The Christmas time is a time in general to spend around the family, be thankful for everything and eat a hearty meal and see what Santa put into the stocking. In the United States a Shaq might devour a few turkeys with yummy gravy and stuffing while enjoying his flick Kazam for entertainment, in Canada a Osvaldo Jeanty might enjoy some plum pudding, in Poland a Marcin Gortat might have to explain to his NBA teammates that a day of fasting is rewarded on Christmas with herring fillets, in Russia a Andrei Kirilenko can enjoy holy supper which consists of 12 dishes one to honor each of the 12 apostles, in Spain a Ricky Rubio might be sleepless in Barcelona as a Christmas eve dinner can last to 6am with some turkey with truffles. The NBA isn´t the only place in professional basketball where the schedule runs through the holiday season. Many leagues in Europe have a break for Americans to go home, but not in the Beko BBL. In the Beko BBL, teams play on the 23rd, 26th and 27th. The Fraport Skyliners returned home after a tough loss in Tuebingen and had to practice on the 24th and 25th of December in preparation for BBC Bayreuth and had to possibly heat up a TV dinner instead of home cooking from mom. “I wanted to go home to Berlin and be home with my family, but the schedule didn´t allow it which was very tough”, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Konstantin Klein. The only positive thing for the players might have been the practices between Christmas which where they could have digested the yummy food. The Fraport Skyliners came into the game against BBC Bayreuth having to be as motivated as a super overweight Santa Claus who can´t get down the chimney, but wants and needs to to deliver those special presents to the kids and finally got back to their old ways of defending like an aggressive pitbull beating BBC Bayreuth 76-59. EX Bayer Giants Leverkusen forward Beckham Wyrick was unable to play due to a shoulder injury and remembers how difficult it is being away from the family on Christmas. “Most teams in Europe have breaks around Christmas. I am lucky that I have a German family, but I would rather be at home in the States. I remember when I was single being alone at Christmas and it was tough. It is tough for young guys out of college, but I believe it is easier in general now with all skype”, stressed Beckham Wyrick. Devin Gibson was home alone in Frankfurt for the first time, but at least could celebrate a victory. “It was tough for me being away from home for the first time. When I was in college, I was near my house so it wasn´t so hard. But it was tough seeing my family open presents and eating nice food over skype”, commented Devin Gibson.
The Fraport Skyliners came into the game riding a four game losing streak and being stuck in the cellar in 18th place like a small toddler who gets stuck in a tree and can´t go down. The Fraport Skyliners had given up an average 97 points in the last two loses against Phoenix Hagen and the Walter Tigers Tuebingen which was about as uncharachteristic as Rajon Rondo being without an assist in a game. The Fraport Skyliners understood that they had to find back to their old ways of defending hard and gave BBC Bayreuth fits all day long in their 76-59 victory at home in front of 3,370 fans. The team also knew how important the win was for getting out of the cellar. “This was a big win and big confidence booster. This win stopped the bleeding. The key in the game was keeping up the defensive momentum all throughout the game. We executed our defense and did a good job limiting their second attempts”, stressed Ohio native Ted Scott. After a quick start winning their four games, BBC Bayreuth have slipped down the ladder and are hanging to the bottom with a long way back to the top after they lost their sixth game in a row and have a 2-8 record since the fast start. Many will laud the aggressive Frankfurt defense, but it wasn´t like BBC Bayreuth didn´t have their chances. “Our biggest problem in the last games has been that we have had more than enough open looks, but we just haven´t hit them. Our backs are to the wall and the schedule isn´t getting any easier either in the future. The Fraport Skyliners deserved to win and played very hard. They did what they had to do to get the win”, stressed Beckham Wyrick.
The game also featured the seemingly role reversal of Ted Scott and Danilo Barthel and the debut of new Skyliner Dwan Robinson. On the stat sheet, it was obvious to see that the two top scorers for the Fraport Skyliners were Ted Scott and Danilo Barthel with 15 points each, but in a way the young German from Heidelberg did what Scott is known for and played sniper in the third quarter scoring 11 points and scoring in bunches something that Scott can do in his sleep. Barthel showed real sniper scoring qualities really stepping it up and keeping that offensive momentum going for the Fraport Skyliners hitting big three pointers and getting dirty work production inside. Scott spoke in high regard of his teammate about his performance. “When Danilo plays like that, he makes us so strong. Even if he is so young, I still think that he is one of our best players. I tip my hat off to Danilo, he played great”, said Fraport Skyliner guard Ted Scott. His new teammate Dwan Robinson had only seen him in a few practices was amazed by his play. “Danilo has the talent to be a great player. I am very proud of how he played”, added Dwan Robinson. 30 year old Dwan Robinson gave his debut for the Fraport Skyliners. He had had played in Italy the last years winning the 2009 cup with Kyle Hines and had a special twinkle in his eyes after the win finishing with nine points in 13 minutes. Robinson showed a knack for getting to the free throw line, hitting shots and playing defense. “I am still finding my flow, but I feel good. I love to play defense and want to show the club that I can do that. Defense wins titles. I am not really here to score, because the team has many scorers already”, added Dwan Robinson. Devin Gibson was a menace on defense getting four steals, but was happy for the help from Robinson. “Dwan is a great player. He knows how to play defense and has a high basketball IQ”, expressed Fraport Skyliners guard Devin Gibson.
The Fraport Skyliners started the game getting into an offensive rhythm quickly as the motto was give Zach the mad baller Peacock the ball and let him play as he hit his first three shots as the home team led 6-3. Offense and defense quickly got the same page as two Skyliner steals led to fast break points and dunks from Quantez Robertson and Danilo Barthel as BBC Bayreuth trailed 10-5. “We showed early that we were on the same page on defense. Everyone was helping early which got us going”, stressed Dwan Robinson. BBC Bayreuth cut the lead to 10-8 with a big Simon Schmitz three pointer. However the Fraport Skyliners closed out the first quarter with a blistering 9-2 run to lead 19-10. After Danilo Barthel made two free throws, he watched and took notes for his sniper notebook as Ted Scott scored in bunches with two jumpers. Quantez Robertson added on to the run testing his 28% three point shooting drowning a shot from downtown. The Fraport Skyliners led comfortably after one quarter 19-10. “The Fraport Skyliners had a good offensive rhythm early and played aggressive defense leading to fast break points. Frankfurt did a good job forcing Bayreuth to tough shots and getting the shot clock down”, added EWE Baskets Oldenburg guard Dominik Bahiense De Mello. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 53% from the field and 25% from outside while BBC Bayreuth was shooting 33% from the field and 25% from outside. BBC Bayreuth had the nine to six rebound edge, but nine turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners had only three turnovers.
In the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners were able to keep their healthy lead while continuing to defend very fiercely not letting BBC Bayreuth find their desired rhythm. In the first two minutes it was the Joe Trapani and Dwan Robinson show as they both contributed two buckets each. Trapani who played at Boston College together with FC Bayern Munich point guard Tyrese Rice had to pick up a lot of the load down low as Jason Cain and Gary Mcghee were contained well for the game. Trapani started the second quarter with second chance put back. Robinson then led Frankfurt on a 5-0 run with a three pointer and off balance shot in the lane. Trapani then showed his shooting touch connecting from the top of the key, but BBC Bayreuth still trailed 24-15. After Schmitz free throws, then came a very potent few minutes by the Fraport Skyliners as they forced five BBC Bayreuth turnovers in a row and were rewarded by a Ted Scott three pointer, free throws and the 29-17 lead. Frankfurt had some untimely turnovers which led to a Bryan Bailey coast to coast run and lay in and Simon Schmitz free throws for the 29-21 Frankfurt advantage. Quantez Robertson continued to be hot from the parking lot nailing another three pointer as Frankfurt led 32-21. Ex Fraport Skyliner guard Dominik Bahiense De Mello and Skyliner legend Pascal Roller were enjoying the strong Skyliner play watching the game from the seats. Trapani and Peacock exchanged buckets in the last minute as the Fraport Skyliners led at halftime 34-23. “There were phases were Frankfurt wasn´t concentrated leading to turnovers. They should have been leading by 20 points. Frankfurt was doing a great job denying Cain and Mcghee in the low post”, added ex Fraport Skyliner Dominik Bahiense De Mello. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 43% from the field and 50% from the three point line while BBC Bayreuth was shooting 31% from the field and 20% from the three point line. BBC Bayreuth led the rebound duel 21-14, but had a whopping 16 turnovers while Frankfurt had 10 turnovers.
In the third quarter came the Danilo Barthel show as he helped conserve the comfortable lead. Joe Trapani started the third quarter with free throws as BBC Bayreuth trailed 34-25. Barthel then scored inside and Kevin Hamilton made a sweet lay in while spinning to the basket. Devi n Gibson then scored on another typical BBC Bayreuth turnover on a coast to coast jaunt, while Danilo Barthel scored inside and nailed a three pointer with a sweet rainbow arc to his shot. Gibson then added a fade away and another mid distance jumper with one second on the shot clock as the Fraport Skyliners had coasted on a 11-2 run to extend their lead to 47-29. After Cain scored a rare inside shot from him on that day, it was Barthel again who was feeling in the zone dropping another three pointer which even would have had ex teammate Jimmy Mckinney chuckling in thought. The Fraport Skyliners kept playing with immense self- confidence as Quantez Robertson not only was feeling it from downtown Cincinnati, but was driving BBC Bayreuth defenders wild with his ball handling as he scored once hard with the penetration and finishing with his left hand and then with his right hand as the Fraport Skyliners led 54-35. BBC Bayreuth finished the third quarter with a 4-1 run as Gary Mcghee made an offensive rebound and put back and Bryan Bailey made free throws as the Fraport Skyliners led 55-39 after three quarters. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 51% from the field and 55% from the parking lot while BBC Bayreuth was shooting 35% from the field and 21% from the parking lot. BBC Bayreuth had the 29-19 rebound edge, but 25 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners had 15 turnovers.
The fourth quarter started with a curious play by the Fraport Skyliners as Quantez Robertson penetrated and was met with heavy BBC Bayreuth traffic and seemed like to have put up an air ball which was caught for an ally-op tip in by Dion Dowell who wasn´t much of a factor up to that point. After Mcghee free throws, it was Super Tez Robertson again who was penetrating and scoring as if that was his best quality in his game and not his defense as the Fraport Skyliners still led 59-41. Trapani then got a pass in the low post from Bailey and right away like a lightening strike slid past Peacock scoring as BBC Bayreuth still trailed 59-44. Robinson then scored four points in a row from the free throw line as Frankfurt led 63-44. Gary Mcghee then fouled out and Marco Van Den Berg countered by bringing in German Stefan Schmidt for the first time and he brought some fresh wind into the game leading BBC Bayreuth on a 7-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 63-51. Schmidt scored inside then drew a foul making free throws and Simon Schmitz added two free throws and Kevin Hamilton added a free throw. However that was as close as BBC Bayreuth would get as they went on a 13-2 run to lead 76-53 and put a lid on the BBC Bayreuth come back. Frankfurt went back to Zach Peacock giving him the ball and letting him draw fouls. He got to the free throw line three times as well as Ted Scott and Devin Gibson as 10 of the 13 points were made from the foul line. Scott contributed a three pointer in the run. “BBC Bayreuth had cut the lead to 13 points so we slowed down the game. In the past teams had sped up the game which didn´t help us. We gave the ball inside to Zach Peacock and didn´t give up easy baskets”, stressed Devin Gibson. Despite the game already decided, BBC Bayreuth closed out the game with a 6-0 run to lose 76-59. Stefan Schmidt scored inside again and Simon Schmitz hit a three pointer. “Frankfurt continued to play good defense forcing us too tough shots and limiting lay ups. We didn´t rebound so well down the stretch and lost many loose balls”, added Gary Mcghee. As the buzzer sounded, BBC Bayruth went to their fans to thank them for their support, but the club has to get on the winning track fast. “We have to get that winning mentality back fast. We seem to have this type of stigma after we lose. We have to believe that we are a better team than what we are showing”, stressed BBC Bayreuth guard Kevin Hamilton.
The Fraport Skyliners were led by Ted Scott and Danilo Barthel with 15 points a piece. Quantez Robertson added 14 points and Zach Peacock produced 13 points and eight rebounds. BBC Bayreuth was led by Joe Trapani with 16 points and ten rebounds. Simon Schmitz added 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners did a sound job in the shooting department shooting 46% from the field and 41% from outside. Even though the Fraport Skyliners had problems on the boards losing the battle 35-31, it was another strong defense performance holding BBC Bayreuth to 59 points. Even though they couldn´t contain Joe Trapani, they held Cain and Mcghee to nine points combined in 42 minutes. “Coach told us that we had to contain them and we did a good job on them. We couldn´t quite contain Trapani, but it was one of those days where he played well, but it could have been worse”, stated Ted Scott. “Frankfurt did a good job denying Cain and me on the initial ball screen forcing us to turnovers. When we did get the ball inside, they did a good job double teaming us. We didn´t execute enough”, stressed Gary Mcghee. “I had no concern about Mcghee, because Zach is an animal down low, but we knew that we had to limit Cain at what he does best and we did that”, warned Dwan Robinson. However the biggest strength in this win was the trust factor that the team regained again on defense. “It wasn´t so much to do with the x and o´s today. We had that trust factor on offense and defense. We know that we messed up some of our rotations, but we kept fighting back and trusted each other for helping and being there when one was missed. We had the determination today needed to win”, stressed Devin Gibson. Ted Scott helped elaborate the Devin Gibson trust factor as the key to success. “We had the trust factor knowing that one or another player was there to help. That made it so much better. It was so much better than in Tuebingen. In Tuebingen we were often late on help, but against BBC Bayreuth we were on top of it which was key to winning”, added Ted Scott. The Fraport Skyliners look to extend their winning streak to two games with a win against FC Bayern Munich on December 29th.