It was only once a year the last 10 years that the Fraport Skyliners had to play in Bonn, but whenever fans thought about it there was an uneasy feeling about a so called curse growing and growing as the club hadn´t won their since January ist, 2005. A time then when no current Skyliner was a professional yet. Johannes Voigtmann probably didn´t even know what a basketball was as he was playing handball, Quantez Robertson was 9 months away from starting his college career at Auburn and Aaron Doornekamp was a freshman at Carleton where he would proceed to win 3 CIS titles. Things can be a lot worse as the Curse of the Bambino in Boston that was finally lifted in 2004, 86 years after the Boston Redsox had won their last MLB title or in Chicago where it is still ongoing as the Cubs have been waiting 107 years for the next MLB title. However basketball life is fantastic in Frankfurt as the club lifted the curse of Bonn with a big 82-59 victory clobbering the Telekom Baskets Bonn as if there had never been a curse and currently riding a 10 game winning streak and besides being the little darlings of the Beko BBL also the hottest team in the league. However what also has been remarkable over the last month has been how well they have adapted to the two game a week schedule and have also stayed perfect in Europe Cup action having a 4-0 record. They had problems at home against Leiden and KRKA Novo Mesto, but played excellent in the last two games against FC Porto and ZZ Leiden where their offense finally woke up, while their defense only took a breather against the Portuguese team and was wide awake in Holland. With the super win in Leiden, the Fraport Skyliners had qualified for the next round and with two games remaining in Europe Cup were looking to secure first place in Slovenia. Frankfurt knew that they would have to be alert as Krka Novo Mesto had lost only by two points in Frankfurt and in the last week disposed of FC Porto and last weekend top team Cibona in the Adriatic league. However the winning continues with the Fraport Skyliners and at the moment seems as self evident as the New England Patriots as with every new win it seems like their self confidence grows a tic more like the three point wizardry of Jordan Theodore that has been increasing in the last games as the 2004 German champion won their club record 11th win in a row slapping Novo Mesto 82-72 to clinch first in their Europe Cup group and move to 5-0 in the competition. It was a close game throughout, but one always sensed that the Fraport Skyliners were just a little better in all aspects of the game and when they had to break away in the fourth were able to with ease. A big difference was simply the defense where Frankfurt kept up the pressure for 40 minutes and kept the Slovenian team attempting tough shots on a rapid basis while Frankfurt got way more open shots. “It feels good to win our 11th game in a row. The key to tonight’s game was defense. We wanted to come out and set the tone defensively. They had us down early. They came out on fire. Knocking down a lot of 3’s and getting to the rim. In the 2nd quarter we finally got ourselves together and was able to get some stops off our defense. We also ran our sets down the stretch. Big Jo and Tez stepped up major tonight. They carried us most of the game. We didn’t have too many guys scoring the basketball and Jo and Tez were able to get us some easy buckets”, stressed Jordan Theodore.
After seeing an extremely ugly and defensive minded game in Frankfurt, both teams returned to the floor in Slovenia with their offenses better oiled and in a scoring mood. Frankfurt got on the board first and would get the lead three times with Krka Novo Mesto tying the score twice and then taking the 7-6 lead with a Mirko Mulalic three pointer who played at the U-20 European championships in 2008 in Riga, Latvia. Frankfurt spread around the scoring at will as German national player Johannes Voigtmann hit a hook shot, New York native Jordan Theodore scored inside using his almost unstoppable quickness and Quantez Robertson scored in the low post over Mulalic. No team could slid away as five lead changes resulted as Krka Novo Mesto were getting big man and two time Croatian all star Jure Lalic involved inside as he scored twice. Frankfurt got clutch buckets inside from Voigtmann who connected twice and 2010 Eurochallenge winner John Little dropped a pull up jumper. Both teams were doing a good job getting easy baskets inside and Krka Novo Mesto was getting to the free throw line at ease. After Robertson tied the score at 14-14 with an off balance shot, Krka Novo Mesto went on a 5-0 run to lead 19-14 as Mulalic hit a wild shot from way outside and Serbian point guard Dusan Katnic who reached the 2011 Eurochallenge semi-finals with KK Crvena Zvezda Beograd made free throws. Robertson closed out the first quarter with a three pointer after being served a pretty kick out pass from Theodore as Krka Novo Mesto led 19-17. Krka Novo Mesto was shooting 40% from the field and 33% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 53% from the field and 33% from outside. Frankfurt had the 9-8 rebound edge, but three turnovers while Krka Novo Mesto had zero turnovers.
In the second quarter Krka Novo Mesto went on a run and had their biggest lead of 9 points, but Quantez Robertson took matters into his own hands leading the Fraport Skyliners on a 15-3 run contributing 12 points. Krka Novo Mesto started the second quarter with a 10-3 run to lead 29-20. In the run they got support from 22 year old 211cm center Ziga Dimec who perfected the screen and roll twice showing why getting baskets close to the hoop resulted in winning the Telemach field goal percentage title the last two seasons, Stefan Sinovec who reached the 2010 Euroleague Final 4 with BC Partizan Igokea Beograd hit a pull up jumper and Matje Rocic pulled down an offensive rebound and made a put back and then made two of three free throws after Frankfurt head coach Gordon Herbert had been charged with a technical foul. Theodore hit a three pointer giving Frankfurt it´s first points after four minutes had been played. Despite Krka Novo Mesto leading 29-20, they were hit with their fifth team foul after five minutes and that was the turning point of the second quarter for the Fraport Skyliners who instantly rallied back as Quantez Robertson led the charge scoring 12 of the Frankfurt points in the 15-3 run regaining the lead back at 37-32. Robertson nailed two three pointers as his shooting was deadly on this night and made six free throws. Voigtmann also helped by sinking a three pointer. Krka Novo Mesto fought back as three time Slovenian allstar and two time cup winner sharp shooter Luka Lapornik nailed a three pointer and runner dead locking the game at 37-37. Voigtmann then made a turn around shot while Lalic nailed free throws. Heidelberg native Danilo Barthel closed out the second quarter with free throws as Frankfurt led 41-39 at the break. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 55% from the three point line while Krka Novo Mesto was shooting 44% from the field and 33% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 16-15 rebound edge, but six turnovers while Krka Novo Mesto had five turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners set the tone having the lead for the most time except for a short instance near the end, but Krka Novo Mesto remained on the German heels never letting them break away. The immense power that Robertson had given the Fraport Skyliners in the second quarter continued in the third as he scored in bunches getting his own rebound and making the put back and then getting the perfect back door feed from Barthel as Frankfurt led 45-40. However Krka Novo Mesto then showed why basketball is a game of runs as they also were able to score in bunches going on a 7-0 run to get the lead back at 47-45 as Lalic made a lay in off the pick and roll, Mulalic nailed a trey and Lapornik made a catch and pop shot. Then both teams got the lead back as Theodore nailed a three pointer and Lalic continued to dominate inside getting a bucket as it didn´t look pretty, but was effective as Krka Novo Mesto led 49-48. Then it was time for the Fraport Skyliners to go on a run as they scored seven unanswered pointers as the German big 3 scored as Konstantin Klein dropped a trey, Theodore served up a no look pass to Voigtmann for the dunk and Barthel made a lay in as Frankfurt led 55-49. Frankfurt was playing strong defense which sparked their offense and continued to push the ball whenever they could and got easy buckets inside as the Krka Novo Mesto defense inside wasn´t aggressive enough to keep the Frankfurt big men out. Krka Novo Mesto continued to scrap away going on a 12-5 run to regain the lead at 61-60. They got huge three pointers from Lapornik and Katnic while Dimec continued to do damage inside as his big body was hard to control as he made two field goals including an old school hook shot and made free throws. Frankfurt got the last points of the third quarter as ex Seton hall guard Jordan Theodore made free throws as Frankfurt led 62-61. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 55% from the parking lot while Krka Novo Mesto was shooting 50% from the field and 35% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the slight rebound advantage 23-22 and both teams had nine turnovers a piece.
In the fourth quarter, Krka Novo Mesto was slowly losing their reserves while the Fraport Skyliners had enough energy continued to defend very well while their opponent couldn´t withstand the consistent offense and shooting. Krka Novo Mesto continued trying to get Dimec the ball and he remained productive and getting to the free throw line, but overall the Slovenian team weapons weren´t as fresh and active as what Frankfurt had to offer as they got a Theodore three pointer and Doornekamp lay in as he snuck inside for the easy bucket and Voigtman made a 20 footer from the baseline as Frankfurt had the 70-64 lead and were in control. The Fraport Skyliner offense continued to stay well-oiled and got open shots while Krka Novo Mesto had to fight for good shots, but weren´t getting them. Frankfurt spread the ball around well all night long as Robertson was key in the second, Theodore in many other situations and now it was ex handball player Voigtmann who started to play organized basketball at age 15 who slammed the door on Krka Novo Mesto with a jumper and three pointer extending the Frankfurt lead to 74-66 with a few minutes to go which left the Slovenian club in a deep hole as they had to win by at least three points to have a chance to secure the group win. Theodre who was a microwave against FC Bayern Munich a few weeks ago now had to share the microwaves of Robertson and Voigtmann, but turned his on one more time nailing a pull up jumper and floater giving Frankfurt the 78-69 lead. Lapornik answered with a trey cutting the Frankfurt lead to 78-72, but Frankfurt closed out the game with Robertson and Doornekamp free throws to win 82-72. “I’m not sure if Nova Mesto got tired but I know that we didn’t want to lose. We knew how important it was to finish 1st in our pool. The key to us working so hard and getting wins comes down to one thing. The guys on this team are not satisfied with just beating big name teams. We have set goals and we understand that every game is a battle within itself. So we make sure that we don’t dwell on wins and focus on the next game”, added Jordan Theodore. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 22 points. Johannes Voigtmann added 19 points and Jordan Theodore chipped in with 17 points and four assists.Krka Novo Mesto were led by Luka Lapornik with 19 points and Mirko Mulalic added 12 points. The Fraport Sklyiners shot 50% from the field and 50% from outside while Krka Novo Mesto shot 45% from the field and 28% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 34-28 and had 11 turnovers while Krka Novo Mesto had 12 turnovers.