In the three games that Nordlingen have played in the BCM in Frankfurt, before this weekend they have left the building twice as losers including the last two times and it has never been boring, but high scoring affairs where the Fraport Skyliners Juniors always had the upper hand. Two years ago, Frankfurt got the better of Nordlingen winning 95-87 as Johannes Richter had a huge game with 23 points and future German national player Johannes Voigtmann had 14 points and 11 boards. And almost three years ago on also the second home game, fans saw a thrilling overtime affair as Frankfurt won 101-96 as Konstantin Klein had 26 points, Danilo Barthel 18 points and Johannes Voigtmann 14 points. Interesting to note there was also a supporting cast in both games as then younger Tim Oldenburg had 10 points in each game and Max Merz chipped in with 17 points. Now Oldenburg is older and wiser and slipped into one of the main scoring attractions together with the BBL experienced Max Merz this season. Not only is Oldenburg still around, but also both head coaches Eric Detlev and Mario Matic who face each other again after a year break where Nordlingen had to play itself back to the Pro B in the Regionaliga. Matic came back to Frankfurt with a very solid group of guys led by the American duo of Brandon Lockhart and Jordan Talbert while Frankfurt went into their third game with no import, but all Germans and a whole lot of heart as they always do looking for their second win while the ex BBL team who played in Germany´s top league in 2008-2009 were looking for their third victory of the young season. However a late fourth quarter comeback by the Fraport Skyliners Juniors propelled the home team past the Giants Nordlingen 73-71 with a game winning shot by German Tim Oldenburg. After the game the police man in the making Oldenburg was as calm and humble in conversation as he was making the bucket something one also needs in his future job as keeping one´s cool with a criminal can be the difference between life and death. For once it wasn´t Merz that dished him the perfect pass, but 17 year old Garai Zeeb, but the German knows and always needs that point guard in his game. “We knew at the end that if we wanted to win we had to defend better as Nordlingen was getting way to many easy baskets in the game as we couldn´t compensate it on offense. Max Merz played a big role in the comeback as did Niklas Kiel under the boards. We had many young guys in the game and the leadership and experience of Merz really helped. We were the more effective team at the end and just rocked. I have never been a player that had the big post moves, but I need to have that point guard. I live off the point guards”, smiled Fraport Skyliner forward Tim Oldenburg. Nordlingen seemed in control in the fourth, but gave up a 13-5 run at the end and just choked allowing Frankfurt back in the game and winning. “We had the game won, but gave it away. We didn´t communicate on defense and were unable to contain Merz and they took advantage of it. They finished the game and we didn´t, it is as simple as that and they had the confidence to do that”, stressed Arkansas native Jordan Talbert.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors jumped on the Giants Nordlingen off the bat going on a 7-2 lead as they had that aggressive hunger early getting their offense in rhythm as Max Merz opened with a pull up jumper which was followed by a trey from 2014 NBBL rookie of the year Niklas Kiel and German Michael Fuss followed with a steal and dish to Kiel for the hard two handed dunk. However this quick start didn´t stifle Nordlingen as they cut the Frankfurt lead to 11-9 as St Louis native Brandon Lockhart scored inside twice and ex MLP Academics Heidelberg guard Janek Schmidkunz displayed his knack of shooting with a three pointer. Frankfurt kept the lead with a Kiel dunk after a no look pass from Oldenburg, but couldn´t contain Schmidkunz as he dropped his second trey in a row cutting the Frankfurt lead to 14-12. Frankfurt then got some much needed burst of spark from 17 year Gari Zeeb as he finished with a floater and then got Oldenburg his next put back with a perfect inbounds pass as Frankfurt led 18-12 with a minute to go. However the Giants Nordlingen closed out the first quarter with a lightening 9-3 run to dead lock the game at 21-21 after 10 minutes. The Giants were sparked by the fine play of 17 year old Moritz Trieb who played his first Pro B game with 15 years as he came up big making a beautiful cross over past Zeeb and nailing a floater and then following with a lay and German Chris Reinhart made a tip in closing out the 9-1 run. 16 year old Isaah Negron then closed out the first quarter with a nifty floater after freeing himself from two defenders tip toeing between them. After 10 minutes the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 64% from the field and 100% from outside while the Giants Nordlingen were shooting 50% from the field and 67% from outside. Frankfurt had the 8-4 rebound edge, but seven turnovers while Nordlingen had four turnovers.
The second quarter was the quarter of runs as Nordlingen started off with a 10-0 run which prompt was followed by a 9-0 Frankfurt run. The Nordlingen offense was cooking as it was fortified by two three pointers by Talbert and Fabian Bruetting and a lay in by big Man Jan Petrovcic from Slovenia as the guests had quickly turned the score rapidly to 31-21. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors never lost their cool or nerves as they raced back into the game with a 9-0 run cutting the Nordlingen lead to 31-30. The run was led by Tim Oldenburg who stayed faithful to my nickname Mr put back as he hit free throws, threw home a dunk after getting the perfect dish from Kiel and then made a put back after grabbing an offensive rebound. 17 year old German Konstantin Schuebert helped hitting a runner. Nordlingen then went on a 7-1 run to lead 38-31 as American Brandon Lockhart who played in Slovakia as a rookie scored in bunches scoring on a coast to coast run scoring over Merz and then scoring again on the fast break after Talbert got a steal. Bruetting then ended the run with a lay in high off the glass. Frankfurt took a last time out and then it was up to experienced Beko BBL player Merz to make the right decision and did waiting for the right timing finding Oldenburg back door for the reverse lay up, but Nordlingen held on to the lead 38-34 at half time. “Nordlingen did a good job pressuring Frankfurt and forcing turnovers which led to easy buckets for them. We weren´t executing on offense or getting good shots”, expressed Fraport Skyliner guard Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 50% from the field and 14% from the three point line while the Giants Nordlingen were shooting 38% from the field and 40% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 19-16 rebound edge, but had 13 turnovers while Nordlingen had seven turnovers.
In the third quarter, both teams stepped it up more on defense playing more aggressive, but the Giants Noordlingen were still able to execute better on offense and shoot at a higher percentage and held the lead through out the quarter. Max Merz continued to dominate on offense making a lay in and free throws while Niklas Kiel cleaned up under the basket, but Frankfurt still trailed 41-37. Nordlingen then sped on a 5-0 run as Talbert made a step back jumper and Bruetting nailed a three pointer as Nordlingen was once again broke away leading 46-37. Kiel then drained a mid distance jumper, but the Giants always had an answer as Petrovcic hit a mid distance shot and Schmidkunz a jumper as Frankfurt trailed 50-43. Then came another great span for 16 year old 185cm guard Isaah Negron who again displayed his amazing foot work getting by two defenders and then releasing a quick floater which hit nothing but net and then made a jumper as Frankfurt trailed 50-45. Trieb then played like an older player than what his 17 years show as he calmly made four free throws as Nordlingen led 54-47. Frankfurt closed out the third quarter with back to back buckets by the big men Kiel and Oldenburg inside as Frankfurt still trailed 54-49 after 30 minutes. “We lost our rhythm on offense. We continued to fight, but weren´t consequent. Nordlingen is a good fast break team and whenever we missed shots, they took advantage of it on the break”, stressed Fraport Skyliners Juniors head coach Eric Detlev. “We came out with more energy in the third and played team basketball”, expressed Jordan Talbert. The Fraport Skyliners weres hooting 47% from the field and 8% from parking lot while Nordlingen was shooting 37% from the field and 31% from the parking lot. Frankfurt still owned the boards 28-25, but had 16 turnovers while Nordlingen had nine turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Giants Nordlingen seemed to have enough to win as they continued to foil any attempt of Frankfurt trying to regain the lead, but totally fell apart in the last two minutes allowing the home team to turn the tide and get the victory. After Talbert and Kiel traded buckets, it was Oldenburg that hit a jumper closing out a mini Frankfurt 4-0 run as they cut the Nordlingen lead to 56-53. However Nordlingen did a great job working for good shots and then being effective and making shots whenever Frankfurt threatened getting closer as Bruetting made a runner and then the fearless Trieb hit a huge three pointer as Nordlingen led 61-55. Frankfurt then was hit with their fifth team foul with 5.29 to play and thier chances continued to get worse, but they never lost hope continuing to chip away at both ends of the court. Fuss then connected on a giant trey to cut the Nordlingen lead to 62-58, but Reinhart then made a lay in getting a no look pass from Lockhart and holding the 64-58 advantage. Schmidkanz after being cold for a few quarters rediscovered his touch again hitting from the parking lot extending the Nordlingen lead to 66-60. Frankfurt then slowly did some real comeback work getting even closer as Merz closed out a pretty floater after displaying perfect cross over foot work and then made a free throw as Frankfurt trailed only 66-63. But Nordlingen then once again rammed a dagger through the Frankfurt comeback attempt making a small 4-0 run as the two Americans Talbert and Lockhart took advantage of Frankfurt mistakes scoring inside extending their lead to 70-63. Nordlingen 125 kilo forward Kwame Duku described the BCM gym and atmosphere like in a dream and in the last two minutes it seemed like the team was not in a dream, but nasty nightmare as they gave up a 10-1 run to lose the game 73-71. Merz hit back to back free throws and Frankfurt trailed only 70-67. Fuss then forced a turnover which led to another Oldenburg put back as Merz once again made the right decision and pass to find the German as Nordlingen suddenly only led 70-69. After a Talbert free throw, it was Kiel that hit clutch free throws to dead lock the game at 71-71. The big 207cm forward Kiel then made a huge block and Frankfurt had possession. This time it wasn´t Merz, but Zeeb that made the big pass from inbounds finding Oldenburg inside back door muscling home the put back with three seconds to play. Lockhart made one last desperation shot from behind the center line, but missed. “We got into the head of the opponent. We did a good job pressuring all positions. The difference was that we played together and got big plays from Fuss and Kiel. On the last play we had many options and were looking to get Merz the ball, but Nordlingen left me open and finding me was the best option for Zeeb. The last basket had more to do with the Nordlingen defense making the mistake than our offense making the play”, stressed Tim Oldenburg, “We didn´t communicate well on defense at the end and just felt to comfortable that we would win. Merz did a good job finding the bigs. We know that we still have to work on things and have a lot of potential to get even better”, warned Jordan Talbert. “Our defense and fight saved us tonight”, added Eric Detlev.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Tim Oldenburg with 24 points and seven rebounds. Niklas Kiel added 18 points and 13 rebounds while Max Merz with 16 points and six assists. The Giants Nordlingen were led by Jordan Talbert with 14 points. Fabian Bruetting added 13 points while Moritz Trieb had 12 points. Janek Schmidkunz and Brandon Lockhart contributed 10 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners finished the game shooting 47% from the field and 13% from outside while the Giants Nordlingen shot 37% from the field and 27% form outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 39-31, but had 20 turnovers while Nordlingen ahd 12 turnovers.