What do you get in basketball terms with the numbers 57, 55, 56, two trenches without dirt, guns, smoke, blood, tears, but 10 players exhausted from constant battle? Well you get a description of the last three games between the Fraport Skyliners and s.Oliver baskets Wurzburg that had resembled battles in the trenches so fierce that at times it was too difficult to even imagine what players were going through with the intense competitiveness, brute, fatigue and never die attitude in those three games. In the last three meetings between Frankfurt and Wurzburg a total of only 338 points were scored, Frankfurt averaged only 57 points in the three games, Wurzburg averaged only 55 points and between the two clubs both teams averaged only 56 points. In these three basketball battles, the Fraport Skyliners came out on top with a 2-1 record. Guys who were on the court in all three games were Jason Boone, John Little, Quantez Roberstson and Danilo Barthel. After each game, one could almost experience the pain of the players as it looked like they had been to war, but in the most ferocious basketball terms as body and mind had been blown away by intense basketball battle. Two players who had been on the court in the 2011-2012 season in Wurzburg where Frankfurt won round one of the battle of Wurzburg 56-51 were Jacob Burtschi and Ricky Harris who had been playing in Bremerhaven and Italy last season. It is slowly becoming tradition when you get these two teams on the court, there will be little offense and full throttle defense and in the fourth game since the start of the trench battles, The Fraport Skyliners and s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg put the trench battles on the back burner getting a bit distanced from defense and giving the fans some full throttle offense as the Fraport Skyliners came back to defeat the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg 89-78. Tony Gaffney friend Ricky Harris played in the first battle of Wurzburg in the 2011-2012 season and had an explanation for the more firepower tonight. “I remember that Justin Gray buzzer beater in Frankfurt and watched the game in Wurzburg last season. I think that both teams still defend, but are better offensively. Both teams have more offensive weapons and it is just a matter of different teams and different players”, stated Ricky Harris. Jacob Burtschi also took part in the first battle of Wurzburg and agrees with Harris. “There are different teams and different players, but also the defense is still good, but today many guys hit tough shots against good defense that weren´t falling in previous games”, added Jacob Burtschi.
The total 50 points of Andy Rautins and Dawan Robinson might have stole the show of Tweety Carter after 40 minutes, but in the first half it was Carter that was giving the Fraport Skyliners fits as he hit the home team with 20 points. He was one of the main reasons why the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg were having a 47-40 lead at the break. It really doesn´t matter where the 26 year old diminutive 180cm guard from Louisiana has played, he has always known how to put the ball in the net. “Tweety has been great and can score very well. He can play numerous positions, has a great character and is a good guy. He also can find his teammates. I think that if he keeps working he could be the best point guard in the league”, stressed teammate Ricky Harris. Two seasons ago in Israel for Bnei Eshet Tours Hasharon (Israel-Premier League) he was third in scoring with 20,7ppg and led the league with 7,1apg. Despite these stats, he is often seen more as a scoring point guard, but that doesn´t hurt him. “I have had that title my whole career. Coach Schroeder tells me to be aggressive and I am a scorer. I have been doing it in high school and college, but I understand that it has to be different with Wurzburg in that I need to find my teammates and I want to”, stressed Carter. In the first half one could see his amazing scoring qualities, confidence and desire to take responsibility as he was hitting three pointers at a similar rate like Andi Rautins does. “He did a great job knocking down big shots and he has the tools to be one of the best in the BBL. You have to give credit to Dawan Robinson who closed him down in the second half”, added Jacob Burtschi. Fraport Skyliner Andi Rautins exchanged numbers after the game and already knew what he was capable since his battles with Syracuse against Baylor. “He can really light it up. I think this is a good league for him”, commented ex NBA player Andi Rautins. The real name of Carter is Demond, but he was given the nickname tweety by his grandmother due to the sound of his crying as a baby. He used to the name. “When I started to cry, my grandmother put on the cartoon Tweety, and I would stop to cry. When I was crying it sounded like a bird. The only time I was called by my real name Demond was when I was in trouble”, smilied Tweety Carter His teammate Jamal Boykin has known him since childhood and has the utmost respect for the American. “I know him since seventh grade when we played in a camp. He scored 74 points in a high school game and really knows how to score. He gets his team in flow and is an unselfish player. He can get you many points quick. I didn´t even know his name was Demond, I only knew him as tweety”, joked Jamal Boykin.
The Fraport Skyliners were coming off a huge win in Bremerhaven, but also had to digest the absence of Quantez Robertson who will miss up to three months on account of a knee injury. The Fraport Skyliners closed out the week with a huge 89-78 win against the s.Oliver Baskets and are on a two game winning streak heading into the tough game against FC Bayern Munich. The win was the R&R show of Andi Rautins and Dawan Robinson who combined for 50 of the 89 Frankfurt points and looked like a basketball version of the dynamic duo with Robinson being the leader as Bat Man and his side kick the boy wonder as Rautins who traded in the usual slick comments with big shots from all over the court. “It was great to have Dawan Robinson back. He just gives us so much experience on the court. I think we all played well as a team”, stressed Andy Rautins. For Dawan Robinson, he had a lot to prove after his suspension, but he was happy with the team win, play of Rautins and relationship with head coach Gordon Herbert. “We made important defensive stops. Carter killed us in the first half and we just wanted to focus on their two offensive weapons Carter and Mckinney. Rautins is one of the best shooters that I have played with along with Jimmy Baron. He takes so much pressure off me and the offense. A great thing is that he can also pass the ball. It is just a great joy to play with him. It felt good to play again. I have cleared up the differences that I had with coach. He did the right thing suspending me for the Bremerhaven game. Our focus now is too keep looking forward to getting more wins and just progressing”, warned Philadelphia native Dawan Robinson. For the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg, it was their fourth loss in a row and they are at the bottom of the Beko BBL standings. The pressure keeps mounting for the team that has a talented team, but just can´t seem to finish out games to their advantage. “We won each quarter except the fourth quarter where we gave up 31 points. We can´t let that happen. We continue to lose games at the end. Coach always gets us ready for games, but he can´t play for us. We have to find a way to win games and not let the opponent capitalize on our mistakes”, warned ex Baylor player Tweety Carter. Wurzburg guard Ricky Harris who wasn´t 100% didn´t have much left after the win except giving credit to the Fraport Skyliners. “It was a hard fought game, but Frankfurt just wanted it more”, stressed Ricky Harris.
4,080 fans turned out for the Frankfurt-Wurzburg derby.The Fraport Skyliners started without Dawan Robinson going with Konstantin Klein, Andy Rautins, Jacob Burtschi, Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtmann. It was no secret that any game without defensive specialist Quantez Robertson won´t be easy, but Gordon Herbert made good adjustments as the team were able to make positive use of them getting out to a 9-3 lead. Danilo Barthel got Frankfurt on the board first with a hard lay in over Frankfurt native Ruben Spoden, but before Frankfurt could recover it was Tweety Carter who made his presence felt dropping a three pointer for the Wurzburg 3-2 lead. Frankfurt then made two beautiful offensive plays as Rautins showed his good eye seeing Johannes Vogtmann as open as a prairie in Iowa in the lane as the big man stuffed home the ball. Then it was time for Danilo Barthel to show his dunk ability as it was Vogtmann that found the Heidelberg native. Rautins then closed out the run with his first three pointer. Frankfurt was showing a lot of offensive zeal dazzling the home crowd with the extra pass and stimulating dunks. The acrobatic play and ball movement seemed to shock the Wurzburg defense. However Wurzburg slowly found a rhythm on offense closing out the first quarter with a pounding 16 -4 run as all of a sudden the perfect Frankfurt offense had disingerated. 2010 Eurochallenge winner John Little started off the run with a lay in which was followed by a Jimmy Mckinney three pointer. Robinson then was inserted into the game, but didn´t do any damage yet. Rautins hit a floater, but American Jamal Boykin hit consecutive baskets with a tip in and mid distance jumper. Carter hit another three pointer as Wurzburg led after one quarter 19-13. “We had some defensive breakdowns in the first few minutes where they moved the ball well and did a good job with the extra pass. We then got our offense going and made adjustments on defense”, stressed Tweety Carter. “We did a good job moving the ball at the start. They came back knocking down tough shots”, added Jacob Burtschi. The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg were shooting 44% from the field and 33% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and 17% from outside. Wurzburg had the 10-8 rebound edge and two turnovers while Wurzburg had three turnovers.
The second quarter was very exciting as it was the quarter of runs and lead changes. The Fraport Skyliners quickly started off the second quarter with a bang going on a 6-0 run to knot the game at 19-19. Vogtmann and Rautins did a fine job drawing fouls and hitting free throws. Robinson then did what he does best penetrating to the hole and getting as easy bucket. Robinson does it as good as any player in the Beko BBL. St Louis native Mckinney then nailed a three pointer, which was countered by a pretty Barthel hook shot, but ex Bucknell center Chris Mcnaughton who had been quiet scored inside as Wurzburg led 24-21. Mcnaughton then got a technical foul with a small scuffle with Jacob Burtschi which changed the momentum a bit then and led to a big 8-0 run for Frankfurt and 29-24 lead. The Burtschi free throws were led by Barthel and Rautins three pointers. Wurzburg must of thought what Frankfurt can do so can we as they went on a 6-0 run to regain the lead 30-29. Bonne and Mckinney hit free throws and Carter scored. Then it was time for a Frankfurt run of 5-0 as they regained the lead 34-30 as Rautins nailed another three pointer and Robinson free throws. Then it was a Wurzburg run of 8-0 to regain the lead 38-34 as Carter and Mckinney dropped three pointers. In the last minutes, Wurzburg was able to keep the lead as Carter remained hot hitting a mid distance jumper and ridiculous bomb over Burtschi. Boykin scored inside as well Robinson closed out the second quarter netting home a reverse layup in traffic at the buzzer as Wurzburg led 47-40. “We did a good job getting stops when we needed to and hitting shots when we needed too. We did a better job rebounding the ball than in the first quarter”, added Tweety Carter. Wurzburg knocked down tough shots which killed us. Mckinney also hit big shots. We missed some rotations where they capitalized on”, stressed Jacob Burtschi, The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg were shooting 47% from the field and 44% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 48% from the field and 33% from the three point line. Wurzburg had the rebound edge 19-12 and only four turnovers while Frankfurt had seven turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners got off to a good start in the third quarter as Andi Rautins knocked down another three pointer as he was left open in the corner, but the quarter belonged to Wurzburg. Frankfurt then was hit with a 6-0 Wurzburg run as they extended their lead to 53-43. John Little connected on a floater and Mcnaughton scored consecutive baskets in the paint. On the first bucket, it was Carter who showed his game intelligence as he penetrated, but saw that he couldn´t get to the hole and made a quick decision finding Mcnaughton for the easy score. Rautins then showed his passing qualities once again finding Senegal center Aziz N’Diaye twice for easy scores, but ex ratiopharm Ulm forward Sebastian Betz kept the Skyliners at bay with a big three pointer as Wurzburg led 56-47. Carter who was kept quiet in the second quarter nailed a shot from the parking lot as Wurzburg led 59-47. It seemed like Wurzburg was in control and could make a run, but it was Robinson who made some big plays to keep the Wurzburg lead never at more than 10 points. Robinson made a steal and went coast to coast and then he set up Danilo Barthel with a ferocious ally-op dunk as Frankfurt trailed 61-54. Both teams then scored twice a piece as Boykin connected from down town and N’Diaye snatched an offensive board and made a put back. Mckinney then showed some of his penetration skills with a lay in and as was the case at the end of the second quarter, it was Robinson again that made a last second bucket with a lay in as Frankfurt trailed 66-58. “We were more aggressive, rebounded well and got stops”, said Tweety Carter. “We had ups and downs in the third quarter, but we never let Wurzburg run away with the game. They did a good job getting offensive boards”, added Jacob Burtschi. The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg were shooting 52% from the field and 48% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and 28% from the parking lot. Wurzburg had the 29-18 rebound advantage, but 10 turnovers while Frankfurt had eight turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners started off the fourth quarter with a strong 7-0 run to cut the Wurzburg lead to 66-65. Robinson started the surge with one of his usual unstoppable penetration drives. Barthel then made a pair of free throws. Rautins then hit a tough three pointer from the corner and was fouled. He was unable to make the and one, but Oklahoma native Jacob Burtschi made a typical heads up play by him saving the ball and throwing the ball off a Wurzburg player which changed the momentum of the game. “I think was the deciding point of the game which gave Frankfurt the momentum in coming back and winning the game”, added Ricky Harris. Wurzburg golden role player Sebastain Betz then hit a huge three pointer keeping the 68-65 lead for Wurzburg. On the next offensive set, it was Jacob Burtschi that found his range tying the game at 68-68 with a three pointer. Both teams were playing their heart out as neither team was going to let the other escape on a run. German Maurice Stuckey then hit a sensational three pointer, but the 71-68 Wurzburg lead didn´t hold long as Andi “give me the ball in need” Rautins hit a in your face three pointer as Betz was too late as the game was dead locked at 71-71. Robinson then scored inside as he was doing what he wanted in his play ground as Frankfurt led 73-71 and would never trail again. Rautins then made free throws for the 75-71 Frankfurt lead. Little put a little scare in the Frankfurt lead with a shot from down town as Wurzburg trailed only 75-74. The game remained exciting as Wurzburg weren´t going to lay down and surrender. Frankfurt then scored on a weird play as Rautins made a shot that hit perfectly off the back board that Barthel caught for the dunk. Mcnaughton answered with a turn around shot as Frankfurt led 77-76. With a few minutes to go, both teams had five turnovers and it was interesting to see two would have the better nerves at the free throw line down the stretch. After Little hit one free throw and cut the Frankfurt lead to 80-78, Skyliner head coach Herbert called a time out. It wasn´t hard to figure out that either Rautins or Robinson would get the call. It was Robinson finding daylight and getting the easy lay in and free throw as Frankfurt led 83-78 sealing the win. “Robinson is so quick and uses his body well for separation. He felt bad that he couldn´t play in Bremerhaven and he helped us win. He is a special player”, commented Jacob Burtschi. Burtschi then closed out the game with four free throws. “I honestly didn´t think their defense was better in the fourth quarter. It was the same scrappy style. The only difference was that they got stops and capitalized on our mistakes”, stressed Tweety Carter.
The Fraport Skyliners were led by Andy Rautins with 28 points, five rebounds and five assists. Dawan Robinson added 22 points. Danilo Barthel contributed 16 points and Jacob Burtschi Mustered 10 points and nine rebounds. The s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg were led by Tweety Carter with 24 points, four rebounds and four assists. Jimmy Mckinney added 13 points while Jamal Boykin chipped in with 13 points and six rebounds. Frankfurt shot 49% from the field and 36% from outside while Wurzburg shot 44% from the field and 41% from outside. Wurzburg won the rebound duel 35-32. Frankfurt did a great job dominating the zone with 38-22 points in the paint. Wurzburg is 0-4 and the last thing that they can do is panic. “ We always feel pressure as a team to win during a losing streak, but we can´t hnag our heads now. We need to concentrate on the next game. We know that the fans stand behind us and give us the energy”, warned Tweety Carter. Despite the two game winning streak, the Fraport Skyliners are still not at the top level they can be and still need time. “We still have to get Andy Rautins and Aziz N’Diaye integrated, but we are coming together. The extra pass is there, but we are only at 80% and can get better on offense and defense”, warned Jacob Burtschi.