In the last three months one of the hottest teams in the Beko BBl have been the EWE Baskets Oldenburg who have been like a runaway train led by 257 pound beast Brian Qvale lending that scoring and physical trait with supporting cast Ricky Paulding and Vaughn Duggins on the wings as nobody has been able to stop them as they were riding a magnificent 12 game winning streak. In this glorious Beko BBL run, the club had scored more than 100 points three times and even if they played 60 percent lower ranked teams, they were able to beat two teams battling for a playoff spot with the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg and the Giessen 46ers and also defeated two of the top three with the Brose Baskets Bamberg and Alba Berlin. What really has been most impressive is thatnthe EWE Baskets Oldenburg had been able to beat these four times in crunch time and seem on a good way heading into the playoffs where winning these nail bitters are very important in a close series. For a guy like Mr Oldenburg Ricky Paulding who has played 350 Beko BBL games coming into the showdown against the Fraport Skyliners, he is a guy who could probably tell you exactly where he scored certain points in his career in the Fraport Skyliners living room. Paulding also will remember that the last game that his club lost before they started this long winning streak was the do or die game on January 20th as the Fraport Skyliners secured their ticket for the 2016 Beko BBL cup final 4 in Munich with a 80-68 victory. In that game, the EWE baskets Oldenburg stayed with the Fraport Skyiners well being down at halftime 44-43, but a devastating 17-5 in the third quarter Frankfurt run broke the back of Paulding and co as Frankfurt marched to Munich with their heads held high. Not only was the revenge factor big for the EWE baskets Oldenburg, but the game also witnessed a new rematch of the brothers of another mother Jordan Theodore and ex NBA player Scott Machado who grew up on balling and dreaming of a professional career at the Dyckman playground in the Washington/Heights section of New York. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg wanted revenge while the Fraport Skyliners wanted to notch a win and secure home court advantage and travel to Berlin with a lot of self-confidence for their next game on Sunday with 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin and did as Oldenburg went down in Frankfurt for the second straight time this season losing 78-63 and securing home court advantage in the playoffs. It was another great team effort for the Fraport Skyliners where they really buckled down on defense in the second half allowing Oldenburg to only to 25 points. When one plays against a talented offensive team like Oldenburg totally shutting down everyone is about as uncommon as keeping A Jordan Theodore clear from the lane, but the Fraport Skyliners did a super job holding Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding to only six points and not letting Vaughn Duggins and Brian Qvale to totally explode as they were limited combined to 24 points. “We played Skyliner basketball once again. I feel that we really put together a good 40 minutes of basketball. Even when we did get down, we never worried about it, but just concentrated on the next play and getting the job done. We played good defense and moved the ball never dwelling on mistakes. This was a huge game where we were playing for third place. We came to play”, stressed Fraport Skyliners guard Jordan Theodore. For the EWE Baskets Oldenburg winning had been a very normal thing in the last months, but in Frankfurt they hit a stone wall that even that gave their players difficulty coming up with answers as to why they couldn´t continue their winning streak on the road. “Like always Frankfurt defended very well. Frankfurt dictated the tempo with their defense and we just didn´t shoot the ball well. We missed too many easy lay ups and we had to work a lot harder to get open shots on offense”, added EWE Baskets Oldenburg guard Philipp Schwethelm.
This season German national player Johannes Voigtmann has ripened for many into one of the top players in the Beko BBL as in most every game the big man could trade his Big Joe nickname to Mr versatiity as he can do it all. He also has shown signs of being able to shoot the three, but in the last four months hasn´t shot the ball so much from the parking lot as he has gone 5/17 since his three trey´s that he nailed in Weissenfels in a 79-64 win shortly before the new year. Against the EWE Baskets Oldenburg, Voigtmann found his rifle again and rifled home three three pointers in three attempts. He started the game with two in a row and later sat parked in the corner like a top three point specialist and simply let the ball swoosh through the net as if it had seen film of a certain Curry from the NBA. After the big victory, his teammates weren´t surprised that the big man was riffling away again, but happy that he found his range again. “The big fella came to play. He scored from all over the court. When he can score from anywhere then he becomes a triple threat all the time. He did a good job letting the game come to him and not forcing anything. Later in the game, he used his versatility and killed inside. He was playing superb big boy basketball”, smiled teammate Jordan Theodore. Teammate Quantez Robertson had little fortune from outside going 3/9, but was thrilled that the big center could contribute from the parking lot. “With the last days off, I think he was able to mentally prepare well. He wasn´t scared to shoot from anywhere. Joe shoots the ball well in practice, so we expect it from him in games”, added Quantez Robertson.
4,880 fans came to see two of the top teams in the Beko BBL square off as Jordan Theodore was back in the line up after missing the MBC game due to a shoulder injury and witnessed a three point party as Mr Oldenburg Rickey Paulding started off the game with a trey which was followed by two in a row by Voigtmann and one by Robertson as Frankfurt got off to a quick 9-3 lightening lead. Frankfurt got into a groove early and found their rhythm and quickly led 17-7 as they not only had a knack of hitting from downtown, but also got their inside game started as Heidelberg native Danilo Barthel made a lay in, Voigtmann a tip in and Florida native Mike Morrison a massive two handed dunk off the Barthel steal who had to dribble a bit slower to let the big man run the floor and get set to fly and finish the stuff. The Fraport Skyliners were playing supreme Skyliner basketball where their good defense led to easy buckets and had that inside/out game going. However then came a turning point in the first quarter as Voigtmann and Theodore got two quick fouls and exited the game which allowed the EWE Baskets Oldenburg to go on their first big run of the game of 15-4 to end the first 10 minutes having the slim 22-21 advantage. Oldenburg did a good job being aggressive and getting to the free throw line and ex NBA player Scott Machado gave the team a spark scoring inside and nailing a three pointer. Robin Smeulders made a dunk and ex Wright State(NCAA) guard Vaughn Duggins a running lay up high off the glass giving the guests the temporary lead. “Frankfurt did a good job being physical and having a good start. The second foul of Theodore hurt Frankfurt and Oldenburg came back getting some easy baskets and not having Theodore on the court hurt Frankfurt at both ends of the court. Machado also gave Oldenburg energy from the bench”, stressed ex Fraport Skyliner Anthony Jones. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 58% from the field and 30% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 60% from outside. Both teams had six rebounds a piece and Frankfurt two turnovers and Oldenburg three turnovers.
In the second quarter, both teams were involved in a good old fashioned dog fight as no team led by more than four points and it was just two aggressive teams going back and forth with hard-nosed defense dominating the contest. Duggins got Oldenburg on the board first hitting a difficult lay in in traffic as Frankfurt trailed 24-21. Frankfurt didn´t get their first field goal of the second quarter until their fifth possession as Robertson nailed a trey deadlocking the game. Paulding and Theodore then traded three pointers as Frankfurt had the 29-26 advantage. However the EWE Baskets Oldenburg then found some daylight going on a big 7-0 run to extend their lead to 33-29. In the run, they got a timely three pointer from talented German big guard Dominik Lockhart, a Chris Kramer lay in going coast to coast and a turnaround shot from work horse ex Bayreuth center Brian Qvale. Oldenburg was playing very smart basketball, but also hitting tough shots while Frankfurt got good shots, but couldn´t hit the ocean with a rock. Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert called a time out and it proved to be efficient as his team buckled down and went into halftime with a stellar 11-4 run to lead 40-37. Mike Morrison brought much energy on both ends of the court and Danilo Barthel supplied the much needed offensive punch inside. Morrison started off the run with a lay in off and inbounds pass from Theodore and soon after blocked Qvale. Barthel who has gotten known of doing the dirty work down low fighting and clawing for the perfect position and here and there having to take some elbows finished successfully three times from close range. Scrubb closed out the second quarter with a missile from downtown as Frankfurt led 40-37. “Mike Morrison gave Frankfurt a lot of energy at the end. He is very athletic and can do it all and especially got the crowd involved. Both teams locked down on defense as since the game was physical, scoring dropped as it was harder to get open shots”, stated ex JBC MMCITE Brno (Czech Republic-NBL) guard Anthony Jones. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 42% from the field and 40% from the three point line while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 52% from the field and 27% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the narrow 16-15 rebound edge and three turnovers while Oldenburg had six turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners went on a nice run which the EWE Baskets Oldenburg could never recover from and found themselves playing catch up basketball until the final buzzer sounded. The Fraport Skyliners exited the locker room at halftime and returned back on the floor fresh and motivated and surprised the EWE Baskets Oldenburg with an annoying 13-4 run to extend their lead to 53-41. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners were led by German national player Johannes Voigtmann that like in the first quarter got the team rolling again as he nailed a high rainbow jumper and three point bomb from the corner, Robertson connected on another three pointer and Theodore went coast to coast finishing in traffic. Qvale kept Oldenburg in the game with a pair of buckets. The biggest play of the game was when Quantez Robertson had the audacity to get in the face of Robin Smeulders who is 20 centimeters taller and block his alley-oop dunk attempt. “That was a very tough block for Tez. He had to stunt and recover”, added Jordan Theodore. “I saw they were coming down on us on a 3-1. I just had to get to the basket. I read Kramer´s eyes and just tried to make the play. At that point the big guy had to dunk over me if anything”, smiled Quantez Robertson. Voigtmann scored again inside getting the perfect feed from Morrison who definitely has taken something form the German twin towers passing game into his own game this season. Oldenburg stayed in the game by getting to the free throw line and getting a 20 footer from Machado and three pointer from Smuelders as the Fraport Skyliners led 59-51. “We came out of halftime wanting to get stops on defense and execute on offense. We were aggressive on offense and defense and everyone stepped up. We have enough guys on the team that will step it up”, stressed Jordan Theodore. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 46% from the two point range and 38% from the parking lot while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg were shooting 63% from the two point range and 25% from the parking lot. Oldenburg had the slim 24-23 rebound edge, but nine turnovers while Frankfurt had only four turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners could hold the lead as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg continued to battle back and cut the lead down to no lower than six points as the home team just executed on offense better down the stretch. Frankfurt missed it´s first three shots on their first three possessions, but Oldenburg couldn´t capitalize on it as Quantez Robertson made some big plays to combat any kind of an Oldenburg comeback early. Frankfurt then extended their lead to 63-53 as they got back to back buckets from Voigtmann inside and a beautiful Phillip Scrubb off balance lay up high off the glass. The Frankfurt offense wasn´t great, but ok while their defense was super great as that was the main reason for them having the good lead. Oldenburg then made one last run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 66-59 as they were being aggressive inside with buckets from Kramer and Duggins. Duggins also launched a 20 footer that saw nothing but net. However that was as close as the EWE Baskets Oldenburg would get as Frankfurt just had too much firepower and resistance closing out the game with a back breaking 12-4 run. Voigtmann nailed a turnaround shot and Mr Canada Phillip Scrubb put an exclamation point on the win with an amazing fade away three pointer extending the Frankfurt lead to 73-62. Frankfurt closed out the game with a Theodore pull up jumper and Mike Morrison bucket. The Morrison bucket was a bit of a fluke tip in, but nevertheless looked very spectacular. “Tez brought a lot of energy in the fourth quarter. You don´t have to ask him to do anything, he always gets it done. That is his game and he always brings fire to the court”, added Jordan Theodore. “I was at the right place at the right time in the fourth quarter. I read some plays, got steals and loose balls”, added Quantez Robertson. “Frankfurt made our offense difficult and we couldn´t stop their bigs”, stressed Rickey Paulding. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Johannes Voigtmann with 20 points. Jordan Theodore added 14 points and Phillip Scrubb chipped in with 12 points and Mike Morrison with 10 points. The EWE Baskets Oldenburg were led by Vaughn Duggins and Brian Qvale with 12 points a piece and Scott Machado contributed 10 points. The Fraport Sklyiners shot 42% from the field and 32% from outside while the EWE Baskets Oldenburg shot 45% from the field and 22% from outside. Oldenburg won the rebound duel 33-31, but coughed up the ball 14 times while Frankfurt had seven turnovers.