It has been almost been 8 months since the Walter TIgers were another Beko BBL team that defeated the Fraport Skyliners in a narrow crunch time game and the unlucky goat was Oklahoma native Jacob Burtcshi who tried to make the cute extra pass to Danilo Barthel inside instead of taking the possible game winning shot. If Burtschi who is back home living in Oklahoma is aware that the FRaport Skyliners were playing the Walter TIgers Tuebingen is unknown, but if he does come upon the name of that yellow colored team with the cute tIger, it is almost probable that he will remember that fateful day last season. The question was how much was this memory from last season which was a bitter crunch time loss and the buzzer beater loss a few days earlier in Eurochallenge play against Boras Basket have an effect on the German players like Johannes Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel? Both Germans still remembered the difficult defeat last season against Tuebingen and played their hearts out against Boras Basket, but weren´t rewarded at the end with a win as the rocket man Adama Darboe beat the Fraport Skyliners with a buzzer beater mid distance jumper which pierced the hearts of not only both Germans, but also the complete team which played without 5 players. With the walking wounded still long and seemingly never ending, the Fraport Skyliners had to fight against all odds and play against a feisty Tuebingen team who wanted to start a way out of the cellar with a victory on foreign ground in the Fraport arena, but were denied as the Fraport Skyliners gave a great team effort for 40 minutes having a consistent game and never letting Tuebingen match their game and before I forget their good luck charm me was in the Fraport arena for the fourth complete game of the season and the club is 4-0. After the unneeded crunch time loss to Tuebingen last season and crunch time loss to Boras in Ruesselsheim 96 hours earlier, German national player Johannes Voigtmann was relieved to breathe more smoothly in the last minutes as defeat was as far away on that night as the family of Skyliner Kyle Fossman in Alaska. “It was nice to win a game again having a good lead and not having it be tight. Even when Tuebingen got a bit closer, we learned from our past mistakes and were able to pull away again. We were rewarded with a win for our efforts”, stated Johannes Voigtmann. After the game, the Walter Tigers Tuebingen players looked like a beaten Tiger that had just lost a fierce battle and gotten pounded hard without any remorse and basketball is a very simple sport as Nick Wiggins who is the brother of NBA player Andrew Wiggins explained on the floor during his postgame stretching. “They made shots for 40 minutes and we didn´t. It is as simple as that”, expressed Nick Wiggins. Despite the walking wounded list still being long, the club did welcome back the cool Finish sniper Mikko Koivisto who had much to explain after the victory. “We may have many injuries, but we cant make excuses. We just came out and played as hard as we could under the circumstances and with what we had. It helped that we hit many three pointers tonight. We moved the ball well, had many assists and did a good job rebounding in certain phases. We have had problems in the past rebounding, but we took the challenge up against Tuebingen”, expressed Mikko Koivisto.
On a beautiful chilly late autumn day, 4,070 fans wanted to see a battle of the cellar dogs and Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert surprised some by inserting Stefan Ilzhoefer in the starting five, but he was up to the challenge as he displayed immense energy and would hit a few buckets later on. The Fraport Skyliners got on the board first getting out on a 5-0 lead as they got into transition as Voigtmann threw home a dunk as Robertson and Aaron Doornekamp dazzled the crowd with some slick touch passing and Doornekamp then nailed a three pointer as Tuebingen had no response to the Frankfurt ball movement. This lightening burst of offense by Frankfurt didn´t irritate Tuebingen as they clenched their teeth and responded with a 5-0 run as Houston native Augustine Rubit who played 116 NCAA games at S Alabama nailed a mid distance shot and Serb Bane Ratkovica buried a triple bomb from somewhere between Frankfurt and Hochst. Both teams then traded the lead change as Ilzhoefer dropped an open three pointer and Russian Anatoly Kashirov scored inside for the 9-8 Tuebingen advantage. Frankfurt then would get the lead back for good going on a massive 10-2 run to lead 18-11. Good defense spoon fed the offense as Danilo Barthel blocked Kashirov which led to a Robertson jumper as Koivisto gave him the perfect touch pass. And then as if the team had waited for Sean “Mr Do you want buckets here you go” Armand to enter the game, it was Koivisto who did the Armand part nailing two in your face three pointers against Vladimir Mihailovic and Till Joscha Jonke for the 18-13 lead. “It was good to be back, but I felt tired. I am exhausted after the game, but it was good to hit the first two shots. That gave me much energy and confidence”, stressed Mikko Koivisto. Tuebingen then went on a mini 4-0 run as Ratkovica hit a floater and Bogdan Radosavljevic outmuscled every Skyliner inside getting the offensive rebound and put back cutting the Frankfurt lead to 17-15. Kyle Fossman came from the bench doing his job and nailing an open three pointer, but Tuebingen got some late offensive production as Aleksandar Nadjefeji made a lay in and Jonke then scored on the lay in after Ratkovica made a steal and scrambled for the loose ball and made a behind the back pass to the German, but Frankfurt led 23-19 after one quarter. “Despite all the Frankfurt injuries, they all came out and played together and for each other. Each guy took responsibility and they executed on offense well making good decisions. The Tuebingen point guard Ratkovica kept them in the game as he had more responsibility with Wallace being out”, added Lich guard Jermale Jones. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 71% from outside while the Walter Tigers TUebingen were shooting 40% from the field and 25% from outside. Tuebingen had the 11-9 rebound edge and each team had one turnover a piece.
In the second quarter, The Fraport Skyliners continued their sound offensive basketball and even putting it up a notch going on a 12-2 run to extend their lead to 35-21. The two German big men started the scoring rampage as Voigtmann gunned a perfect pass inside to Barthel who electrified the crowd with a thunderous dunk waking up those few who might of taken a rest during half time. Robertson then hit a step back jumper where he almost lost the ball, but held on to and fired home a three pointer with Cincinnati authority, Koivisto dropped his third three of the game, Tez hit a jumper as did Barthel. Tuebingen continued to fight, but really only had two guys with the Serb connection of Ratkoviva and Radosavljevic who kept the Tigers breathing while the Fraport Skyliners got needed production from a wide range of players including the Pro B players. Ilzhoefer made free throws and the Bakken Bear punisher Johannes Richter hit a jumper for the 40-25 lead. Tuebingen Montenegrin Mihailovic got to the free throw line a few times thanks to his aggressive play, but Frankfurt continued their arsenal show as Koivisto nailed a pull up jumper after having his man sky in the air behind the three point line and Voigtmann connected on a baby hook shot as Frankfurt led 45-32 at half time. “Frankfurt defended better in the second quarter taking away their options better after they went to a zone and had good rotations. Robertson really impressed me as he showed much responsibility with so many injuries and Williams not playing. He showed a lot of leadership”, added Alabama native Jermale Jones. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 48% from the field and 44% from the three point line while the Walter Tigers Tuebingen were shooting 31% from the field and 10% from the three point line. Tuebingen had the 21-19 rebound edge, but had four turnovers while Frankfurt had two turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners would lead by as much as 21 points, but the Walter Tigers Tuebingen continued to annoy the home team with little mini runs always allowing that small window of come back opportunity on the basketball court. Frankfurt came out of half time not staying true to their often slow starts, but rushed out on a 8-2 run to 53-34. Back in the day it was a deligt to watch Pippen and Jordan play and pass the ball and now in Frankfurt it is the same with Barthel and Voigtman who gave his teammate a back door pass for the easy bucket. Doornekamp then nailed a three pointer and Koivisto ended the run with his fourth three pointer. Tuebingen had one go to guy with Radosavljevic, but Frankfurt had too many more as it was Barthel again connecting on consecutive buckets for the 57-36 advantage. Frankfurt had built a huge lead so even if Tuebingen could muster a 6-0 run, it didn´t really hurt Frankfurt at all as they never had any drought periods in their offense. In the Tuebingen run, it was offensive force Rubit who got a offense rebound and put back, Ratkovica made a pretty old school like finger tip role and lay in and Radosavljevic made a mid distance shot as Tuebingen trailed only 57-42. Frankfurt stopped the Tiger run with their own 5-0 run as Voigtman nailed an off balance three pointer in traffic from seemingly his home town of Eisenach and Robertson hit free throws as Frankfurt led 62-42. “I saw that there was only 1,5 seconds left on the shot clock and I just shot it. When I released it, it felt like it had a good chance of going in”, added Johannes Voigtmann. “When you play hard, usually good things happen like with that shot of Voigtmann”, added Mikko Koivisto. Runs weren’t over yet in the third quarter, as Tuebingen closed out the quarter with a 6-2 run to trail only 64-50 after 30 minutes. In the run it was Rubit who hit a jumper and two time Beko BBL assist leader Ratkovica made free throws. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 44% from the field and 42% from the parking lot while Tuebingen was shooting 35% from the field and 8% from the parking lot. Tuebingen led the rebound battle 34-25, but had seven turnovers while Frankfurt had four turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Walter Tigers Tuebingen attempted one more run, but then rudely got the Fraport Skyliners door slammed in their face as they skipped home to victory easily. Tuebingen quickly jumped out on a 5-0 run to trail 64-55 and after a long time got the Frankfurt lead under 10 points again. It was the Serb connection again as Ratkovica made a risky, but perfect lob pass in traffic to Radosavljevic who made the lay in and the point guard then nailed a three pointer. Frankfurt felt the pressure, but withstood it in brave fashion responding with a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 70-55. Voigtmann scored inside and Quantez Super Tez Robertson hit free throws and then nailed a seemingly impossible jumper from the baseline at a tough angle. After the game every guy when asked only marveled at the play of Tez and had the utmost respect for him. “Tez has been huge the past weeks. He had to really step up with all the injuries playing point guard and defending the other point guard. The amount of work he does on the court is tremendous and I tip my hat to his play. He was the biggest key to the win tonight. Usually good teams get lucky when a guy like Tez can make that difficult shot”, stressed Mikko Koivisto. “Robertson is very quick and he played very well. He broke down our defense and on defense was all over the place”, added Toronto native Nick Wiggins. As always Tez was as humble as one could be after his stellar play. “I just always try to do whatever it takes to help us win. I got easy buckets and created for the team. I also got to the free throw line, but I have to work on my shooting. I should have made more. On that shot from the corner, I didn’t really think it would go in, but was hoping would give us an offense rebound and second chance”, stressed Quantez Robertson. Mike Morrison may be sitting a lot on the bench watching during his injury phase, but he knows exactly what he would like to steal from the play of Tez. “He never gets tired and never loses his pace of speed”, smiled Mike Morrison. Ex Bonn forward Nadjfeji got a few more buckets down the stretch, but it was too little too late as Tuebingen was unable to get it under 10 points again. Robertson and Doornekamp made a few more lay ins and the two Canadians Doornekamp and Fossman made free throws ending the game which was the third home win of the season for the Fraport Skyliners.
The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists. Mikko Koivisto added 14 points. Aaron Doornekamp chipped in with 12 points and Danilo Barthel added 11 points. The Walter Tigers Tuebingen were led by Bogdan Radosavljevic with 20 points and eight rebounds. Bane Ratkovica added 18 points and eight assists. The Fraport Skyliners ended the night shooting 44% from the field and 37% from outside while Tuebingen shot 33% from the field and 11% from outside. Tuebingen won the rebound duel44-33, but had 11 turnovers while Frankfurt had nine turnovers. The Fraport Skyliners have extra days to get prepared for the Mitteldeutscher BC this week as the Eurochallenge competition is off for a week. MBC is one of the big surprise teams of the season and Frankfurt will have to be more than ready. Their biggest advantage may be that the game will not be in the usual wolf den in Weissenfels where it is always hard to play in, but in Leipzig, but the walking wounded list wont be carved down by next weekend either really. “It is tough with all the injuries, but the team understands that we have to all play hard always for 40 minutes. Our young Germans are also showing that they can play aggressive and well. We will continue to need a full effort from everyone”, warned Quantez Robertson.