Royal Hali Gaziantep (Turkey-BSL) 206 center Anthony King may be 30 years already, but there was a time when he was a young inexperienced 23 year old rookie wearing a Frankfurt Skyliners jersey and had the daily panic thoughts about what kind of criticism he would receive from head coach Murat Didin or if it was worth it to go downtown to shop when he really had all that he needed in the NWZ mall that is adjacent to the training facility of the then Deutsche Bank Skyliners. When the ex Miami Hurricane came to Frankfurt in 2008, he was able to gain valuable experience from a Derrick Allen or Jimmy Mckinney, while Quantez Robertson was a senior at Auburn(NCAA). His rookie year was anything but easy as he hardly played averaging 3.2ppg, 2.8rpg. After leaving the Beko BBL, he had to pay basketball dues in Cyprus, but won 2 titles with InterCollege Etha Engomis (Cyprus-Division A), before returning back to Germany in 2011 and played for the Artland Dragons and became a very solid big man in an always progressing league. In the last 4 years, King battled against the Fraport Skyliners eight times and has a positive record of 5-3 and the first and last meetings will probably remain in his mind most from all games. In his first meeting in the 2011-2012 season, the game result looked more like a massive shoot out between the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos with a Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers combining for 10 touchdown passes as Artland won 49-44 showing no players had any post Christmas food on their ribs as both teams defended as if their life depended on it and in last seasons last game, it was Artland winning again 90-87 in 2OT as King had a superb game of 15 points and 11 rebounds. Now it was the first meeting of King against the Fraport Skyliners in an international club uniform as he welcomed his ex team to Turkey and had a rough day at the office going 0/3 and grabbing three boards as Royal Hali Glaziantep lost a tough fought game 71-66 as the Fraport Skyliners remain unbeaten in Europe Cup play at 8-0. It was a pretty even game for 40 minutes, but when it counted most in crunch time, the Fraport Skyliners made the big buckets and played tough defense keying in on ex NBA player Andrew Rautins who hit six three pointers, but didn´t get any shots near the end and they also defended ex NBA player Jawan Williams very well. This was the toughest and most talented team that the Fraport Skyliners have faced this season considering they had to tackle ex NBA players Andrew Rautins, Jawad Williams and Julyan Stone. “Those guys are really talented players but our defense was key tonight. We were able to make them uncomfortable at the most important part of the game. No game is easy. Every team has good players. No one stops a player on his own. It takes a team effort and that’s what we’ve prided ourselves on all season. Playing great team defense. When you look up the Skyliners, It should say a great collective unit who plays together on both ends of the floor”, stressed ex Seton Hall guard Jordan Theodore.
The Turkish team got off to the better start in the first quarter taking a quick 5-0 lead as Atlanta native and ex Unicaja Malaga (Spain-Liga Endesa) guard Earl Calloway hit a jumper and then set up ex Fraport Skyliner Andrew Rautins who whipped home a three pointer. However it didn´t take Frankfurt long to find their rhythm on offense as they rattled off a 8-3 run to dead lock the contest at 8-8. In the run Frankfurt got solid production from ex Auburn star Quantez Robertson who hit a jumper, Heidelberg native Danilo Barthel scored on the fast break, Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp made free throws and German national player Johannes Voigtmann hit a pick and pop jumper. The contest carried on momentarily as a game of runs as now it was Royal Hali Gaziantep stringing off a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 13-8 as ex NBA player Jawan Williams who was a menace all night long spreading the floor making a jumper and then it was ex New York Knick Rautins hitting an off balance jumper in the corner as the Turkish team showed their best ball movement of the evening. However Frankfurt tied the game at 13 with a 5-0 run as Voigtmann nailed a fade away shot and Lithuanian and ex B.C. Zalgiris Kaunas (LKL) forward Tomas Dimsa brought massive energy from the bench with a three pointer. Both teams exchanged a few more lead changes as ex NBA players Julyan Stone and Williams connected, but Frankfurt withstood their fire power and led 21-19 after 10 minutes as ex Braunschweig forward Doornekamp scored in bunches with a trey and a lay in. It was a pretty even game, but Frankfurt quickly established the points in the paint area as well as getting buckets in transition. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 40% from outside while Royal Hali Gaziantep was shooting 44% from the field and 44% from outside. Frankfurt had the 9-8 rebound edge and had three turnovers while Royal Hali Gaziantep had four turnovers.
In the second quarter there was even less offense being executed as both teams started off cold not getting the first field goal until the seven minute mark. Both teams had their chances, but weren´t always using the best options. Frankfurt finally got their offense going getting buckets in bunches as Voigtmann hit a jumper and at that point was the most stable offense player for Frankfurt and Dimsa snuck inside as Frankfurt led 25-21. Royal Hali Gaziantep then got the lead back at 26-25 as they received instant offense from 36 year old 207cm Croatian Tomislav Ruzic who was the 2002 MVP of the Croatian Allstar game scored inside and then connected from deep in the corner. This didn´t faze Frankfurt as they went on a 8-1 run to take the 33-26 lead. The run was started by a deep three pointer from 2015 University games silver medalist Konstantin Klein, Robertson made free throws and then found Barthel from the parking lot. Frankfurt did a super job taking advantage of the Royal Hali Gaziantep mistakes and finally executing more consistently on the offensive end. However Royal Hali Gaziantep ran into halftime in charge going on a 5-2 run to trail only 35-32 as Rautins nailed another trey and Williams connected on a runner from the base line. After 20 minutes the game remained an even affair as neither club was able to break free. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 44% from the field and 33% from the three point line while Royal Hali Gaziantep was shooting 42% from the field and 46% from the three point line. The rebound duel was tied at 16 a piece, while Frankfurt had seven turnovers and Royal Hali Gaziantep 10 turnovers.
Just like at begin of the second quarter, both teams had difficulty executing on offense as neither had real respect for either defense as it was playing at a high level. The first field goal was made at the 6.40 minute mark as Royal Hali Gaziantep got a trey from Calloway to tie the game at 35-35. Former teammates Klein and Rautins then traded three pointers as the game remained dead locked at 38-38. The Fraport Skyliners then were the controlling team for the rest of the third quarter as Royal Hali Gaziantep was playing catch up basketball and did a good job not letting the guests decide the game early. Frankfurt went on a 6-0 run to lead 44-38 as Doornekamp made free throws and Voigtmann hit a 20 footer on the pick and pop play with Robertson and then was fed from Barthel for the two handed crushing dunk. Royal Hali Gaziantep got free throws from Stone and a trey from Williams who looks like an NBA player just by his stagger on the court. Frankfurt got back to back buckets from Robertson who made a step back and two handed dunk getting the shovel pass from Florida native Mike Morrison as Frankfurt led 48-42. Rautins then made an off balance three to keep Royal Hali Gaziantep at bay 48-46. Calloway made some free throws and Jordan Theodore who often gets going in the second half made a tough left handed lay in in traffic. Ex Turk Telekom guard Can Ogut connected on a deep three pointer to send the game into the fourth quarter at 52-52. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and 31% from the parking lot while Royal Hali Gaziantep was shooting 42% from the field and 48% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 26-25 rebound advantage and eight turnovers while Royal Hali Gaziantep had 13 turnovers.
Royal Hali Gaziantep got the momentum at the start of the fourth quarter going on a lightening 6-0 run to lead 58-52 as the Turkish team got consecutive three pointers from the corner from Stone and 35 year old 204 cm Slovenian Jure Balazic who won the 2011 Eurochallenge with Krka Novo Mesto. Frankfurt took a time out and came back on the court rejuvenated going on a quick 5-0 run to trail only 58-57 as Theodore got Frankfurt going getting to the line and then finding Voigtmann inside for the easy bucket. 2010 Eurochalleneg winner John Little then made a heads up play getting an offensive rebound and easy put back. Calloway then hit a jumper as Royal Hali Gaziantep led 60-57. Frankfurt then went on a mini 4-0 run to retake the lead 61-60 as Dimsa found some huge daylight inside as no one challenged him and he got in the lane and finished with a one handed stuff and Voigtmann made a huge hustle play making a steal at center court off the inbounds pass and getting off to the races and making the easy lay in. Ruzic then made a free throw to tie the game at 61-61. As crunch time approached it was Frankfurt that had the better nerves, options and executed better and tightened up their defense going on a 9-3 run to lead 70-64 and would never look back. Frankfurt got free throws from Voigtmann and Klein for the 64-61 lead and stopped the ex North Carolina Tar Heel Williams twice in this span as they didn´t give him any good looks, but he still opted to shoot and Robertson added on to the lead scoring inside getting a nifty back door pass from Voigtmann for the 66-61 lead. However never be too sure of your fortunes when a Rautins is on the court and hovering around the three point line as he nailed a trey to cut the Frankfurt advantage to 66-64. Frankfurt stayed mentally tough then as Theodore as he so often does made a huge bucket scoring inside and then Frankfurt then stopped Balazic inside. “Crunch time is where I’m at my best. I feel like it’s my job to make the right plays. I saw the big man and I just wanted to attack him and I was able to get him off balance and finish at the rim”, stressed Jordan Theodore. Doornekamp put icing on the cake with free throws as Frankfurt led 70-64. Calloway then made a jumper and Doornekamp a free throw to end the game. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Johannes Voigtmann with 15 points and nine rebounds. Aaron Doornekamp added 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Jordan Theodore, Konstantin Klein and Quantez Robertson added 10 points a piece. Royal Hali Gaziantep was led by Andrew Rautins with 18 points. Earl Calloway added 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists while Jawad Williams also contributed 12 points. Frankfurt shot 42% from the field and 26% from outside while Royal Hali Gaziantep shot 39% from the field and 41% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 38-35 and had 11 turnovers while Royal Hali Gaziantep had 16 turnovers. Frankfurt dominated the points in the paint 32-6 and had a 26-0 transition points advantage.