoring inside again. Super Tez Robertson let out a scream as the whole Fraport arena was cooking. However it would be the small runs and new burst of offensive energy from BBC Bayreuth that continued to hurt Frankfurt. Frankfurt allowed BBC Bayreuth on a 5-0 run to lead 66-58. Gibson scored from down town again and Wyrick sneaked inside making a tip in off a Hunter miss.”I like to take the big shots always. The team has a lot of confidence in me”, said Danny Gibson. Ohlbrecht then made four free throws in a row, but it was time for another 5-0 BBC Bayreuth run as Gibson hit a gigantic three pointer and Stefan Schmidt made a mid distance jumper as BBC Bayreuth led 71-62. Frankfurt countered with their own 5-0 run as Johannes Herber brought new life into their living room with a three pointer and Ohlbrecht kept his composure at the free throw line hitting twice as Frankfurt trailed only 71-67. However time was running down and BBC Bayreuth continued to make shots as Hunter hit a mid distance jumper as Frankfurt trailed 73-67. Thompson made a pretty, but difficult floater from the wing, but BBC Bayreuth continued to get to the free throw line as they led 75-69. With under a minute to play, Super Tez went coast to coast in a three second sprint as Frankfurt trailed 75-71. However Ibekwe and Gibson ended the game with free throws as Frankfurt lost 79-71. “It was the small things that cost us the win. They made open shots, back doors or lay ups”, stressed Tim Ohlbrecht.”We played together for 40 minutes something coach has been stressing since he came”, added Brandon Hunter. “We had too many let ups on defense. We gave Gibson too many open shots. We have to stay even stronger when we are on runs”, added Michael Thompson.

BBC Bayreuth was led by Ekene Ibekwe with 19 points and five rebounds. Danny Gibson had 18 points and five assists. Corey Stokes added 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Tim Ohlbrecht with 27 points. Quantez Robertson had 12 points, four rebounds and five assists. Jermareo Davidson chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds. BBC Bayreuth shot better than The Fraport Skyliners after 40 minutes shooting 48% from the field and 44% from down town while Frankfurt shot 44% from the field and a miserable 30% form down town. After the strong rebounding performance in Hagen, Frankfurt lost the rebounding battle 33-29. The two best things that Frankfurt did was taking care of the ball which can be credited to the continued nice development by Michael Thompson having only nine turnovers and gave up only two fast break points. “Our biggest strength was controlling the tempo. We did a good job getting back on defense and making more of  halfcourt game. Despite the loss, both Frankfurt and BBC Bayreuth know that Frankfurt shouldn´t be down that low. “A positive to the loss is that we have so much potential and have the ability to get higher back in standings”, stressed Tim Ohlbrecht. “We never underestimated Frankfurt. They are a good team. It isn´t easy losing Jon Leuer. You have to play at a very high level to beat Frankfurt”, warned Corey Stokes. A basketball has 40 minutes and Frankfurt needs to always keep that in mind. “We have to work even harder and just put together a 40 minute game”, warned Michael Thompson. The Fraport Skyliners can attempt to give a 40 minute effort on December 13th when they face off against Banvit(Turkey) in Eurocup play.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s