Last season medi Bayreuth fans were engulfed in a wonderful basketball trance season that had just as much Cinderella in it as did ratiopharm Ulm´s season going on to have the best regular season BBL record, but something like that seemed more likely than for the Bavarian team to win 10 of their first 11 games and hold the consistency for a whole season and finally make the playoffs again something that hadn´t occurred since the 90.s. This season can´t be classified as a Cinderella season anymore as fans are expecting success again and so far the medi Bayreuth hasn´t disappointed as everything what head coach Raoul Korner did correctly last season is falling into place again as the club has started at 4-1 in the BBL losing only uncharacteristically to Science City Jena while disposing of disappointing Ulm who have started off 1-4. The club also has started off perfect in the Basketball Champions League destroying Rosa Radom and even doing something they aren´t used to winning in Bamberg against Strasburg in a game that was moved on account of a scheduling conflict in their home arena 82-80 as excitement was an understatement in that contest. The big question mark of can Gabe York and James Robinson replace the departed Lewis and Anderson has blossomed into a yes and Assem Marei continues to develop into a top 3 BBL big man while the team concept continues to work while the only sore spot is the defense where the club is averaging giving up 80 points something that will need to be gradually turned down if the team wants to have further success. The Fraport Skyliners strolled into their own living room also sporting a 4-1 record having beat all the lower teams they faced and only losing to playoff team Ludwigsburg. Frankfurt has done a superb job playing with an injury plagued team and reduced 8 man roster, but the club has stepped up as Mr Canada Philip Scrubb has returned back from a tough injury and played like an MVP while the big man tandem of Mike Morrison and Jonas Wolfarth-Botterman have played above expectations as rookie point guard Tai Webster has been refreshing with much potential still in him. The Fraport Skyliners now have test after test in the next weeks facing top teams FC Bayern Munich, EWE Baskets and Bamberg and first had to tangle with tough annoying medi Bayreuth who last season swept the season series and were looking to add on to their winning streak, but suffered a slow start and couldn´t get past Frankfurt in crunch time losing 72-68. The Fraport Skyliners remained unbeaten at home and once again couldn´t put together two strong halves and were lucky once again escaping the clutches of their opponent and moving to 5-1. After the victory, Philip Scrubb made the rounds again with the Frankfurt media and once again carried his team to the victory something he has done time in and time out this season with his precision shooting especially his step back. It seems like his step back jumper was added to his arsenal, but in fact he has always had it, but not unleashed it as rapidly as this season. “We started well with good offense and we gave up only 26 points in the first half to a very good offensive team. In the second half, medi Bayreuth stepped up their defensive intensity and put us on our heels where we couldn´t match theirs. They pushed us around and got more confidence on offense and started hitting shots. I have always felt comfortable taking that step back going to my left. Only my role is different this season in that I have to be more offensive and take more of these shots. As long as I keep making them, I will continue to take them”, warned Philip Scrubb. Medi Bayreuth gave it a fight until the end, but weren´t rewarded. “We had a slow start and couldn´t make any shots. We showed more character in the second half and fought back. In past games we were able to come back and pull out wins. If we had started the game stronger then it would have been different”, stressed ex Pittsburgh(NCAA) guard James Robinson.
The Fraport Skyliners jumped all over medi Bayreuth in the first few minutes taking a 9-4 lead as they were damaging the guests inside as the three ball would be no factor as only five were hit in the whole game. Ex Alba Berlin center Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann was on fire and unstoppable as he connected twice, Scrubb hit his first step back shot as creating for himself is a whole new dimension this season as two seasons ago he had a Jordan Theodore supplying the dimes for him. Quantez Robertson also scored going coast to coast for one of his typical buckets he gets. Frankfurt had their noses ahead, but medi Bayreuth already showed their fighting qualities early and also did damage inside as Egyptian wonder Assem Marei was a one man wrecking crew in the paint as he scored twice, but also his side kick ex Davidson(NCAA) forward Demon Brooks was aggressive inside and scored twice dead locking the game at 14-14. However the Fraport Skyliners ended the first quarter with a tad more intensity on the offensive end and had the momentum going on a 4-0 run as ex George Mason center Mike Morrison made a lay in and Scrubb again displayed his pretty shooting touch dropping a step back jumper. “No teams got their three point game going, but were killing in the low post. Medi Bayreuth got easy baskets and Scrubb made some effortless shots”, stressed EVL Baskets Limburg (Germany-Regionalliga) guard Brandon Shingles. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 57% from the field and 50% from outside while medi Bayreuth was shooting 47% from the field and 0% from outside. Medi Bayreuth had the 8-6 rebound edge, but had four turnovers while the guests had three turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners broke open the game in the second quarter and totally took control leading by as much as 18 points. Scrubb continued to lead the Fraport Skyliners carrying them on offense as he hit free throws, nailed a trey and then somehow found Mike Morrison down low with a difficult shovel pass in traffic as the big man dunked with authority and then found him again on the pick and roll with a perfect bounce pass for an easy lay in as Frankfurt upped their lead to 28-19. Medi Bayreuth didn´t back down staying on the heels of Frankfurt getting a three from German national player Bastian Doreth who was parked in the corner and found nothing but net and 36 year old ex USF(NCAA) guard John Cox scored in the lane as he made another tough shot as Frankfurt was playing good defense cutting the Frankfurt lead to 30-24. Then the tide of the game turned rapidly as the Fraport Skyliners rode into halftime with a crushing 14-2 run to break open the game and lead 44-26 at the break. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners were led by Scrubb who contributed 7 points including a trey and back to back step back jumpers that couldn´t have been polished off better than Larry Bird back in the day. On the defensive end Frankfurt stepped up their defense one more notch supplying annoying ball pressure and clogging the lane making only tough shots an option. Even if they were beat, their quick hands remained active making additional havoc. On offense they got a layup from German wonder child Isaac Bonga who had had a pretty uneventful game until then and another easy Morrison score as he made the tip in on the offensive glass. “Frankfurt executed well and took their time letting the shot clock wind down while on offense took quicker shots which gave Frankfurt the advantage of less time on the defensive end. The difference was that Frankfurt was taking high percentage shots and medi Bayreuth was taking low percentage shots”, stressed Brandon Shingles. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 59% from the field and 39% from the three point line while medi Bayreuth was shooting 37% from the field and 14% from the three point line. Medi Bayreuth had the slim 15-14 rebound edge and nine turnovers while Frankfurt had six turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners came out strong again and led by as much as 20 points, but allowed a late medi Bayreuth run to get back into the game. Brooks started the third quarter with a tap in, but a Wohlfarth-Bottermann hook shot and Scrubb fingertip role extended the Frankfurt lead to 48-28 and the first Frankfurt fans were already thinking lights out. But medi Bayreuth stuck together sharpening their defense and closed out the third quarter with a timely 19-6 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to only 54-47. In the run, medi Bayreuth also started to hit shots as the three ball continued to be absent as only Robinson connected, but they hit at a high percentage inside as ex Trier center Andreas Seiiferth unleased his moves and scored three buckets. Ex Arizona(NCAA) guard Gabe York also picked a good time to get going as he made three field goals including two step back jumpers and a fingertip role. Medi Bayreuth had more success getting the ball in the post as the Frankfurt rotations were slower and less efficient than in the first half. The Fraport Skyliners got away from their offensive game and relied too much on 1-1 play. Frankfurt didn´t muster much offense as Scrubb scored zero points in this span and only got two buckets from Quantez Robertson and a hard dunk from Wohlfarth-Bottermann. “Bayreuth was playing with more heart while Frankfurt had lost it´s rhythm and were complacent and played like the game was over. Frankfurt also had little playmaking as the team couldn´t get into their sets”, added Brandon Shingles. “We picked up the intensity on defense and began to get stops. We continued to fight back and attacked more in the paint”, stressed James Robinson. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 21% from the parking lot. medi Bayreuth had the 26-21 rebound edge. Both teams had 12 turnovers apiece.
In the fourth quarter medi Bayreuth continued to claw back, but the Fraport Skyliners had the best nerves in crunch-time, the home crowd behind them and as always their offense gem Philip Scrubb. Both teams defended hard in the first two minutes as they couldn´t execute on the first two offensive sets. The Fraport Skyliners then scored the first basket of the fourth quarter which could easily have been the nicest of the contest as Scrubb picked off a pass near his free throw line and then made a beautiful long bounce pass like Russell Westbrook over half of the court that found Robertson all alone, but he elected to dish to the trailer Bonga who finished with a hard one hand dunk for the 56-47 lead. After Cox hit a runner, Frankfurt answered with a Robertson turn around shot and incredible Tai Webster submarine lay up that he somehow managed to hit. It was Webster´s first field goal of the game as he didn´t have one of his better games. Frankfurt returned back to a double digit lead of 61-49. However that didn´t hinder medi Bayreuth who never felt that they were out of the game and retaliated with a 8-1 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 62-57. In the run, medi Bayreuth continued to scorch Frankfurt in the paint as Marei and German Robin Amaize scored inside and oldie John Cox stayed very efficient scoring inside twice finishing with 10 points in 17 minutes. Medi Bayreuth was on the comeback trail while scorer Gabe York was on the bench. Down the stretch, it wasn´t a York, Brooks, Linhart or Marei that supplied the punches, but talented German Robin Amaize who scored twice inside cutting the Frankfurt lead to 63-61 with 1.44 left. “Amaize was the reason Bayreuth was still in the game. He made good plays, scored the ball, made smart passes and supplied great help defense”, added Brandon Shingles. After Webster connected on a 20 footer for the 65-61 Frankfurt lead, Amaize continued to take control for medi Bayreuth scoring inside and hitting free throws tying the game at 65-65. With 40 seconds left, Scrubb unleashed his electric step back jumper once again and Morrison added a free throw for the 68-65 advantage. After a Cox lay in cutting the Frankfurt lead to 68-67, Webster and Roberston closed out the game with free throws for the win. “It was a good win for Frankfurt, but they did have a little luck down the stretch getting some bounces in their favor. Bayreuth fought hard, but Frankfurt played a little under their expectations and should have won by more”, stressed Brandon Shingles. “We closed out the game well and managed the clock well. They scored baskets at the end, but we matched them. Webster made a big shot at the end. We have confidence in him and so does he in himself in making those kinds of shots. I wasn´t surprised he made that shot”, stressed Philip Scrubb. “We came back at the end making shots, but they made the big shots at the right time. We dug a hole early and if we had played the way we did in the third and fourth quarter in the first half then it would have been a different game, but that is a part of the game”, stressed James Robinson. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Phillip Scrubb with 20 points and five assists. Mike Morrison added 13 points and Quantez Robertson and Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann added 11 points apiece. Medi Bayreuth was led by Assem Marei with 12 points. Gabe York, John Cox and Demon Brooks added 10 points apiece. The Fraport Skyliners shot 48% from the field and 19% from outside while medi Bayreuth shot 45% from the field and 13% from outside. Medi Bayreuth won the rebound duel 36-28 and had 15 turnovers while Frankfurt coughed up the ball 16 times.