For 110 days the Fraport Skyliners were flawless winning 10 games at home in a row and posing the question if their comfy living room temperature that had kept the club so snug for such a long period of time had been turned down as clubs like six time Beko BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg and Russian Eurochallenge opponent Avtodor Saratov arrived in the Fraport arena at the end of January 2014 and beat them. The last time the 2004 Beko BBL winner Fraport Skyliners lost two consecutive games at home. It was at the start of the season on the first weekend where they lost to Phoenix Hagen and ratiopharm Ulm. It was such a long time ago that the recently crowned 2015 Super Bowl champions New England Patriots were 2-2 and coming off a crushing 41-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and were as far away from a fourth Super Bowl win as is nose tackle Vince Winfork is from ever getting lost at the take out drive through line at Mcdonalds, the Atlanta Hawks were in training camp getting ready for the 2014-2015 season as only the very few would have predicted them being the best team in the NBA at the start of February 2015 having a stellar 40-8 record and the San Francisco Giants and manager Bruce Bochy were near to winning their third MLB World Series in the last five years. However streaks are there to be broken as the Fraport Skyliners lost to the Brose Baskets Bamberg and Avtodor Saratov. Having lost key players German national player Danilo Barthel and Los Angeles native and rookie Justin Cobbs to injury, the club lost a third consecutive game to 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen on the road. Despite injuries and a brisk winter wind having taken over in the usual warm and cozy Fraport arena that disrupted the success of the club, the Fraport Skyliners returned home, but the competition didn´t get any easier as 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin arrived, but Frankfurt had big hair, Oklahoma flavor, basketball general Justin Cobbs and basketball lieutenant Sean Armand who led the 2004 Beko BBL champion past 8 time BBL winner Alba Berlin 87-80 in overtime starting a new winning streak at home. Quantez Robertson had big hair again something he usually displays at the start of a season as a gesture of good luck and success for the season, three is a charm as Jacob Burtschi was back in Frankfurt for a third tour of duty bringing that Oklahoma flavor while Justin the basketball general Cobbs and basketball lieutenant Sean Armand took care of business in overtime as it was another normal day at the office even if it was an ugly win the club gave Alba Berlin only their second loss of the season. “It was an ugly game, but sometimes when you are overmatched playing against an Euroleague team where you should lose by 20 points on paper, you need to turn it into an ugly game. We were lucky, stuck together and got the win”, warned ex Bremerhaven forward Jacob Burtschi. For Alba Berlin, it was only their second loss of the season and something they definitely weren´t used to as lowered heads came out of the dressing room one by one as so little words escaped their mouths that one could of asked “cat got your tongue”? “We lost and Frankfurt played well. It was a good game and exciting, but Frankfurt had the advantage with the home court. They always had answers and shot very well from outside”, stressed ex Skyliner Alex King.
5000 fans came out on a beautiful sunny winter afternoon to cheer on the Fraport Skyliners and Jacob Burtschi was welcomed with big cheers. Quantez Robertson presented his afro looking hairdo where he might have been inspired recently by ex NBA player Courtney Fortson who has that Bob Marley look. Alba Berlin were coming off a bitter 65-59 Euroleague home defeat against top Greek team Panathinaikos Athens and head coach Sasa Obradovic had his lucky brown shoes on which he also wore in Ulm at the 2015 Beko BBL allstar game where he led team International to the win over team national. In the early going the shiny brown shoes seemed to be helping as Alba Berlin broke out on a 8-1 lead as ex Xavier center Jamel Mclean scored inside after getting a back door pass from ex Villanova forward Reggie Redding and Croatian national player Leon Radosevic scored a step back jumper and lay in. Frankfurt had massive difficulty getting into a rhythm as they couldn´t get inside and their offense was stagnant while Alba Berlin was practicing a furious help defense. Frankfurt finally got on the board with a miraculous Justin Cobbs step back three pointer, but they could muster very little points as that was all they got in the first five minutes of play. Jacob Burtschi was inserted at the 5.32 minute mark and right away gave energy scoring inside as Robertson found him wide open for the easy lay up. Alba Berlin kept showing perfect inside out basketball as Alex King escaped inside for the easy lay in and two time NCAA champion with Uconn Nils Giffey scored two three pointers as Alba Berlin led 16-8. Frankfurt continued to stay on the heels of Alba Berlin as Sean Armand made a floater and Konstantin Klein connected on a three pointer and free throws. Mike Morrison then also made free throws cutting the Alba Berlin lead to 22-17. After Alba Berlin missed their free throws concerning a Jacob Burtschi technical foul, the score board shut down while it took about five minutes to fix. Even if this pause put a dent in the flow of the game, it seemed to be perfect timing for Frankfurt as they cruised on a 7-0 run to lead 24-22 after one quarter securing the momentum on their side. In the run, Frankfurt buckled down on defense and Cobbs and Armand hit back to back three pointers. “Alba Berlin had a good start and it took Frankfurt some time to find their comfort zone. Giffey hit some big threes and Mclean was dominant inside with his fundamental play, but Frankfurt finished strong as each player built of the other bringing energy”, stressed TV Lich guard Jermale Jones. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 55% from the field and 57% from outside while Alba Berlin was shooting 55% from the field and 67% from outside. Frankfurt had the 8-4 rebound edge, but seven turnovers while Alba Berlin had four turnovers.
In the second quarter, the game stayed tight as the Fraport Skyliners had the lead and kept it going into halftime. Florida native Mike Morrison started off the second quarter with a bang converting on a massive two handed dunk and lay in each time getting fed by Quantez Robertson who continues to moonlight as an extra point guard as Frankfurt led 28-22. Frankfurt has big Mike Morrison and Alba Berlin has American Jamel Mclean who has turned into a consistent Euroleague player and out of nothing took Alba Berlin on his own 7-0 run to give his team the 29-28 lead back as he scored inside twice, made free throws and benefited from a Gordon Herbert technical foul. Frankfurt reacted very well from this sudden jolt of energy from Mclean going on a 9-3 run to lead 37-31 as it was the German three point connection of Konstantin Klein, Kevin Bright and Johannes Voigtmann who nailed three pointers. Even if twin tower number two Voigtmann will dazzle you with his fade away, mid distance shot or passing, he can always nail a three pointer if open. Ex Skyliner King made a pretty fade away over Cobbs and Voigtman to keep Alba Berlin close. Here and there Alba Berlin would get a bunch of offensive rebounds, but then throw away the ball giving Frankfurt the chance to capitalize which they did as Cobbs made a pretty lay in with two seconds on the shot clock to give Frankfurt the 40-36 advantage. After Alex Renfroe free throws, Quantez Robertson nailed a seemingly impossible three pointer and Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp sealed free throws as Frankfurt led 45-38 at the break. “Alba Berlin had problems making shots and second chance points. Frankfurt played pressure defense disrupting the Alba Berlin offense which led to turnovers and transition baskets. On offense Frankfurt found each other and played team basketball. They continued to play with a lot of energy and fed off each other”, expressed Jermale Jones. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 54% from the field and 57% from the three point line while Alba Berlin was shooting 38% from the field and 29% from the three point line. Both teams had 15 rebounds a piece while Frankfurt had nine turnovers and Alba Berlin had ten turnovers.
In the third quarter ugly basketball was on the menu as the Fraport Skyliners coughed up the ball eight times, but still led 54-49 after 30 minutes and probably only the basketball god knew why. The Fraport Skyliners could get nothing going in the first five minutes as Alba Berlin upped their pressure on defense forcing turnover after turnover while on offense they rolled out on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 45-45. In the run, Alba Berlin was able to capitalize twice inside with a Mclean dunk with a quick pass from Redding while Leon Radosevic also scored inside. Ex Clemson(NCAA) guard Clifford Hammonds hit a pull up jumper. Frankfurt stopped the Alba Berlin 7-0 run with their own mini 4-0 run as Jacob Burtschi scored in traffic and it took Super Tez Robertson 26 minutes to score for the first time inside as the lane had pretty much been clogged with a strong Alba wall the whole game. Frankfurt led 49-45, but Alba Berlin countered with a mini 4-0 run as it was Leon Radosevic doing more damage with a lay in and jumper to knot the game at 49-49. The ex Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius forward isn´t a flashy player, but very effective just doing his job and contributing. Frankfurt closed out the third quarter strong going on a 5-0 run to lead 54-49 after three quarters. Klein hit three free throws and Burtschi made a lay in. “We started off very bad, but still played decent defense keeping them off the offensive glass in a ugly third quarter”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. “The third quarter was ugly and a game of runs. We played them tough and kept the lead”, added Justin Cobbs. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 44% from the field and 42% from the parking lot while Alba Berlin was shooting 44% from the field and 25% from the parking lot. Alba Berlin had the 21-20 rebound lead, but 16 turnovers while Frankfurt had 17 turnovers.
The fourth quarter remained tight until Alba Berlin went on a run until Frankfurt came back to tie the game and send it into overtime. Renfroe started the fourth quarter with a floater which was matched by another Klein three pointer as Frankfurt held the 57-51 advantage. Alba Berlin kept on the pressure going on a 5-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 57-56 as Mclean scored inside again and Akeem Vargas nailed a three pointer from the corner. After Robertson scored inside again for his second hard penetration bucket, Alba Berlin cranked it up a few gears going on a harsh 13-2 run to take the 69-61 lead as the game seemed decided with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter. In the run, Alba Berlin got great work from their bigs and guards making timely shots. Banic and Radosevic scored down low while Hammonds connected on a floater and jumper from the corner while Renfore hit a three pointer. Frankfurt then displayed Skyliner basketball coming together and playing with a gigantic heart going on a 8-0 run to bring the game into overtime. Armand started the run with a three pointer, Super Tez then made a steal and was off to the races sending Armand for a lay up and Cobbs then made a pull up jumper to cut the Alba Berlin lead to 69-68. Frankfurt then stopped Mclean who ran into a Skyliner four man wall causing a turnover. Morrison then made one free throw to send the game to extra time. “Tez was tremendous getting offensive rebounds, deflections and steals and I don´t know where we would have been without him. Sean Armand made big shots”, described Justin Cobbs. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and 40% from outside while Alba Berlin was shooting 50% from the field and 36% from outside. Both teams had 28 rebounds a piece. Alba Berlin had 20 turnovers and the Fraport Skyliners had 19 turnovers.
In the overtime period, the Fraport Skyliners did work, took the lead, never looked back and took the win. Cobbs started off the overtime with a pull up jumper which was matched by a Vargas three pointer as Alba Berlin trailed 73-72. Frankfurt simply saved their best for last when it counted most and continued to have the hot hand from outside as Armand and Cobbs dropped three point bombs giving Frankfurt the 79-74. However Alba Berlin fought until the end and got a Renfroe three pointer and Mclean running hook shot to cut the Frankfurt lead to 82-80, but they would score no more as Frankfurt closed out the game with a 8-0 run. After a Redding turnover, Morrison sealed the win with two free throws for the 84-80 lead and Cobbs and Armand hit free throws for insurance. Cobbs scored seven points and was instrumental for Frankfurt in overtime. “Cobbs is a big time player that makes big shots. We continued to do a good job on the offensive glass and Mike Morrison hit big free throws. It was a crazy overtime”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. “I thought that I played ok in the first half, but wasn´t as aggressive in the second half. We regrouped as a team and made big plays in overtime”, added Justin Cobbs. “Frankfurt fought hard in overtime and never gave up”, added Clifford Hammonds. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Justin Cobbs with 20 points. Sean Armand added 18 points, Konstanin Klein contributed 14 points and Mike Morrison had 10 points. Alba Berlin was led by Jamel Mclean with 24 points. Leon Radosevic added 14 points and Alex Renfroe had 12 points. Jacob Burtschi scored six points and had five rebounds in his redebut in 23 minutes and as always did many little things that didn´t stand out on the stat sheet. “I felt a lot better than what I thought I would running wise, but not playing. I need about two more weeks conditioning before I am 100%, warned Jacob Burtschi. “Burtschi is a great addition to the team. He is a smart physical player that can shoot. He has a great basketball IQ and we really need him. It is a blessing that we got him”, stated Justin Cobbs. The Fraport Skyliners shot 45% from the field and 44% from the three point line while Alba Berlin shot 48% from the field and 38% from the three point line. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 32-30 and had 20 turnovers while Alba Berlin had 21 turnovers.