One of the most interesting Beko BBL news stories this spring in Tuebingen hasn´t been when Igor Perovic will have a GQ battle with guard Josh Young or when it will come to a new friendly one on one battle between friends Vaughn Duggins and Dashaun Wood, but four Walter Tiger Tuebingen Tiger players staying on board to wear the yellow and green instead moving on to a new cage somewhere else next season. In the world of basketball where money usually reigns, the news of Vaughn Duggins, Tyrone Nash, Reggie Redding and Josh Young staying has been as delightful, but also as seemingly unlikely as believing a woman would be capable of stripping at a Denver airport for fun, singer Melissa Etheridge´s former domestic partner having the audacity to burn one of their kids, basketball players having the nerve to crack jokes at the disappearing hair line of NBA superstar Lebron James or some filthy rich NBA player deciding to work overtime as a dead beat dad. Despite missing the playoffs, the Walter Tigers Tuebingen and their four Americans who will be returning next season marched into the Fraport arena and showed the Skyliners that they could be a team to be reckoned with next season beating them 96-89 in OT. “The key to team sports is keeping the team nucleus. If you look at Bamberg, they have been doing it for years and been successful. I remember when I played with Giessen, we played against Frankfurt who were successful holding guys like Tyrone Ellis and Chris Williams. It has been great playing with the young guys even if it felt weird at times being the oldest this season. I have seen them develop and come into their own and I believe that next season they could be a very dangerous team”, warned ex Oldenburg point guard Lou Campbell. Skyliner Jimmy Mckinney rarely changes his demeanor after a win or a loss, but one knows quickly that the team has lost by the brittle tone of his voice. Both teams are very much different and better than the first time they met and the American saw a very much better team than what the standings show. “This is a great team with a lot of young talent. There is no reason why this team is where it is in the standings. They hit everything and we just couldn´t get over the hump”, expressed St Louis native Jimmy Mckinney. “Nobody thought that we had a chance at the start of the season with such a young team. Many thought we would go down, but we love to play for each other and coach Igor Perovic. We got better as the season carried on with experience and learning about the league, said Walter Tigers Tuebingen guard Reggie Redding.
The game had big playoff ramifications for the Fraport Skyliners in that they would have been qualified for the 2012 Beko BBL playoffs with a win, but with a loss would have to keep hoping to reach the promised land with a do or die win in Bonn next weekend. The Fraport Skyliners have been giving up an average of 59 points in the last 10 games prior to the Tuebingen game, but left their physical and team basketball back on the court in Trier as they had given up 82 points after 40 minutes and 15 points in the five minute OT period. “Tuebingen played a great game out playing us and out hustling us. They simply wanted to win more than we did. Our defense was awful. But I still have to give them a lot of credit, because they hit a lot of tough shots. We left the middle open all day long. This was similar to the Goettingen game in which they took game from us”, stressed ex Phoenix Hagen forward Jacob Burtschi. For the Walter Tigers Tuebingen, their season was over, but they still wanted to finish strong and they also wanted to erase some unwanted history in which the team hadn´t won in Frankfurt in more than 6.5 years. The last win for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen was in the 2005-2006 season as Frankfurt lost 73-68 as Ivan Sunara was head coach, Pascal Roller was captain and Dominik Bahiense De Mello was a Beko BBL rookie. “This was a big moral win for Tuebingen. After losing here for so many years, coming in here with a young team is just phenomenal. Our young players carried the load today. Gibson and Mckinney gave us some problems, but overall, we shot very well and defended well”, added Lou Campbell. “It is good to finish the season on a strong note. We started the season very bad and we have many guys coming back next season and our goal for next season is to start strong”, stressed ex Villanova star Reggie Redding.
Before the jump ball was thrown, there were various interesting pregame things that could be observed on the court as both teams were warming up. Oklahoma natives Jacob Burtschi from Chickasha and Josh Young from Lawton had a lot to discuss while Wright State alumnist Vaughn Duggins was showing his resemblance to Artland Dragon Adam Hess with his blond mop. Many Tuebingen fans were in attendance and had special card board figures of the players including a life size one of Ruben Spoden who comes from the Frankurt area. Frankfurt was without Michael Thompson who hurt his shoulder in practice and Tuebingen without Nicolai Simon who is out for the season. When the game finally did get started it was Dashaun Wood friend Vaughn Duggins that got the first points on the board with a catch and pop jumper. Both teams then exchanged baskets as four lead changes were exchanged. Jimmy Mckinney hit a three pointer, Notre Dame alumnist Tyrone Nash made some pretty stutter steps and hit over Tim Ohlbrecht, but it was Jacob Burtschi that gave Frankfurt the lead for good at 6-4 with a three pointer from the top of the key. Frankfurt started to hit from all cylinders as Devin Gibson scored inside with his typical all business penetration and Mckinney and Quantez Robertson dropped three point bombs for the 14-6 advantage. If there was one guy Frankfurt couldn´t control was Iowa native Josh Young who is one of the few players to have made the jump from PRO B to the Beko BBL and made a fruitful transition. Young stopped the Frankfurt momentum carrying his team on a 5-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 14-11. Young who like Gibson is dangerous in the penetration somehow scored under the hoop between Burtschi and Ohlbrecht and then the next time down nailed a pull up jumper. In the last minutes, the Fraport Skyliners were able to hold the lead as Duggins scored over Jermareo Davidson and Jimmy Mckinney hit his third three pointer of the afternoon. “Frankfurt was hitting their shots, but not able to get much going inside”, added Fraport Skyliner junior Jan Novak. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 83% from outside while the Walter Tigers Tuebingen were shooting 55% from the field and 50% from outside. The rebounding was knotted at 6-6, but Tuebingen had five turnovers and Frankfurt only three turnovers.
The Walter Tigers Tuebingen had the better start in the second quarter escaping out on a mini 4-0 run as Tiger rookie Adnan Hodzic made some moves and finished with a hook shot over ex NBA player Davidson making him search for something he wears below his shorts. Josh Young then nailed a pull up jumper making the shot with the self confidence of an Oklahomian risking to be one minute away from an oncoming tornado as Tuebingen tied score 21-21. After Gibson made two free throws, it was Hodzic who took advantage of the many mismatches on the day making a hook shot over Gibson as the score was 23-23. Robertson then made a swift dribble behind the back split the defense and no look fed Davidson for a thunderous one handed dunk as Frankfurt led 25-23. The game stayed close as Tuebingen was playing more like a team that needed to win than Frankfurt as Reggie Redding scored on the penetration and made four free throws as score was 28-28. Then there was five lead changes as Lou Campbell found Lithuanian Paveles Cukinas with a lob pass and two quick points, Mckinney hit another three pointer, Cukinas scored inside again for the Tigers 32-31 lead, but Gibson used his quickness scoring hard to the hoop as Frankfurt led 33-32. Duggins gave Tuebingen the lead back 34-33 with a lay in via a quick Campbell back door pass. Gibson then hit a jumper and Burtschi another three pointer as Frankfurt led shortly before halftime 38-34. However Tuebingen still had some energy as Campbell got to the free throw line for two buckets and Young found Nash all alone down low with a no look pass as the score was 38-38. Skyliner captain Marius Nolte scored the last basket of the second quarter after a Super Tez Robertson steal. “Frankfurt let up a bit in the second quarter as Tuebingen got easy baskets and more on the transition. Frankfurt should of tried more inside. Frankfurt continued to hit big shots keeping the lead”, added Jan Novak. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and 64% from the three point line while the Walter Tigers Tuebingen were shooting 61% from the field and 50% from the three point line. Both teams were still knotted at 12 rebounds a piece. Tuebingen had nine turnovers while Frankfurt had seven turnovers.
In the third quarter, the game remained tight and exciting until the second half of the third quarter where the Walter Tigers Tuebingen were able to build a lead. Just like at the start of the second quarter, the Walter Tigers Tuebingen had the better start and sped out on a mini 4-0 run to regain the lead 42-40. Redding scored inside sneaking behind the Frankfurt defense and getting a back door pass from Young. Campbell then made a steal and went coast to coast for a quick two points as the score was tied 42-42. Frankfurt was trying to get the ball more inside as Ohlbrecht drew a foul and gave Frankfurt the 44-42 lead. Then the momentum changed in favor of the Walter Tigers Tuebingen as they made use of their advantage of the fast break as great defense translated into two transition buckets as Campbell made a steal which led to a Redding lay up, and Young then scored on the fast break after Redding made a monster block on Gibson as the Tigers led 47-44 Sometimes one just needs Super Tez Robertson to put on his superman cape and get a quick coast to coast bucket which he did. Tuebingen continued to set the tone on offense as Redding hit a jumper and they could have done more damage as Young saved a ball but passed it to the wide open Tez under the basket who made the easy lay up as Tuebingen only led 49-48. However despite Frankfurt staying with the Tigers, the Schwaben team was the more calm team and executing at a high level as they exploded on their biggest run of game at 11-1 leading 60-50. In this run, Young started it off with a three pointer, Cukinas made a jumper punishing Frankfurt as they couldn´t secure two defensive rebounds, Duggins scored twice inside and Redding hit a fade away over Davidson. Basketball remains a game of runs and Frankfurt was able to somewhat weaken the Tigers furry ending the third quarter with a 7-3 run. In the 90s it was Jordan who made basketball house calls, in the millenium it was a Kobe Bryant and this season it has been Jimmy Mckinney in Frankfurt. When Frankfurt needs a spark just say J-roc. Mckinney stepped it up nailing three consecutive shots as Frankfurt trailed only 63-57 after three quarters. “We lost our composure on defense and they executed better on offense. We let up easy buckets and we didn´t communicate well with our help defense. We were just flat on defense”, stressed Ohio native Quantez Robertson. “Coach Perovic had told us to stick to our team concept of defending well and getting out on transition and we were able to do that”, stressed Lou Campbell. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 42% from the field and 53% from the parking lot while the Walter Tigers Tuebingen were shooting 64% from the field and 44% from the parking lot. Tuebingen had the 23-17 rebound edge, but 13 turnovers while Frankfurt had only 10 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Walter Tigers Tuebingen picked up where they had left off in the third quarter blasting out on an 8-0 run to lead 71-57 and silencing the Fraport arena about as quickly as Natchos are being bought during the game. Duggins started the attack with a three pointer, Young scored inside as help defense continued to be off the main course and Redding finished the fast break with a basket as Tuebingen led 71-57. Everybody was wondering when the comeback would commence and it slowly would as Frankfurt retaliated with a 7-0 run battling back to 71-64 slicing the lead in half. Ohlbrecht got to the free throw line twice and Gibson nailed a three pointer. The Frankfurt come back was being annoyed a bit with continued easy baskets inside as Duggins escaped inside and scored high off the glass over Ohlbrecht and Adnan Hodzic made an easy lay up as Tuebingen still led 75-66. Frankfurt continued to use their own claws and kept chipping away at the Tigers lead as Burtschi, Gibson and Tez all scored free throws as Frankfurt suddenly only trailed 75-72 and the 5000 sold out crowd was back to life. The last two minutes were pure excitement as one could feel that the Skyliners would sometime retake the lead. Ohlbrecht made a big offensive rebound and put back and Mckinney three free throws gave Frankfurt the 77-76. But the Tigers also have their array of players that can make big shots as Hodzic hit a clutch bomb from outside giving Tuebingen the 79-77 lead back. “Hodzic has improved so much this season. He is a lot more aggressive now”, warned Josh Young. Frankfurt didn´t get nervous, but erupted on a 5-0 run to lead 82-79 as Gibson scored inside and Gibson and Mckinney made free throws. With 30 seconds to go, Redding hit a mammoth three pointer to knot the game at 82-82. Redding showed his eye of the tiger not only making this shot, but through out the game as he finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists. “I play to win. I bring a versatile game and just try to get the big buckets, rebounds and assists”, stressed Reggie Redding. “Redding brings so many different elements to the game. He is so versatile and creates so many mis match problems for teams. His biggest attribute today was his toughness how he hit that big three to bring the game into OT”, added Josh Young. With 10,1 seconds to go, the Fraport Skyliners had one more chance to win the game, but Mckinney missed a floater as the game went into OT. “We had a nice lead, but let it slip away. They have a great team and made big shots. That is what great teams do”, added Reggie Redding. “We fought back in the fourth quarter. We showed a lot of character and self confidence in making the shots”, added Jimmy Mckinney. “We had mental lapses in the fourth quarter. Frankfurt is really tough at home. They made many desperation shots”, commented Lou Campbell. “We limited them on the offensive end and got fast break baskets. Mckinney hit big shots and we got key steals”, expressed Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 39% from the field and 43% from outside while the Walter Tigers Tuebingen were shooting 59% from the field and 37% from outside. Tuebingen had the 33-26 rebound edge, but 17 turnovers while Frankfurt only had 11 turnovers.
In the overtime, both teams quickly exchanged baskets as Duggins scored inside as the Tigers punished Frankfurt on the boards again as Hodzic secured two offensive rebounds. Robertson tied the score at 85-85 with a lay in. However then all of a sudden as if the Fraport Skyliners had seen a tiger ghost, the guests sped out on a 6-0 run getting to the foul line as Redding and Young hit free throws for the 91-85 lead. Robertson found one last breath of energy scoring inside cutting the Tuebingen lead to 91-87. However Tuebingen stayed strong as Cukinas scored inside and Duggins hit two free throws as Frankfurt trailed 95-87. Campbell then made a quick steal with one minute to play securing the win for the Tigers. With 30 seconds to play, Mckinney was able to add to his best Beko BBL point total with a lay up and Redding hit one free throw as the Tigers snapped the five game winning streak of Frankfurt. Running out of gas wasn´t an option of the Fraport Skyliners. “We didn´t run out of gas. We just weren´t focused, didn´t get stops and were unable to execute”, added Jimmy Mckinney. “We didn´t lose focus and didn´t let Mckinney get going. Many guys made big plays”, added Reggie Redding. “In the OT, it is always, who wants it more and they showed early that they wanted it more getting offensive rebounds”, commented Jacob Burtschi.
The Walter Tigers Tuebingen were led by Reggie Redding with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Vaughn Duggins added 22 points and six rebounds. Josh Young contributed 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Adan Hodzic produced 11 points, and six rebounds. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jimmy Mckinney with 28 points. Devin Gibson had 20 points and six assists. Quantez Robertson had 13 points, three rebounds and six assists. Tim Ohlbrecht had 13 points and nine rebounds. Jacob Burtschi had 10 points. Mckinney is playing in his sixth season and it is a huge amazement that the American has never had more than 22 points in a Beko BBL game which he achieved as a rookie in Karlsruhe. “This has been the break out year for Jimmy Mckinney. This is the best that I have seen him. He is very aggressive this year. I always knew that he can score this much. It isn´t so much a shock that he had never had more than 22 points in a game before today. If you look at the supporting cast that he has had in Frankfurt the last years”, stressed Lou Campbell. Frankfurt had a weak day under the boards being out rebounded 41-29 and got hammered inside with 44 points from Tuebingen. The defense will have to find to its old ways in Bonn. The Fraport Skyliners now have a do or die game in Bonn this weekend. With a win, they will be able to secure a spot in the playoffs. “That is going to be a real war in Bonn. These are the type of games that players live for. I would like to see it, but I will be having a game myself. I think that both teams match up well”, warned Lou Campbell