The one guy comes from Texas and the other from California, but Beko BBL players Justin Cobbs and Jason Brickman have some things in common as they both come from big states, are rookies, are point guards and since they came to their new teams Frankfurt and Bayreuth have infected their teams to winning games as combined they have led their teams to a 15-4 record. Granted Cobbs has done the most damage leading the Fraport Skyliners to a 7-3 Beko BBL record and is 6-0 in Eurochallenge play while Brickman has helped Bayreuth beat Bonn and Ulm while getting clobbered in Berlin 91-60 a place where Cobbs also lost shortly before Christmas 2014. The similarities don´t end as both have lost to Berlin and both have had a taste of bitter winter blues as both had short stints in Russia and Latvia with Dynamo Moscow and VEF Riga , but had to pack their bags. The biggest difference that they have is in height as Cobbs is 10cm bigger and style as Brickman is the classic pass first point guard in the mold of a Jared Jordan while Justin Cobbs is the versatile point guard in the mold of a Derrick Rose who can change the pace and score or find his teammates whatever the defense gives him. At California(NCAA) he played for head coach Mike Montgomery and learned in young years to obey in that if he was asked to take the next 30 shots in a row he would or asked not to shoot once he would. Brickman dazzled the NCAA his last two seasons averaging 9,1apg while averaging 9,8 as a senior, but didn´t have real NBA interest and despite winning three Nec tournaments with LIU Brooklyn, because the conference isn´t as skilled as say the Pac 10 where Cobbs played. Cobbs had his first taste of the NBA being the last cut of the Charlotte Hornets as the club went with experience instead of youth. Brickman played against schools like Lehigh, Lamar, Wagner or Sacred Heart while Cobbs dueled against heavy weights like Oregon, Washington State, UCLA or Arizona. Both definitely are good enough to showcase their talent in the NBA, but for now they have to continue to craft their game and continue to get better to get that NBA shot one day. Brickman came to Frankfurt ready to play his fourth Beko BBL game while Cobbs was prepared to battle in his 11th Beko BBL game as it was baby Mr pass against the general Justin Cobbs and the California native came out victorious as the Fraport Skyliners eked out a trash ripe ugly victory against medi Bayreuth as Cobbs had 15 points and seven assists while Brickman finished with 12 points and three assists. “Sean Armand had told me about Jason Brickmann that he led the NCAA in assists. He is a great passer and had two back to back games with 10 assists and he played well tonight. It was fun playing against him”, stressed California native Justin Cobbs. “I had heard of Cobbs in college. He is a good point guard and decision maker. I knew it would be a tough battle and it was fun playing against another rookie”, added San Antonio native Jason Brickman. “Brickman is a good floor general, great shooter and found his teammates while Justin Cobb is a bit more athletic. It was definitely a good battle”, stressed Oklahoma native Jacob Burtschi.
The Fraport Skyliners entered the game with new Skyliner Jacob Burtschi riding a two game winning streak having defeated 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin and recently Estonian team Tartu Rock where a 35 point fourth quarter explosion paved the Eurochallenge road to victory, but with medi Bayreuth, the 2000 German cup winner Frankfurt Skyliners were presented with an annoying opponent that were like a mosquito in the dog days of summer that just didn´t want to go away. The game only had 23 turnovers in total, but at times the game was so ugly just with all the fouls that were called and the 26 lead changes gave fans in the Fraport arena a very entertaining Saturday night evening which was only matched by the 8-0 FC Bayern Munich drubbing of Hamburg which ended just an hour before game time. One can never mope around after a win even if it was ugly, but Fraport Skyliner forward Jaconb Burtschi had the fitting words after the tight win. “We had some issues tonight with the rebounding, penetration defense and defensive movement with the helpers. The good news is that we did enough to win even if it was ugly. We showed a little, but threw the rest in the trash”, stressed ex Phoenix Hagen forward Jacob Burtschi. medi bayreuth entered the game having won two of their last three games, but won some high scoring games as they gave up an average of 89 points in that span. Like Frankfurt, Bayreuth had their chances to win the game and put their opponent away, but instead let it come down to a last shot and they just couldn´t execute. “This was a tough road loss. We had our chance at the end, but we had many mistakes, turnovers and break downs on defense. We need to keep going and continue to get better”, stressed Jason Brickman.
4,920 basketball fans came to witness the battle between Frankfurt and Bayreuth and were greeted right from the start with the trend of the game called lead changes. Jacob Burtschi got the home team on the scoreboard first with a quick lay up, but David Brembly countered with a lay in and free throw for the first lead change of the game and 3-2 advantage for medi Bayreuth. Canadian Aaron Doornekamp reacted with a fake from the baseline and finished with a massive one hand slam dunk and 4-3 Frankfurt lead. medi bayreuth recaptured the lead on a mini 5-0 run to lead 8-4 as ex Georgetown(NCAA) standout Brandon Bowman scored on a reverse lay up and David Brembly caught Frankfurt napping on transition defense for the lay up. Frankfurt also had run up their sleeve scoring eight consecutive points to lead 12-8 as Jacob Burtschi put some life into the living room with two huge three pointers and Justin Cobbs connected on free throws. Brickman and Cobbs then traded buckets, but Frankfurt still led 15-10. However the game still hadn´t heard from Je Kel Foster who was one of the instrumental parts with Rickey Paulding and Jason Gardner that helped the EWE Baskets Oldenburg win the 2009 BBL title and had always been a factor where ever he played in Germany if it was Ludwigsburg or Munich, but last season had a mixed season in Italy and France where he wasn´t that big of a factor so at age 31 could he still be a factor on a consistent rate? Foster quickly silenced any critics as he nailed back to back three pointers to give Bayreuth the 16-15 lead. However Frankfurt grabbed lead back as Konstantin Klein practiced his bread and butter the penetration shoveling the ball to Mike Morrison who made a nifty spin move and finished as Frankfurt led 17-16. After Philipp Heyden scored inside, it was Klein making free throws as Frankfurt had achieved the eighth lead change of the game and led 19-18 after one quarter. “The game was very scrappy with turnovers and many fouls. It took Foster some time to get going and Jacob Burtschi hit big shots keeping Frankfurt in the game”, stressed Licher Basket Baehren guard Jermale Jones. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 46% from the field and 29% from outside while medi Bayreuth was shooting 39% from the field and 33% from outside. medi bayreuth had the big 12-6 rebound edge, but four turnovers while Frankfurt had two turnovers.
In the second quarter, The lead change sunk to only three, but the game remained very tight as no team could pull away from the other. Brooklyn native Sean Armand got the Fraport Skyliners going hitting back to back shots giving Frankfurt the 22-18 advantage as the first was from a tough angle where only he knew how he made that shot. Medi Bayreuth continued to be athorn in the side of Frankfurt when it came to points in the paint as they were able to score on a regular basis the whole night. German Philipp Heyden socred which was followed by ex Bonn forward Ronald Burrell who connected on the hard penetration to tie the game at 22-22. The trash ripe game had many little stories on the surface including Berlin native Konstantin Klein that was sprouting with self confidence as he entered the game shooting 42% from outside in the BBL and 77% in Eurochallenge play, but up until halftime he was 0/4 as he missed two three pointers and two in the paint as he couldn´t hit the ocean, but his decision making was solid. “Klein was definitely making good decisions, had good looks, but also didn´t get some calls. However Klein isn´t one of those guys that will keep missing especially from where he was shooting”, added Jermale Jones. Klein just had an unlucky game as he ended shooting 1/5, but he also only got one more shot later in the second half which he connected on. Armand continued to have the hot hand as he hit a floater and free throws and had made the first eight points for Frankfurt in the second quarter as Frankfurt extended their lead to 26-22. After one Mccrea free throw it was Armand again getting his 10th consecutive point splitting the defense and finishing with a crushing two handed dunk as Frankfurt led 28-23. Frankfurt held the lead as they continued to get to the free throw line as Armand got his 12th Frankfurt point in a row and Morrison also made free throws as Frankfurt led 32-27. However Medi Bayreuth had their special ace down their sleeve as Je Kel Foster who was a bit hidden in the first half of the second quarter, but once again got hot again nailing three huge three pointers in the last few minutes as Medi Bayreuth skipped into half time with the 40-39 lead. “Foster kept us in the game. Especially in the first half where Mccrea and I didn´t do much, he picked up the slack. It is only typical that Foster makes shots”, stressed ex Bonn forward Brandon Bowman. “Foster has been so important for us. He is a leader and hits shots. It makes us younger guys play better when you have a veteran like him on the court”, added Jason Brickman. “In the second quarter I thought that Bayreuth was able to play their game unlike Frankfurt. Bayreuth was controlling the inside and boards. Frankfurt was playing too much one on one and got away from the team basketball that they showed against Alba Berlin”, commented Jermale Jones. Medi Bayreuth was shooting 47% from the field and 45% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 39% from the field and 21% from the three point line. Bayreuth had the 23-12 rebound advantage, but eight turnovers while Frankfurt had four turnovers.
In the third quarter, both teams continued to battle as this time the lead changes were doubled from the second quarter to six. Justin Cobbs gave Frankfurt the lead back 41-40 with a lay in going coast to coast. Bowman gave Medi Bayreuth the lead back with a lay in high off the glass 43-40. Even if Jacob Burtschi didn´t score in this phase he was a huge factor on the court for Frankfurt as he did as usual the little things that don´t always get noticed including saving a ball from not crossing center court which would have resulted in a back court violation and taking a charge which led to Cobbs making a bucket and giving Frankfurt the 44-43 lead. After Brickman free throws, Jacob Burtschi got on transition and gave the perfect feed to Quantez Robertson for the pretty ally-op dunk. Medi Bayreuth capitalized on Frankfurt´s fifth team foul and were sparked on a 6-1 run. Brickman who looks like a high school senior on the court, but plays like a man hit a three pointer and Foster also made another bomb as Bayreuth led 52-47. Bayreuth would keep the lead until the last few seconds as Frankfurt was unable to get over the hump. Bayreuth continued to have Frankfurt for dinner inside as Mccrea made a reverse dunk over Voigtmann and Brickman than showed true shades of Jared Jordan penetrating in the lane and because of his stature seemed to disappear between the big bodies, but somehow shoveled the ball to Foster that made the open lay up for the 56-51 lead. Voigtmann than scored inside finishing off the Cobbs lob pass, but whenever Frankfurt was threatening to retake the lead, Bayreuth stayed consistent as Frankfurt had defensive break downs as Brickman made the Frankfurt double team look harmless as he found Heyden all alone down low with no help anywhere and Foster than scored inside with ease finishing as Bayreuth led 60-57. However then it was time for Aaron Doornekamp who became more aggressive on the offensive boards in the second half and then was rewarded nailing two three pointers to tie the game at 63-63. Klein gave Frankfurt the lead back with a steal and lay in, but Brickman closed out the third quarter with a three pointer as Medi Bayreuth led 66-65. “We executed on offense and did a good job on defensive rotations. We didn´t turn over the ball too much and foster continued to make big shots”, added Jason Brickman. “Basketball is a game of runs and both teams made big plays”, said Brooklyn native Sean Armand. Medi Bayreuth was shooting 51% from the field and 44% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 44% from the field and 26% from the parking lot. Medi Bayreuth had the dominating 30-20 rebound lead, but 13 turnovers while Frankfurt only had six turnovers.
Nothing changed in the fourth quarter as the game remained very exciting as there were nine lead changes and the game went down to the wire. German national player Johannes Voigtmann entered the fourth quarter with five points and had left the one or the other in the arena shaking their heads with his inconsistent play in the first 30 minutes, but he came to life in the fourth quarter finding his game and scoring five consecutive points to start the fourth to give Frankfurt the 70-66 lead as he scored inside twice. Mccrea and Armand traded buckets as Frankfurt still led 72-68, but Bayreuth just didn´t go away continuing to fight going on a 5-0 run to retake the 74-72 lead. Bayreuth head coach Michael Koch got huge production form back up point guard Simon Schmitz hitting from Hochst and Mccrea scored inside once again getting the perfect pass from veteran Burrell. These two Americans were harmonizing well all night long just taking Frankfurt apart inside. Doornekmap tied the score at 74-74 with an offensive rebound and reverse lay up. Mccrea then found Burrell inside for the easy basket while Voigtmann scored his seventh point of the quarter tying the game at 76-76. Foster and Armand then traded three pointers as the game was deadlocked 79-79. Frankfurt then took the lead 82-79 as Voigtmann really had to work hard for his third three pointer in the last three games as the ball felt like it stopped on the toilet bowl checking the quality of the toilet paper before deciding to roll in. Frankfurt continued to have no clue how to stop Mccrea as he scored in bunches giving Bayreuth the 83-82 lead as crunch time had started. Now the game went back and forth as five lead changes came. After Cobbs hit free throws, it was Brickman giving Bayreuth the lead back at 85-84, but Cobbs didn´t want to loose the rookie point guard duel as he connected on a jumper for the 86-85 Frankfurt lead. Foster then hit a runner as Bayreuth led 87-86. Armand then made his nickname of you want buckets there you go justice hitting a huge three pointer that had more rainbow arc than usual as Frankfurt led 89-87. Bayreuth forward David Brembly then missed two free throws. The game seemed decided as Burtschi arrived at the free throw line, but he made only one free throw as Frankfurt led 90-87. Mccrea then made two free throws to cut the Frankfurt lead to 90-89. With 12 seconds to play, Frankfurt coughed up the ball on the inbounds play giving Bayreuth a chance to win the game, but at the end it was Mccrea who was the tragic hero putting up an air ball which ended the game. “Everybody stepped up at the end. Voigtmann made big plays, Armand hit a huge three and Burtschi was all over the place and just kept us together as our glue guy. His basketball IQ is through the roof”, stressed Justin Cobbs. “It was the little things that cost us the loss. We can´t blame David Brembly for missing two free throws as we put ourselves into this position. We had a chance to win at the end, but just came up a bit short”, added Brandon Bowman. “Maybe Mccrea could have taken an extra dribble. At end he was forced to take that shot. We were lucky to get the win”, warned Jacob Burtschi. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Sean Armand with 19 points. Justin Cobbs and Johannes Voigtmann chipped in with 15 points a piece. Jacob Burtschi added 12 points and Aaron Doornekamp had 11 points. Medi Bayreuth was led by Je Kel Foster with 28 points. Javon Mccrea added 18 points and Jason Brickman 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners finished the game shooting 47% from the field and 31% from outside while medi bayreuth shot 54% from the field and 45% from outside. Medi bayreuth won the rebounding duel 33-32, but had 14 turnovers while Frankfurt had nine turnovers.