A year ago at this time the Fraport Skyliners were near the basement of the Beko BBL standings with a record of 2-6 and had just been creamed in Aalstar Belgium in Eurochallenge play 94-59 and had a long road back out of the dark hole. At that time the defense wasn´t on the same page as they had given up 70 points or more in 7 of 8 games. Justin Cobbs would arrive 3 weeks later and help turn the season around and the rest was history with the playoffs and Eurochallenge final 4 reached. A year later life is good for the Fraport Skyliners as they are riding a massive 6 game winning streak and reeling off a gigantic 74-69 victory over FC Bayern Munich which if all else fails will be their highlight of the season anyway. Frankfurt is in seventh place riding one spot over FC Bayern Munich and savoring the moment until next weekend when all could change again. However one shouldn´t complain when one is winning right, but Frankfurt hasn´t been playing their best basketball and it has been their steady and consistent defense that has earned them their success. The club is giving up 70 points in the BBL and 61,5 point in the Fiba Europe cup while their offense is still sputtering and looking to find that healthy consistency that it has been lacking as the team averages 77 in the Beko BBl and 65 in the Fiba Europe Cup. Their 2-0 record in international play has been tough work as they had to grind out back to back wins against Leiden and KRKA Novo Mesto where they easily could have been 0-2 had a few shots and bounces not gone their way. Against FC Bayern Munich they received a Vinnie Johnson microwave like performance from Jordan Theodore who scored 21 of his 22 points in the second half leading the charge. Going into the game against FC Porto the 11 time Portuguese champion, the Fraport Skyliners once again knew what they were up against with a club that gives up only 60 points per game. Frankfurt had a real challenge having to finally show offensive consistency and more offensive balance from Theodore over a 40 minute period and they finally shook the offensive funk and came out overpowering FC Porto from the start giving a very strong offensive display winning 89-81 and moving to 3-0 in the competition while FC Porto moved to 1-2. It was freak athlete Quantez Robertson who refound his hot shooting stroke again after hitting 5 trey´s in the last 5 Beko BBL games, he nailed 5 clutch three pointers leading Frankfurt with 25 including a sweet throw down of an ally-oop. After the game FC Bayern Munich hero Jordan Theodore who had a solid night with 15 points didn´t credit his timely three´s against FC Bayern Munich as something that sparked the potent shooting of Robertson and had a new nickname for him. “He does so much for the team on and off the court. He is a vocal leader. I try to take his role as leader. I just call him the franchise. He is so tough and always finds a way to get the team out of their funk. He really can score. My three point shooting against FC Bayern Munich didn´t trickle down on him. Tez is always in the gym shooting. He knows how to shoot”, stressed New York native Jordan Theodore. Even if Robertson was instruamental in the win, it was as always a total team effort. “We did a great job on defense, but also executed on offense. We read them well and took them apart on offense. Coach Klaus Perwas had us ready with his scouting so we always know what to do”, warned ex Seton Hall guard Jordan Theodore. FC Porto was down from the get go and was fighting back all night long until 40 minutes were up and the game was over. They did a great job fighting and staying in the game, but couldn´t handle the Frankfurt consistency. “We came out strong, but they hit us hard in the third quarter. They hurt us on the pick and roll and we didn´t rotate well. We had a great plan, but had too many defensive lulls and we didn´t rotate well. Frankfurt hit big shots which helped their self-confidence”, added ex Vanderbilt guard Brad Tinsley.
Even if FC Porto had the two first big plays of the game with Seth HInrichs free throws and a Alberto Fontet block on Joe Voigtmann, the Fraport Skyliners quickly got into rhythm going on a 12-2 run as their offense was switched on and just skyrocketed from there to a new Skyliner dimension not seen yet this season. Frankfurt controlled the paint early as Voigtmann scored back to back buckets and Danilo Barthel followed with a lay in off the fast break from Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp. Robertson then smacked home two three pointers as the Fraport arena was witnessing instant offense. Frankfurt kept their steady offense flowing as Theodore wanted to get in on the action as he scored back to back buckets with a lay in and three pointer as Frankfurt led 17-6. FC Porto then went on a 5-0 run as ex Hillsdale(NCAA2) center Nick Washburn nailed a mid distance shot and ex MLP Academics guard Tinsley hit a three pointer cutting the Frankfurt lead to 17-11. Frankfurt then answered with a 5-0 run as Theodore hit a mid distance shot and 2010 Eurochallanege winner John Little connected on a trey as Frankfurt extended their advantage to 22-11. The Frankfurt ball movement was popping, all were involved and they were controlling the paint. However FC Porto didn´t allow Frankfurt to keep their run intact as they closed out the first quarter with a 7-1 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 23-18. American/Spaniard Arnette Hallman scored five unanswered points as he got active inside and Tinsley closed out the first quarter with a lay in with two seconds remaining. “It was important that we would be aggressive and not let them dictate the game. We wanted to set the tone early and did. We did a good job sharing the ball early”, said Jordan Theodore. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 56% from the field and 50% from outside while FC Porto was shooting 36% from the field and 25% from outside. Both teams had eight rebounds a piece and Frankfurt had two turnovers and FC Porto had four turnovers.
In the second quarter The Fraport Skyliners held the lead, but couldn´t get away as FC Porto remained on their door step ready to stomp on them if they weren´t alert. Both teams were playing offense in spurts as Frankfurt got buckets in the first few minutes from Robertson who made a pretty baby hook shot and Voigtmann a nifty fade away jumper for the 29-20 Frankfurt lead, but FC Porto kept plugging away as it wasn´t always their Americans carrying the work load, but also the Portuguese players that gave support like Pedro Bastos who had been the best FC Porto performer in the first two Europe cup games netting 18 points in both games getting a back door pass from Miguel Queiroz and he then made a lay in as FC Porto trailed 29-25. However the Frankfurt offense was always on, not always hot, but more often than not as Barthel made a lay in off a Voigtmann pass and then came the most spectacular play of the game as Frankfurt got out on transition and Theodore fed Super Tez Robertson the perfect ally-oop pass for the slam dunk and 33-25 Frankfurt lead. FC Porto kept battling away as 21 year old Pedro Bastos hit a three pointer over Theodore and Seth Hinrichs who played at Lafayette(NCAA) hit a big trey as FC Porto trailed only 37-33. However Frankfurt always had an adequate answer when FC Porto was getting to close as they reeved up their offense a bit more as Little and Robertson dropped three pointers as the Fraport Skyliners went into halftime with the comfortable 45-37 lead. “Basketball is a game of runs and that happened in the second, but we were able to sustain it and were up by 8 points at halftime. Often when you have a big lead you get complacent and just play instead of taking it one possession at a time. You can´t take plays off. We too foot off gas pedal a bit”, stated Jordan Theodore. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 52% from the field and 40% from the three point line while FC Porto was shooting 48% from the field and 33% from the three point line. FC Porto had the 17-13 rebound edge, but had nine turnovers while Frankfurt had five turnovers.
In the third quarter The Fraport Skyliners were able to extend their lead to 20 points, but FC Porto somehow hung around the Fraport Skyliners living room. The Fraport Skyliners started off the third quarter with a quick 7-3 run to extend their lead to 52-40. The New York microwave Jordan Theodre scored back to back baskets with a lay in off a steal going coast to coast and then making an off balance shot while Barthel made a lay in and free throw. Both teams had steady offense, but FC Porto couldn´t reel off a string of defensive stops as Frankfurt were leading always around 10 points. Da Silva made some shots while Robertson hit another trey and Barthel a lay in while Tinsley made a runner as Frankfurt still led 57-45. Barthel then made an offense rebound and put back dunk while Hinrichs a lay in as Frankfurt led 59-47. Then Konstantin Klein had his own 5-0 run with a lay in and three pointer which was followed by a Tinsley 5-0 run as he hit a trey and made a lay in going hard to the hole, but Frankfurt still led 64-52. Frankfurt then went on a lightening 8-0 run as Doornekamp hit consecutive three pointers and Robertson made free throws as Frankfurt had their biggest lead of the game 72-52. FC Porto closed out the third quarter with a 6-3 run as Hallman made free throws and a bank shot and Hallman made free throws while Robertson made another trey as Frankfurt led 75-58 after 30 minutes. “We got a lead of 20 points and did a good job not letting them get close”, stressed Jordan Theodore. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 58% from the field and 46% from the parking lot while FC Porto was shooting 46% from the field and 33% from the parking lot. FC Porto had the 23-21 rebound edge, but 13 turnovers while Frankfurt had eight turnovers.
In the fourth quarter FC Porto made one last big run, but couldn´t get fully over the hump to really threaten Frankfurt. Frankfurt started off the fourth quarter with a Robertson lay in and Klein three pointer to extend the Frankfurt lead to 80-60. However FC Porto had one last gasp and energy left to make one last run going on a 16-4 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 84-76 with three minutes to play. In the run FC Porto got a lot of support from the guards who helped under the boards getting offensive rebounds keeping the drive alive and just making little plays that kept Frankfurt off track. After a Tinsley lay in, Andre Bessa made a three pointer which was kept alive through two offensive rebounds as Frankfurt led 82-66. Then Frankfurt made a sweet play as Theodore made a touchdown pass to Robertson for an easy bucket. However FC Porto then reeled off 7 straight points as Washburn got very aggressive making two buckets inside. However Frankfurt stopped the run with a Little reverse basket as Voigtmann found him back door as Frankfurt led 86-76. Bessa made a lay in and free throw to cut the Frankfurt lead to 87-81, but with 2,4 seconds to play Theodore sealed the win with free throws. “We made mistakes at the end. We made some turnovers and had a few defensive lapses allowing them back into the game and they made plays”, added Florida native Mike Morrison. “In the fourth we were more aggressive on the ball and forced them to tougher shots. We need to play like that for 40 minutes. We ran out of time at the end. We need to learn from this game. The most positive thing form the game was our comeback in the fourth quarter”, stressed Brad Tinsley. Frankfurt has a 7 game winning streak and has confidence for the next game against current Beko BBL champion Brose Baskets Bamberg. “If we come out and execute, share the ball and play good defense as well as we did against FC Porto then we can beat many teams in the BBL and in Europe Cup play.
The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 25 points. Jordan Theodore added 15 points. Danilo Barthel contributed 14 points and Johannes Voigtmann supplied 10 points. FC Porto was led by Brad Tinsley with 17 points. Nick Washburn added 14 points and Seth Hinrichs had 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 54% from the field and 40% from outside while FC Porto shot 44% from the field and 33% from outside. FC Porto won the rebound battle 34-26, but had 15 turnovers while Frankfurt had 12 turnovers.