It only seems like yesterday that a boyish, tall, inexperienced lanky 17 year old Robin Benzing played his first season with second Bundesliga club TV Langen. The year was 2006 as he was already displaying his talent with American teammate Ty Shaw who now coaches that team or Igor Starcevic who know coaches PRO B team Licher Basket Baeren. Benzing developed nicely in Langen the first two seasons and then really exploded in his third year 2008-2009 where put up 18,7ppg, 4,4rpg, 1,1apg, 1,0spg and 1,1bpg and was also playing with the big boys with the Deutsche Bank Skyliners 15 kilometers north in Frankfurt and was dreaming of the Beko BBL. He had a game that looked like that of German national player Jan Jagla, but in appearance looked totally different with his short cut army type haircut and looked like the friendly kid next door. He had the height of a power forward, but could play like a small forward that would create numerous mismatches during games. He could already hurt you with his shot at a young age and penetrate like a mal nourished bear as he demonstrated during the 2009 European championships in Poland putting up sweet stats without ever having played a game in the Beko BBL. Many Frankfurt fans had hoped that he might make the jump to the Deutsche Bank Skyliners, but instead went south to ratiopharm Ulm where D league head coach Mike Taylor of the Maine Red Claws gave him freedom and sufficient playing time and was able to develop further. Benzing was top German scorer in the 2010-2011 season with 15,1ppg. After that potent season, it was only obvious that he would make the next step and did moving to famous German name team FC Bayern Munich. In his first season, his production slipped dramatically, but he was packed into a stronger and deeper roster. However he seemed to have received some fortune with the move bringing legendary head coach Svetislav Pesic to the Isar as he has improved and been in the starting lineup and there is no more talk about his development stalling, but he now seems headed into becoming a leading player in a club staked with top American players. His potential is unending and talk of getting to the NBA is present again. Benzing returned back to Frankfurt with Bayern Munich after losing last season there with FC Bayern Munich for a fourth time and led the most famous German team in Germany to a 73-59 victory. That Benzing is a much liked player there is no surprise. “I coached Robin in the Hessen team when he was 15 and in the A-2 German national team. I said many years ago that he has much potential and was a bit surprised that he wasn´t drafted. What I like about his game that he is never afraid and has that killer instinct. I see him making the NBA. In Treviso where top players play for a chance for the NBA, he was over motivated. In Treviso, it can be tough for a player to get noticed since the play is so crazy as it is difficult to observe the strength of a player. He didn´t shoot so well in Treviso which hurt his rating. Robin shoots so well for his height at the position three. He really has the right head on his shoulder. His summer program helped him a lot get more self confidence and I think that he has made a big step in the last months. The arrival of Pesic has helped him as he has more confidence and gets the green light. Pesic is perfect coach for him as he will improve and gain more experience”, stressed basketball expert Steven Clauss. Benzing finished the game with a team high 21 points and eight rebounds on six for nine shooting in 30 minutes. After the win Benzing was humble and taking his performance in stride like a real professional. “I really looked forward to this game since I am from here and my family was here, but I was concentrated on my work and the win was most important. My teammates found me and I hit my shots. But this was a team win”, stressed Robin Benzing. Fraport Skyliner Ted Scott was impressed with the German national player. “I liked the game of Benzing. He played a heck of a game made his shots and could also put it to the floor. I am sure if he could find the right system that he could bring it in the NBA”, stressed Ted Scott. It is no secret that Benzing is a new player under head coach Svetislav Pesic. “I am playing a lot better under Pesic. I think my game suits his system. But I think as a whole, the whole team is playing better under Pesic not only me”, added Robin Benzing.
FC Bayern Munich came into the game riding on a four game winning streak and had impressively averaged 109 points in those four wins. With only having scored 36 points at halftime, it was rather apparent that the team wouldn´t be able to reach that whopping average, but in the end trends are to be broken and a win is a win no matter if you score 123 points or only 73 points. “We aren´t Bamberg that can come in here and all are afraid and they depart with a 20 point win. After the win FC Bayern Munich sport director Marko Pesic didn´t smile, but had a serious demeanour and one could sense that he was relieved that they won. “We didn´t go into the game with the right intensity. Frankfurt never gave up and didn´t make it easy for us. We played good defense and that is why we won. In the past we would have lost games like this, so this was a very important win for us”, warned FC Bayern sport director Marko Pesic. Lasts eason, FC Bayern Munich stunk up the Fraport arena losing and fleeing from the arena wanting to forget the embarrassment as quickly as possible. For the players that remained from last season, there was a huge revenge factor on their minds. “That was a tough loss last season. We didn´t want to lose here again like that. It was important to remember that loss, but not too much”, added Marko Pesic. “This season is different than last season. I didn´t have that revenge factor on my mind. A win is a win and it is important to keep the confidence on the road”, stressed Iowa native Jared Homan. After averaging giving up 86 points in the last five games, but averaging scoring 109 points in the last four games, FC Bayern Munich did a role reversal with their offense and defense and made an important experience that will help them for the future. “This was a good win. It was good not too win by 30 points or make more than a 100 points. We weren´t hitting our shots so we had to rely on defense. We learned today that if we defend well and play average offense that we can still win”, warned Iowa native Jared Homan.
The Fraport Skyliners entered the game with a lot of momentum after their big win 72 hours earlier against BBC Bayreuth. With the Fraport Skyliners resting in 16th place and every win as necessary as it is for the LTi Giessen 46ers for the fight to stay in the league, the team had a tough opponent with FC Bayern Munich and played well, but just couldn´t keep the level of the opponent for 40 minutes or match their talent level. “We had a good first half sticking with them, but they came out with even more intensity in the second half and just wore us down using their size and we couldn´t keep up. It wasn´t like they had one big man like BBC Bayreuth did, but they had four big men. They just knew how to use their size and it took a toll on us. It gets tring going against a Homan or Troutman who goes so hard on every play. We also didn´t have some plays go in our favor”” stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Dawan Robinson. Even if the Fraport Skyliners seemed to get tired in the second half, they continued to give their all one trait that has never eluded the team this season. “We fought fought and fought, but in the end were unable to make the little plays. They capitalized on it on offense and defense. They defended very well and took us out of our rhythm”, added Fraport Skyliner guard Devin Gibson.
It isn´t only in soccer that wherever FC Bayern Munich is that there is a full house, but also in the Beko BBL. 5,002 people wanted to see the game and didn´t see a quick run by FC Bayern Munich, but a very exciting and pretty even game in the first half. Ted Scott got the Fraport Sklyiners on the board first with his patent quick release from his holster and burying a three pointer. FC Bayern Munich center Jared Homan responded with a dunk after freeing himself from Zach Peacock and getting a nifty pass from Tyrese Rice. Peacock then got going hitting a mid distance shot and getting down the floor like a 100 meter sprinter and catching the opponent napping getting an easy lay up as FC Bayern Munich trailed 7-4. The Fraport Skyliners continued to be in a special basketball offense trance as they were hitting on a consistent rate. Quantez Robertson split the defense making a reverse lay up and Devin Gibson then found Ted Scott running the floor and f ed him for the dunk as the Fraport Skyliners led 11-6. The Fraport Skyliners were playing very intelligent knowing when to make the game fast and playing hard nosed defense as Munich was still looking for their rhythm. Robin Benzing kept FC Bayern Munich in the game with an open jumper, but Ted Scott connected with a three pointer over Benzing as the Fraport Skyliners led 14-9. Robin Benzing continued to have the soft touch as he drilled another three pointer this time over Dion Dowell as FC Bayern Munich trailed 14-13. Dowell then connected for a three pointer, but it was Benzing again hitting his third three pointer of the game as FC Bayern Munich led 18-17 after one quarter. “Frankfurt was playing good defense, rebounding well and eliminating second chances. Frankfurt also did a good job getting out on the fast break. They also tried to get Zach Peacock going early which worked”, stressed ex Bradley forward Taylor Brown. FC Bayern Munich was shooting 33% from the field and 50% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 37% from the field and 30% from outside. FC Bayern Munich led the rebound duel 12-9, but had three turnovers while Frankfurt had one turnover.
In the second quarter, the game continued to be dominated by defense as scoring presented a problem especially for FC Bayern Munich who had been scoring so at ease in the last four games averaging 109 points per game. After only coughing up the ball one time in the first quarter, The Fraport Skyliners registered eight turnovers in the second quarter as FC Bayern Munich upped their defense. Chevon Troutman who reached three NCAA Sweet 16 games with Pittsburgh open the scoring with a lay in as FC Bayern Munich led 20-17. Quantez Robertson then tested his 29% three point shooting percentage dropping a big three pointer dead locking the game at 20-20. Troutman then scored again inside and Peacock made a beautiful spin move on the base line around Benzing as the Fraport Skyliners got the lead back 23-22. FC Bayern Munich then went on a mini 4-0 run continuing to power the ball inside as Troutman got his third lay in and Homan battled for the offensive rebound and registered a put back as FC Bayern Munich led 26-23. Peacock continued to be in the zone scoring inside getting fed perfectly from Robinson as the game was tied again at 26-26. Scott then beat Yotam Halperin one on one giving Frankfurt the 29-28 advantage. It didn´t take the veteran of 140 Euroleague games make good of his mistake on Scott as he connected on a three pointer as FC Bayern led 31-29. Peacock then hit two free throws as the game was knotted 31-31. With a minute to go, FC Bayern capitalized on a Dowell miss and Gibson turnover as 2008 ULEB cup winner Jan Jagla nailed a three pointer and Benzing made a tip in as FC Bayern Munich led 36-31. “Munich started to hit three pointers and got more second chances. We missed more shots and didn´t get as many shots up. We needed to get out quicker on the shooters and know where they were, but Frankfurt wasn´t doing that”, stressed Taylor Brown. FC Bayern Munich was shooting 35% from the field and 42% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 44% from the field and 36% from the three point line. Frankfurt still trailed on the boards 22-14 and had nine turnovers while FC Bayern Munich had six turnovers.
In the third quarter FC Bayern Munich came out with more intensity than the Fraport Skyliners and were rewarded with a 7-2 run as they led 43-33. The positive thing about FC Bayern Munich is that even if a Robin Benzing is hot and their inside players Homan and Troutman are scalding, then there are still other guys that will produce as did Brandon Thomas who played at Umass with ex Bonn forward Tony Gaffney. Thomas was very active on offense scoring inside and hitting a three pointer. Jared Homan also scored as he battled for position got the ball and threw the ball hard into the basket like an angry farmer throwing a spoiled corn on the cob into a barrel after a down pour. Scott interrupted the run with a pretty runner of the glass. Despite the Munich run and momentary momentum, it didn´t hinder Frankfurt from sneaking on a 5-0 run to cut the Munich lead to 43-38. Frankfurt played aggressive defense in this run forcing FC Bayern Munich to three consecutive turnovers and Robertson and captain Marius Nolte scoring. However, FC Bayern Munich was able to halt this run and close out the third quarter with a 13-5 run to lead comfortably 56-43 after three quarters. In the run, FC Bayern Munich got good production from many players as Brandon Thomas dunked furiously over Dowell, Benzing and Halperin nailed three pointers and Steffan Hamann made free throws FC Bayern Munich led 56-43. “We didn´t have the same intensity on defense as in the first half. We had break downs in our execution on offense. We let them get too many transition buckets and second chances”, stressed Ted Scott. FC Bayern Munich was shooting 48% from the two point area and 25% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting34% from the two point area and 50% from the parking lot. Munich still had the rebound edge 31-23 and 12 turnovers while Frankfurt had 13 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners didn´t throw in the towel yet as they struck back with a huge 8-2 run to cut the FC Bayern Munich lead to 58-51 as there still seemed to be hope in the Fraport arena for the 2004 Beko BBL champion. Devin Gibson hit a pull up jumper, Dowell from downtown and Robertson from the parking lot. However instead of keeping the run going and getting consistent stops on defense, they allowed FC Bayern Munich to go on a 6-0 run to up their lead to 64-51. Benzing who had hurt Frankfurt all night long with his outside shooting open up his trick basket and pull out his other strength the penetration as he scored with his quick first step with his left hand. Rice also showed how quick he can find the open space in the lane scoring. If Benzing and Homan had hit their free throws better than they would have led by more. After Robertson scored inside to cut the FC Bayern Munich lead to 64-53 it was Rice again drawing a foul and hitting free thorws for the 66-53 lead. Dawan Robinson gave the Fraport Skyliners one last gasp of hope nailing consecutive three pointers as Frankfurt trailed 67-59, but time was running out and Tyrese Rice closed out the game with a own 6-0 run making two shots and free throws as FC Bayern Munich won their fifth in a row 73-59. “We did too little too late in the fourth quarter. Despite our run, they controlled the pace. We played with desperation”, added Dawan Robinson.
FC Bayern Munich was led by Robin Benzing with 21 points. Tyrese Rice added 14 points and five assists. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Zach Peacock with 15 points. Quantez Robertson added 14 points and Ted Scott 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot only 39% from the field and 31% from outside while FC Bayern Munich was solid at 40% from the field and 42% from outside. FC Bayern Munich dominated the boards 43-28. “It wasn´t a finesse game, but a physical game. We got tired and just didn´t bring the intensity that we should have on the rebound”, added Ted Scott. There was one positive aspect to the loss for the Fraport Skyliners. “We fought and never gave up. We really showed a lot of desire to win”, stressed Dawan Robinson. For FC Bayern Munich it was the fifth win in a row and it is clear that head coach Svetislav Pesic has been a big reason for the stellar play of the club. “The atmosphere is a lot different with Pesic. He knows when to be serious and when to laugh. We know what to do on the court so we just do it and it has worked”, warned Jared Homan. “My dad has found the roles for all the players. The players have understood that and transformed it into the plays on the court”, stressed Marko Pesic.