It’s Slowly Becoming A Curse As The Fraport Skyliners lose Another Crunch Time Game In Oldenburg 68-66

Waiting, waiting and waiting can be the easiest thing for some people who have patience, while for others who are as impatient as blond bombshell Marilyn Monroe was in the day, it can be the most difficult thing like when your waiting in front of the Apple store for it too open to snatch the newest gadgets, trying to focus on something positive when your at an overcrowded airport during a snow storm in Topeka, Nebraska waiting for your flight to be rescheduled, or when your trying to solve some important problem on the phone concerning some incorrect bill and have to be on hold for minutes and minutes and start humming the boring and annoying elevator music that is disturbing one´s ears. The back injury of new Fraport Skyliner Dane Watts may not have taken as long as four years to get heeled as did the long injury of NBA player Greg Oden who recently made his comeback with the Miami Heat or been as horrific and nasty as the Allan Ray injury back in college at Villanova when Pitt guard and ex Oldenburg player Carl Krauser accidently popped out his eye ball or been as annoying as it has been for NBA player Shaun Livingston to have damaged his  knee as he tore both the anterior and posterior cruciate ligament, as well as the lateral meniscus, sprained the medial collateral ligament, and dislocated his patella and tibia-femoral joint. But for the Missouri native the waiting has been tough as he has been out of action for more than a year as his last game was on January 12th, 2013 in a 95-91 road win in Oldenburg where the American steered six points, five rebounds and two assists while logging 26 minutes. After this came a long road back to recovery as he had back surgery and now finallyhad the possibility to get back on the floor again and do damage for his new team the Fraport Skyliners. Watts already was scheduled to play in Quackenbruck against the Artland Dragons more than two weeks ago, but then didn´t get the green light as the 2000 cup winner Skyliners still wanted to check his basketball fitness before letting him play, because the team had to make a wise choice to let him play or not, because the club only had one more license to give this season. Watts had to wait 393 days until touching the basketball floor again in an official game and also made his debut in the new EWE Baskets arena and despite 22 points was unable to celebrate his first game in a Skyliners jersey with a win as the Ewe Baskets Oldenburg won another squeaker against Frankfurt in their own living room 68-66. Watts looked as good as new on the court, but one could sense a bit of sadness and dam we let it get away feeling after the game. “I felt good on the court and my legs are getting stronger each game. I was happy for the most part with my game and my fitness is getting better. I feel that I am adjusting well to the system and coach gives us trust in making plays and we made plays tonight. I think that I fit well into this system as the club has guards that can make plays and bigs that like to pass the ball. I think that I can show my leadership qualities well”, stressed Missouri native Dane Watts. Watts hit four three pointers, grabbed eight rebounds including four offensive rebounds and at times was like a ghost coming out of nowhere to pounch on the ball like a cat does on a helpless mouse had three steals and one block.  Rickey Paulding had a big smile on his face after the game when he heard the name Watts. “Watts looked great. I am really happy that he is back. It is always a shame when a guy is injured. It is amazing that he came back and could play so well in his first game”, added 2004 Detroit Pistons Draft Pick Rickey Paulding. Many see Watts as only a scorer and rebounder, but Skyliner young gun Johannes Voigtmann sees unending qualities in Watts. “Watts was super tonight. He brings so many things to the court not only scoring and rebounding. His experience is so important and he is communicative on and off the court. He does so much on the court and you feel so comfortable with him on and off the court. He also has  a great character”, expressed Eisenach native Johannes Voigtmann.

You can lose once or twice in a tight roller coaster game, or let a Rickey Paulding hit you with 25 points a few times in a row, but lose in crunch time seemingly almost every year in Oldenburg is just something that after a while a guy like Quantez Robertson can say, “Ok I have had enough of this enough is enough”. For the Frankfurt Skyliners losing in crunch time in Oldenburg has been as common occurence since the 2009-2010 season as it is for Bamberg winning the German title each season or Derrick Allen unleashing his ballerina moves in each game. With the exception of the 2011-2012 season where the Fraport Skyliners won with ease in Oldenburg with plus 15 points, the  club has lost the rest of the four games at the end in the last minute without not more than a combined nine points. With Oldenburg winning at the end with two points has occurred three times while the other was a hard fought three point loss. Even with the move from the old arena to the new arena hasn´t seemed to make a change as that new growing curse seems to have wandered the extra 50 meters into the new cozier bigger living room. No player saw the past experience in games since 2009 as a curse, but moreover had to do with small basketball happenings on the court that one team did a tad little better than the other. “I think that teams in the Beko BBL are always tough at home. Oldenburg seems to always find ways to win. And sometimes very good teams like Oldenburg are able to make those last second plays better than other teams and that is what sets the very good teams apart from the rest. It was more mental down the stretch that cost us the game and they simply made a great play at the end”, expressed ex Tubingen forward Dane Watts. Indiana native Chris Kramer knew of the crunch time history, but also didn´t want to express any curse ideas, but moreover to a little more fortune of his team. “We really needed this win after the tough loss in Munich and the tough cup loss at home against Bamberg. I have to give Frankfurt a lot of credit. They played very well and Watts found his shot early and carried the team. They made big plays down the stretch, but so did we and we were lucky to come out with a win”, said ex Purdue guard Chris Kramer. Despite another crunch time loss, Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert blamed the loss on his coaching and not on history, curses or rookie Ramon Galloway who lost the ball at the end. “We had problems containing Paulding and Jenkins, but did  a good job on the rest. We fought hard and never gave up. I blame the loss on myself, because with 11 seconds to play, I put our team too early into the offense”, stated Gordon Herbert.

The Fraport Skyliners came into the game leaving a trail of the walking wounded as they were without captain Marius Nolte, forward Jacob Burtschi, guards Konstantin Klein and Kevin Bright and ex NBA player Andrew Rautins. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg lost Dominik Bahiense De Mello  recently due to an injury in practice and was walking around on crutches. He was able to see ex teammate Derrick Allen who was in the arena to see his ex team Frankfurt play after he was still recovering from the bitter loss in Bamberg the night before as the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven led for most of the game, but then like the Fraport Skyliners lost their nerves in crunch time. 4,700 people were in the new EWE Baskets arena as their team was coming off a two game losing streak while the Fraport Skyliners were still looking for their first win in 2014 and were riding a three losing streak and hadn´t played a game in 15 days. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg jumped on the Fraport Skyliners from the get go as Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding nailed two rapid three pointers for the lightening 6-2 advantage. “I felt good early and you never really know how the game will go until you hit your first or second shot. My teammates did a good job finding me after Frankfurt took our inside away”, stressed Rickey Paulding. Oldenburg had found their rhythm very early on offense getting into a groove as Lebron James friend Dru Joyce connected on a three pointer and the Dirk Nowtzki of Serbia Nemanja Aleksandrov put home an ally op pass from Joyce with a touch lay in as Oldenburg led 11-7. Frankfurt then had two big defensive plays inserting the full court press as they forced Oldenburg to two turnovers which led to Dane Watts who had just entered the game and Danilo Barthel free throws as the game was knotted 11-11. The three ball continued to reign the play of both teams as Florida native and 2008 finals MVP Julius Jenkins connected for two three pointers as Oldenburg led 18-12. Watts gave Frankfurt that much needed energy from the bench as he rode Frankfurt on a 5-0 run dropping a three pointer and getting an easy bucket inside after a nice feed from Ramon Galloway as Oldenburg led only 18-17. Dutch forward Robin Smeulders soured the good run by Frankfurt by ending the first quarter with a three pointer as 2009 Beko BBL champion EWE Baskets Oldenburg led 21-17. Oldenburg was shooting 50% from the field and 67% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 56% from the field and 33% from outside. Frankfurt had the 8-4 rebound edge, but seven turnovers while Oldenburg had only four turnovers. “We shot very well in the first quarter and you can´t complain with 67% from outside. We could mixed up the offense better with more mid distance shots”, stressed EWE Baskets Oldenburg CEO Herman Sculler.

The Ewe Baskets Oldenburg started off smoking again in the second quarter with a 7-0 run as Julius Jenkins nailed another three pointer as American Chris Kramer found him parked in the corner, Robin Smeulders connected on a runner and Paulding found Kramer cutting to the right of the hoop and he used the glass for the easy lay up as Oldenburg led 28-17. Frankfurt stayed on the comeback trail as Dane Watts started off where he had finished in the first quarter with another three pointer. Frankfurt then finished off their prettiest fast break play of the evening as Galloway scored getting the perfect outlet pass from Quantez Robertson as Frankfurt cut the Oldenburg lead to 29-23. However whenever Frankfurt was threatening to come back and get very close, it was Paulding that  kept the pressure on hitting  a three pointer for the 32-23. Frankfurt didn´t let any of that Oldenburg momentum disrupt them as they hit Oldenburg with a timely 7-0 run to cut the Oldenburg lead to 32-30. Watts led the charge and showed his game intelligence as he followed up his three point miss got the offensive board and layed the rebound home. Voigtmann than made the spectacular play of the game with  a running two handed slam dunk over Philipp Neumann and Watts struck for another shot from downtown. Oldenburg closed out the second quarter slamming the door shut on the current Frankfurt momentum with a mini 4-0 run as Smeulders hit  a jumper and made two free throws as Oldenburg led 36-30 at the break. “We suffered some very bad turnovers that we should usually never do. I thought we had some good ball movement, but at times the intensity was missing. I also think that we could have had some more offensive rebounds”, stressed Herman Schuller. “Frankfurt was showing good ball movement, but Jenkins and Paulding really hurt them. Frankfurt showed a good game withous so many players and Watts played great”, stressed ex Skyliner Derrick Allen. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 40% from the field and 50% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 42% from the field and 50% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 17-16 rebound edge, but had 10 turnovers while Oldenburg had eight turnovers.

In the third quarter, the EWE Baskets Oldenburg continued to have control of the game, but the Fraport Skyliners rallied from as much as nine points down and cut the game to 49-49 after three quarters. Ramon Galloway nailed a three pointer as Frankfurt cut the lead to 36-33, but the Fraport Skyliners continued to have no remedy for the hot shooting of Paulding as he drilled two in a row quickly giving Oldenburg the 42-33 advantage. Frankfurt never hung their heads despite the solid Oldenburg shooting braced the pressure and mostly had an answer. Barthel who once didn´t attempt a three pointer made a brilliant shot over Aleksandrov while Joyce had room for a big three pointer while Galloway nailed a huge three pointer over Chris Kramer as Oldenburg led only 45-38. Frankfurt kept rallying and didn´t let the two missed dunks by Aziz Ndiaye ruin their comeback scoring as Jarred Dubois who had been quiet scored inside as did Watts and Oldenburg led 48-43. Robertson and Galloway continued to take advantage of the weak Oldenburg zone defense scoring inside as the score suddenly was dead locked at 47-47. A Freese and Wysocki free throw and Galloway free throws had the game tied at 49-49 after three quarters. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 41% from the field and 45% from the parking lot while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 34% from the field and 42% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 31-26 rebound edge, but 12 turnovers while Oldenburg had 10 turnovers.

The fourth quarter started off with a bang as ex Skyliner Konrad Wysocki who was ivy league champion and rookie of the year at Princeton and played three years in Poland and learned how to play basketball in Ulm under D-league head coach Mike Taylor nailed a three pointer which was matched by Dane Watts as the score was tied again at 52-52. After a Kramer free throw, Dane Watts unwraped a nifty hook shot giving Frankfurt their first lead of the game 54-53. Oldenburg can strike you at any time with their potent offensive weapons, but can also get it done at the other end of the floor as they shifted their defense up a notch as their x-factor Chris Kramer wasn´t named to the Big Ten best defensive team for three of his four years at Purdue for no reason as he sparked Oldenburg and forced Frankfurt to two turnovers which led Oldenburg on a 10-0 run sparking their offense with two Paulding jumpers. Three time Beko BBL champion Neumann scored inside and Jenkins capped of the run with a fast break bucket as Oldenburg led 63-54. Just like in the second half of the season in 2011-2012 where Frankfurt upset teams like FC Bayern Munich, Bamberg and ratiopharm Um no lead was safe for the opponent then or in 2014 in Oldenburg as Frankfurt still had enough gas in their gas tank to launch yet another big comeback. Watts started off the run with an amazing offensive rebound where he slithered his way unnoticed once again coming up with the ball somehow and feeding Barthel for a dunk. It wasn´t only Watts who hand the big hand all over the court, but also American Galloway who now was playing like a seasoned veteran as he took control on offense making two free throws, hitting a runner and then making a tip in ally op bucket getting the feed from the usual ally op dunker Quantez Robertson as Frankfurt had gone on a 8-0 run to cut the Oldenburg lead to 64-62. Barthel then made a monster block on Kramer and Dubois drew  a foul hitting two free throws as the game was dead locked 64-64. Barthel then came up big again on defense with a massive block on Wysocki which led to Galloway free throws as Frankfurt had the lead again 66-64. Smeulders then got fouled and made two free throws knotting the game at 66-66. Frankfurt had 11 seconds to win the game, but Skyliner rookie Ramon Galloway lost the ball as Oldenburg got control of the ball. It looked like it was the tough and patient on ball defense of Kramer that had forced the steal, but really it had been Paulding who knocked away the ball from behind. “Galloway had done a great job getting to the basket in the game and tried to make a play, but we were lucky that the ball was a bit loose getting the steal. Galloway played well and will learn from this game”, stressed Chris Kramer. “Kramer is one of the best defenders in the league and he is very low to the ground. You always have to be aware of him. We don´t blame Galloway for the turnover”, added Johannes Voitmann. “Kramer has been great for us all season long. He is a great on ball defender. I am glad that we have him on our side”, said Rickey Paulding who lauded the defensive pressure of Kramer. “It was my mistake. I was worried about Kramer, but it was actually Paulding who tipped ball away from behind”, added Ramon Galloway. Frankfurt then fouled Kramer who hit two free throws for the 68-66 win. Dubois had one last good look with four seconds, but missed the uncontested shot. “It hurt losing two games in a row on the road. Two mistakes at the end cost us the game, but we showed how well we could fight despite all our injuries and we never gave up”, said Johannes Voigtmann. This was a huge win for us. We played hard in the last two games, but came up short. To come into this game and be able to win in tough conditions was great”, added Rickey Paulding.

The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were led by Rickey Paulding with 21 points, four rebounds and two assists hitting six three pointers. Julius Jenkins contributed 14 points and Robin Smeulders had 12 points and six rebounds. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Dane Watts with 22 points. Ramon Galloway chipped in with 21 points. Danilo Barthel rounded out the scoring with 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners can look into the future with their heads held high for the next challenges as they shot better than Oldenburg from the field and from outside at 42% and 43%, overwhelmed the boards with 40-31 rebounds and took advantage of the Oldenburg void inside with 18-8 in the paint points. The only real sour spot were the 17 turnovers. The Fraport Skyliners are able to take many good points from Oldenburg into their next home game against the Mitteldeutscher BC. “We played good defense and fought hard with a small rotation and Galloway and Watts hit open shots which helped their confidence”, stated Johannes Voigtmann. “I thought that we played good defense and made adjustments on Paulding and Jenkins in the second half and contained them better. Our fighting qualities were present which is great especially when you have so many young guys as we do. This is something that we can continue to build on”, warned Dane Watts.

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