Never Say Never As Mike Morrison Nails First Professional Three As The Fraport Skyliners Show Heart Outlasting FC Bayern Munich 75-69

16 hours after the Fraport Skyliners had lost game one in Munich, the team had already had their post game cool down in their training facility BCM in Frankfurt and some guys exited the gym with Quantez Robertson, Tai Webster, Jordan Sibert and Mike Morrison who were in a good mood especially the latter with the Florida native who when he saw my Boston Red Sox shirt started to marvel about the amazing game three finish by the Boston Celtics. They had won on the expertise of possible NBA coach of the year Brad Stevens as the 17 time NBA champion last second inbounds play as ex NCAA champion with Florida Al Horford created a mismatch hauled down the lob and made the difficult basket for the win. That game three started at the time where the Fraport Skyliners were journeying back to Frankfurt on the bus trying to digest the tough 85-72 loss so it was more than likely that many of the players tuned into the NBA thriller to help pass the time and help forget the 21 point effort by Vladimir Lucic. The Fraport Skyliners came out to a quick 12-3 lead and played a solid first half, but overtime couldn´t handle the overpowering Munich team as they produced less points each quarter as they watched the favorite be able to play their game and dominate the boards and ease by them with their pinpoint shooting accuracy when they needed it most. The Fraport Skyliners needed a win desperately at home to salvage some kind of leverage going back to Munich and not having their backs to the wall down 0-2. In a way the Fraport Skyliner´s situation was a bit like the Celtics, who also were the underdog against the Philadelphia 76ers. Possibly the Fraport Skyliners could remember some of that energy and excitement the Boston Club presented on that bitter Saturday night as they were coming home from the bitter loss and they could possibly take some of their spirit and create extra toughness to give the Bavarian side a game that they would never forget. The Fraport Skyliners came to play and controlled the game for 40 minutes even if FC Bayern Munich was always on their doorstep, the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup teams slammed the door on the faces of the Bavarian team countless times with big shots that denied the opponent to get over the hump winning 75-69. After the win, Mr Canada Philipp Scrubb who´s beard had gotten a bit bushier since game one reflected on the big win. “Key today wasn´t only that we had many guys hit key shots at the right time, but also got rebounds and stops at the right time. When they went on a run and we lost energy, it was our bench that really stepped up. Bonga, Sibert and Huff were huge”, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Philipp Scrubb. FC Bayern Munich snuck out of the locker room one by one, but ex Giessen 46er and Mr game changer Braydon Hobbs gave his reflection why his team was unable to go home with a 2-0 series advantage. “We have to give Frankfurt credit. They played good defense and we lacked the needed energy. When you score only 69 points, it won´t be easy to win games”, stressed FC Bayern Munich guard Braydon Hobbs. Fraport Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert didn´t leave the Boston Celtics subject totally untouched and gave his two cents to how a NBA coaching poll of coaches didn´t give one single vote to Brad Stevens for coach of the year. “I don´t know how that can be, but I like to take things from his coaching style”, smiled Gordon Herbert.

17.12.2017 Fraport Skyliners gg. Alba Berlin

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber with Mike Morrsion in the Fraport arena

On a 80 plus degree late afternoon May day, 4,640 fans came out to support their team and saw a real tight playoff contest as there were two teams battling as if it was a finals game 7 type atmosphere. Ex Alba Berlin center Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann got Frankfurt on the board first connecting on a sweet hook shot over ex Skyliner Danilo Barthel. The trend would go that whenever Frankfurt scored, FC Bayern Munich would counter and continue to stay on their heels. One thing the Fraport Skyliners will need to have in the Munich series is being able to rely on guys to step up other than a Scrubb or Webster and got that early with ex Auburn(NCAA) standout Quantez Robertson. He came into the game having shot from outside at a high clip nailing 8/13 three´s in the last two games against Oldenburg and Munich and found the trigger right away in the first quarter dumping 8 points on Munich including two trey´s. Munich got vital production from ex NBA player Jared Cunningham, 2017 silver medalist with Serbia at the European championships Stefan Jovic and fellow Serbian national player Vladimir Lucic as FC Bayern Munich trailed only 13-10. Frankfurt might have had the early lead, but also had a little more fortune as a few lose balls popped to them which led to easy points. The Fraport Skyliners were defending very well not allowing FC Bayern Munich to easy shots and also had a good handle on the defensive rebound. Down the stretch, Frankfurt got an acrobatic lay in from Scrubb who once again had to create more for himself as getting an open look was about as unlikely as Mike Morrison ever hitting a trey. One should never say never. German wonder boy Isaac Bonga also scored on a lay in giving him early confidence which would spark his play as the game progressed. Frankfurt had a four point advantage with a minute to go, but FC Bayern Munich displayed their knack of scoring in bunches as ex Alba Berlin gurard Nihad Djedovic scored inside and ex Villanova(NCAA) guard Reggie Redding connected on a pull up jumper as the Fraport Skyliners had the tight 17-15 lead after one quarter. “Robertson hit big shots for us and even when he isn´t doing that, he does so many other important things for us. He is one of the best players in the league”, added Philip Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the two point area and 22% form outside and had 9 rebounds and one turnover while FC Bayern Munich was shooting 42% from the two point area and 33% from outside and had 10 rebounds and 2 turnovers.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and 2017 European championship silver medalist with Serbia Stefan Jovic after the 75-69 Fraport Skyliners win against FC Bayern Munich

The second quarter continued to be a dog fight as there were eight lead changes and no team could lead by more than four points until the last minute where the Fraport Skyliners went on a run and went into the break leading 42-35.Djedovic and ex Dayton(NCAA) standout Jordan Sibert traded baskets to start the second quarter as the Fraport Skyliners held on to the 19-18 lead. Mini runs was what tended to control the game as FC Bayern Munich stole back the lead 22-20 as ex Bamberg center Maik Zirbes scored in bunches nailing a 20 footer and then making a hard two handed dunk as Redding supplied the dime. Then came one of those plays that people will always remember in a few years, but won´t necessarily remember in what game it was. The shot clock was running down and New Zealand national player Tai Webster ran out of options and the only guy open was big man Mike Morrison who for some reason had gotten lost on the far wing and was caught behind the three point line. Webster zipped a cross court pass which Morrison handled nicely and fired away seeing nothing but net which totally electrified the Fraport arena. After the win teammate Philip Scrubb was smiling when reliving that fantastic, but very rare moment. “We were talking in practice the other day and Morrison said he had the best three point shooting percentage in NCAA history. I was 1-1. It was crazy that he hit it, but we will take anything we can get”, added Philip Scrubb.

After the win, Mike Morrison was signing autographes and reflected on the game´s special three point moment with him. “We ran a play and Webster had no more option. So he passed me the ball. The clock was running down so I thought I might as well take it. I was confident that I would make it. I had the best three point percentage in NCAA history. As a professional I might have taken one in Cyprus”, smiled Mike Morrison. When checking the career stats of Mike Morison, he went into this game shooting 0/4 from outside as a professional having missed two as a Skyliner in the 2015-2016 season and was 0/2 with Kataja in Finland the season before. Scrubb followed the pretty Morrison three pointer with a trey finishing a 6-0 run as Frankfurt led 26-22. The game of runs continued as FC Bayern Munich went on a 5-0 run getting a tip in dunk form ex Chalon center Devin Booker and a trey from Danilo Bartel as Frankfurt trailed 27-26. Frankfurt countered with a mini 4-0 run as Bonga scored twice as he was a suitable option for Webster who had hurt himself as Frankfurt led 30-28. FC Bayern Munich did a good job doing damage inside as Barthel found Booker for the easy lay in and Lucic buried a trey as FC Bayern Munich had reeled back the lead 33-30. However the Fraport Skyliners then unleashed a nasty bundle of energy going on a furious 12-2 run to go into the break with the 42-35 advantage. Frankfurt got key support from Sibert who dropped 5 points, Bonga made a beautiful coast to coast finish, Wolfarth-Bottermann a tap in and Finish national player Shawn Huff hit a quarter ending buzzer beater. Frankfurt had a seven point lead and only 5 points combined from Scrubb and Webster at the break which showed how well their bench was stepping up. “Munich is a good team, but we played them tough. Both teams played with a lot of energy keeping the game close”, added Philpp Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 63% from the two point range and 29% from the three point line and grabbed 15 boards and had three turnovers while FC Bayern Munich was shooting 45% from the two point range and 50% from the three point line and grabbed 15 boards and had four turnovers.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and FC Bayern Munich forward Danilo Barthel after the Fraport Skyliners tied the playoff series with FC Bayern Munich 1-1

In the third quarter, FC Bayern Munich fought back making it a close battle again only to witness the Fraport Skyliners gain a little bit more of a lead after 30 minutes. Mike Morrison got Frankfurt on the board first making a good effort after being blocked by getting the ball back and finishing with authority upping Frankfurt´s lead to 44-35. However that didn´t rattle FC Bayern Munich in any way as they quickly produced a 6-0 run to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 44-41 after Cunningham dropped three free throws and Jovic in his calm and relaxed way nailed a trey. The Fraport Skyliners did a good job not losing their rhythm on offense, but just playing their game and when FC Bayern Munich countered, nailed big time shots. Jovic kept FC Bayern Munich close with a pull up jumper and Barthel countered with a running hook shot and Zirbes made free throws as Frankfurt led only 48-47. Huff would nail a huge trey, but Jovic answered with a step back jumper as Frankfurt led only 51-50. However like at the end of the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners kept their best for last going on another run this time of 8-2 taking the 59-52 lead into the fourth quarter. In the run, Frankfurt got big support from many faces as Scrubb made a tough lay up in traffic, Sibert dropped a three and Bonga made a jumper. Bonga did a great job taking up the slack for a powerless Webster and finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal and block. “He was huge. He controlled the pace and was good in the open floor and deflected passes”, stressed Phiip Scrubb. “We did a good job continuing to hit shots when they got close. In the past when the opponent went on a run, we couldn´t recover, but we were able to tonight”, stressed Philip Scrubb.

In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners upped their intensity a notch and saved their best for the last minutes where instead of only making one huge bucket and stopping FC Bayern Munich to get over the hump, bolted the door shut on them as they got consistent stops and consistent scores to tie the series. FC Bayern Munich entered the fourth quarter ready to produce and did as Booker scored back to back buckets as Redding found him inside with a bullet pass and then got in a passing lane between Bonga and Morrison picking off the pass and finishing with a hard two handed dunk as Frankfurt saw their lead shrink down to only 59-56. The Fraport Skyliners then hit back to back three´s from Scrubb and Sibert to extend their lead to 65-58 and this was a phase where FC Bayern Munich had problems hitting shots, but Frankfurt couldn´t take better advantage of it. After Munich stopped Frankfurt twice, they went on a 5-0 run as Cunningham scored in traffic and Redding nailed a trey as Frankfurt just couldn´t shake Munich as they led only 65-63. Robertson connected on free throws as Frankfurt led 67-63. With a few minutes to go, Frankfurt turned the game into their advantage.

The turning point was a huge Sibert steal which resulted in a Frankfurt 8-0 run deciding the game. Huff and Robertson trey´s and a tough Scrubb lay in by Hobbs upped Frankfurt´s lead to74-63 with time dwindling away. “I was just trying to be aggressive. They kind of let the ball loose and I got it to Huff for the three. I have been a little up and down, but I just came in gave energy and it all worked out”, added Jordan Sibert. FC Bayern Munich did hit two three´s in a row in the last 30 seconds to help lower the score a bit, but it was too little too late. “In the playoffs each possession counts. Sibert made a huge play. That helped stop their momentum which was big”, added Philip Scrubb. “That steal and three really swung the momentum in their favor. They hit big shots whenever they needed it”, added Braydon Hobbs. After losing twice in Munich this season, the Fraport Skyliners want to make three a charm in game three. “They are always tough at home. We played a good first half each time. We need to play with a lot of energy. We know what we need to do to be successful. We just need to execute”, stated Philip Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners had 6 players in double figures and were led by Philip Scrubb with 15 points. Jordan Sibert added 13 points while Quantez Robertson added 12 points and Shawn Huff 11 points. FC Bayern Munich was led by Jared Cunningham with 14 points and Devin Booker had 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 43% from the field and 33% from outside and hauled down 34 rebounds and had 7 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich shot 43% form the field and 36% from outside and hauled down 36 rebounds and had 10 turnovers.

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