One of the good things about an ugly win is and when its in Europe Cup play is that a club has a lot of time to watch film, correct errors and then also get prepared for the next opponent and with FC Bayern Munich in town Gordon Herbert needed as much time as possible to digest the disgusting game against Slovenian team Novo Mesto that Frankfurt won 67-65, but with their exhibition of lack luster offense,they would have been creamed by the Bavarian team by at least 25 points. Even after the ugly win Cincinnati native Quantez Robertson found a short instance to joke that the club could of scared away the team if Frankfurt had had 5 leatherface masks on, but really Novo Mesto wasn´t scared of Frankfurt the whole night. Frankfurt had no consistent rhythm on offense and except for a nice 14-0 run in the third quarter had no instant offense the whole game. Costly and untimely turnovers scared all observers as the Fraport Skyliners really showcased untypical Frankfurt basketball. Their defense is the only part of their game that continues to be in harmony as their chemistry is there as they have allowed 65 points on average in the last 5 games. But where is that good offense that comes from their strong defense which is usually the result? The Fraport Skyliners had 5 days to digest the weird win and prepare for FC Bayern Munich while Germany´s most famous sports brand had only 72 hours after playing Euroleague Friday night in Spain against Real Madrid. Two weeks ago fans may have experienced a horror show, but the club got some fortune as the German big three of Johannes Voigtmann, Danilo Barthel and Konstantin Klein are healthy again which makes their roster deeper again. However one needs a lot more than a deep roster when you have the eccentric character of Svetislav Pesic roaming the sidelines and a star ensemble of players like Bryce Taylor, Deon Thompson, Nihad Djedovic, KC Rivers and Alex Renfroethat could fill the Frankfurt Alte Oper and probably the one or the other dazzle with their footwork with a ballet cast with the biggest cheerleader being big country John Bryant applauding from the first row. However the Alte Oper or ballet wasn´t on the menu, but top notch basketball as The Fraport Skyliners entered the game with a five game winning streak and wanted to show the home crowd that their inconsistency of Eurocup offense was over as they met the 2014 Beko BBL champion FC Bayern Munich and were like reborn not being kicked out of the arena by 30, but by playing hard -nosed defense and being inspired in the second half by Jordan Theodore´s 21 points and Vinnie Johnson microwave steam as they won their sixth game in a row stifling FC Bayern Munich 74-69. After the win Theodore was humbled by the comparison to microwave great Vinnie Johnson of the Detroit Pistons, but after scoring only one point in the first half and no offense generated, his 21 points in the second half felt refreshing. “I wasn´t aggressive in the first half and I am an attacking point guard. I was trying to get a feel in the first half and getting guys involved, but I knew that I would be able to pick my spots in the second half. Vinnie Johnson was a great player. I started to hit shots and felt comfortable and the hole started to look big. I just tried to help the team anyway that I could. I credit my teammates for letting me take the shots. The big thing though was our defense. We want to hold teams to 70 or under and did that tonight. We also fed off the crowd as there was a great atmosphere in the arena”, stressed New York native Jordan Theodore. Skyliner good luck charm Jason Boone was in the arena watching good friend John Little play and was impressed by Theodore, but not surprised by his heating up. “Theodore hit crazy shots. He was in the zone and like a microwave. Munich didn´t do a good job keeping him out of his comfort zone. When you compete at this level and against a team like Munich you have to know what to do to win and Theodore knew what he had to do and once he got going took that to his advantage getting in a groove and securing the win”, said 2010 Eurochallenge winner Jason Boone. After a big win against FC Bayern Munich one can always be in a joking mood. “Theodore wasn´t a microwave. The way he played is what we expect from him. He hit tough shots and made free throws. He showed great leadership and found guys and made the right plays”, stated Cincinnati native Quantez Robertson. Fc Bayern Munich was reeling off a bitter 101-99 loss at Real Madrid, but made no excuses for the loss, but were honest. “This wasn´t one of my best games. We didn´t have the Real Madrid game in our heads. We play basketball for a living and know how to move on from game to game. We didn´t execute the way we know how and didn´t do the things that we know how to win games. We actually did nothing right”, stressed ex Brose Baskets Bamberg guard Alex Renfroe who remained scoreless.
FC Bayern Munich kept Americans Deon Thompson, Alex Renfroe and KC Rivers on the bench to start the game as the sold out Fraport arena witnessed the quick start by the 2014 Beko BBL champion FC Bayern Munich and Bosnian Nihad Djedovic who stole the ball in the first 20 seconds to get an easy bucket, then fed ex Bamberg guard Anton Gavel with a soft touch pass which he dropped for three and then finished off a perfect set play with a trey as the Fraport Skyliners trailed 8-3. However Frankfurt were alert and didn´t allow FC Bayern Munich to get the momentum, but reeled off a 7-2 run to secure the game at 10-10. Roberston might of taken something from Saarlouis guard Ricky Easterling as he watched the American bury mid range shots all night long the other night and hit one himself and German national player Danilo Barthel made two huge buckets posterizing ex North Carolina Tar Heel Deon Thompson with a one hand dunk and then connecting on a three pointer as the shot clock was winding down. After Thompson made a dunk after getting fed perfectly from Renfroe for the 12-10 FC Bayern Munich lead, Frankfurt reeled off seven unanswered points to lead 17-12 as it was all Mike Morrison who was a beast in the paint making a tap in, then penetrated from the wing like a slick guard and scoring and made three free throws. FC Bayern Munich ended the first quarter on a 4-0 run as ex ratiopharm Ulm center John Bryant hit free throws and Djedovic scored inside. “One could sense that Frankfurt was playing with a sense of urgency. Frankfurt was playing as if they had something to prove. Frankfurt did a good job inside as the guard position is the big strength of Munich and snot o much the post”, said New York native Jason Boone. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 32% from the field and 25% from outside while FC Bayern Munich was shooting the same as Frankfurt. Frankfurt had the 15-11 rebound edge and three turnovers while FC Bayern Munich had zero turnovers.
In the second quarter both teams stepped up the defense as there were three lead changes, but FC Bayern Munich marched into halftime with the tight 32-28 advantage. FC Bayern Munich got off to a good start going on a mini 4-0 run to retake the lead 20-17. Thompson who once played for Alba Berlin hit a jumper while getting the kick out pass from Djedovic and Bryant scored on the pick and roll with Renfroe supplying him the ball. Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert then inserted German Max Merz for the struggling Theodore and he produced leading the team on a 6-0 run to resnatch the lead 23-20 as Johannes Voigtmann made free throws, Merz found Klein for the jumper and then made a quick inbounds pass to Barthel who layed it in. “When I come in I try to do my job which is play good defense first and then get the team going in the set play. I feel no pressure having to go in and perform, but just see it as my next chance”, added Max Merz. However that spurt of offense didn´t impress FC Bayern Munich as they have the offensive artillery to come out firing and being successful at any time and made a 9-2 run give them the 29-24 lead. In the run, Frankfurt allowed some buckets inside as Bryant got a loose ball and scored and later hit free throws and ex Telekom Baskets Bonn guard Bryce Taylor scored on the hard penetration and Dusko Savanovic connected on a trey. Barthel and German national player Paul Zipser then traded buckets, but the inability of Frankfurt to make consistent free throws kept them behind at half time 32-28. “This was an ugly game. Both teams weren´t playing well, but Frankfurt was still in the game and is playing at home. If Frankfurt sticks to their game and plays with confidence then they will have a chance to win. Djedovic is such a smart player and was a big factor for Munich having the lead”, added ex Wurzburg center Jason Boone. FC Bayern Munich was shooting 35% from the field and 21% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 32% from the field and 18% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 24-18 rebound edge, but eight turnovers while FC Bayern Munich had three turnovers.
In the third quarter the game remained tight as FC Bayern Munich just couldn´t find their top execution level to get away as the Fraport Skyliners stayed in the game despite getting hit by a run. The Fraport Skyliners came out of halftime refocused and stopped FC Bayern Munich in their first three possessions and got on the board first as Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp drilled home a three pointer off the fast break to cut the FC Bayern Munich lead to 32-31. After Savanovic free throws, Jordan Theodore crawled out of his dark black hole dropping a huge three pointer dead locking the game at 34-34. After Djedovic made a difficult lay in from the wing in traffic, it was Theodore again scoring with his penetration strength as his microwave was switched on as the game was tied at 36-36. Despite FC Bayern Munich being hit with their fifth team foul at the 4,37 minute mark, they were able to escape out on a 10-4 run to lead 46-40. In the run it was Bryant who got the first five points as he made two lay ups set up nicely from Djedovic and Renfroe and then 2015 Euroleague champion with Real Madrid KC Rivers nailed a three pointer and Djedovic made free throws. FC Bayern Munich couldn´t hold the momentum as Frankfurt closed out the third quarter strong with a 9-3 run to catch back the momentum and lead 49-48. In the run Florida native Mike Morrison scored inside controlling the paint with strong authority scoring with a left handed lay in over Thompson and in the last 20 seconds Frankfurt scored twice from the parking lot off the result of potent defense as Robertson and Klein converted three pointers. “The first five minutes set the tone. I wanted to set the tone. I hit a three and made a lay in. We then played off our defense. We took the momentum back and then controlled the tempo”, stressed ex Seton Hall guard Jordan Theodore. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 39% from the field and 29% from the parking lot while FC Bayern Munich was shooting 39% from the field and 22% from the parking lot. Frankfurt led the rebound duel 29-24, but had 11 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich had nine turnovers.
The fourth quarter remained a tight affair and FC Bayern Munich would regain the lead one more time before giving it up and never getting it back again. It really doesn´t matter what happens in a 40 minute game but a run or consecutive runs in this sport is as common as Quantez Robertson pushing the ball up court as the Fraport Skyliners started off with a quick mini 4-0 run to lead 53-48 as Frankfurt showed great team basketball as Theodore whipped the ball to Voigtmann who touch passed it to Robertson for the easy lay in and Morrison made a beautiful but tough lay in over Thompson and Rivers, but that quick burst of energy was halted instantly by back to back three pointers by Savanovic and Rivers as FC Bayern Munich suddenly led again 54-53. The 6-0 FC Bayern run moved to an 8-0 run as Djedovic scored inside for the 56-53 advantage. Frankfurt stopped the run as ex Braunschweig forward Aaron Doornekamp made a trey to tie the game at 56-56. However Frankfurt was then hit with their fifth foul at the 5.19 minute mark and needed to be careful on defense how aggressive they would be. FC Bayern Munich quickly used that knowledge to their advantage as Bryant sunk four free throws and FC Bayern Munich led 60-56. Then with the microwave having been heated earlier got burning hot as Jordan Theodore went to work leading his team on a 9-0 run to get Frankfurt the lead back at 65-60 and they would never relinquish it again. Theodore used his strength scoring inside twice on the penetration and nailing free throws. He then made a steal starting the finest play of the evening getting the ball to Voigtmann on transition who got it too Doornekmap on the right wing and then it was obvious that Morrison who was cruising down the lane would be served up the biggest dinner plate of his German career as he rammed home an alley-oop dunk which now had the Fraport arena in a frenzy. Theodore then gave Frankfurt the 68-62 lead with two minutes to play with a three pointer. However FC Bayern Munich didn´t just wilt, but fought going on a last minute 4-0 run as Savanovic hit a runner and Djedovic made free throws as Frankfurt led only 68-66. However Theodore wasn´t finished yet as he put a lid on the coffin nailing a in your face Gavel three pointer giving Frankfurt the 71-66 lead with 51 seconds to play. “We didn´t get Theodore under control. I take the blame for the loss”, stressed Anton Gavel. Theodore and Morison then sealed the win ultimately with free throws. “We played smart at the end to play aggressive defense with five team fouls, but not foul. We executed on offense and got needed stops. This doesn´t feel like a six game winning streak. Coach is a perfectionist. We aren´t satisfied with our play”, warned Jordan Theodore. “We didn´t execute down the stretch and Frankfurt wanted it more. We also felt some fatigue”, added 2015 Euroleague winner with Real Madrid KC Rivers.
The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jordan Theodore with 22 points. Mike Morrison added 17 points and six rebounds and Quantez Robertson added 12 points. FC Bayern Munich were led by John Bryant with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Nihad Djedovic had 16 points, six rebounds and three assists. Dusko Savanovic added 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 44% from the field and 35% from outside while FC Bayern Munich shot 38% from the field and 25% from outside. Both teams had 34 rebounds and FC Bayern Munich had 15 turnovers while Frankfurt had 13 turnovers. Maybe the Fraport Skyliners should make a fan contract with MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg center Jason Boone to be present at big games, because he was a good luck charm. “Boone was our good luck charm. Last season when he was playing in Turkey, he came to our games against Bamberg and Berlin and we won those games”, smiled 2010 Eurochallenge winner John Little.