As some kids were prowling the streets of Frankfurt in the late afternoon on October 31st looking to fling some candy into their Halloween bags while in the states little kids were still in school trying to dream away the last hours of school before getting wrapped into their lavish costumes and adults in Germany were at Halloween parties having smaller squabbles about which facemask of Trump or Merkel looked more scary, the Fraport Skyliners were 3,126 kilometers away in Kazan, Russia trying to secure their fourth win in the Eurocup, but instead their hopes were squashed by a last second game winning three pointer from ex Bamberg guard Jamar Smith in the corner as the outstretched hand of Quantez Robertson came a split second too late. The Fraport Skyliners could have used some extra energizing candy to get over hump, but at the moment the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner is struggling and need to find a way to get out of their slump. In Kazan they didn´t play bad, but just couldn´t play consistent and compensate the loss of big man German Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann as well as erasing little mistakes in crunch-time that hurt them. The Fraport Skyliners arrived in the duel against neighbor´s Telekom Baskets Bonn having lost three of their last four games, but what as even worse had lost back to back games at home against 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goettingen and on the road against 2015 BBL cup winner EWE Baskets Oldenburg where the phrase “stunk up the house” was putting it mildly. The Telekom Baskets Bonn came into the game not playing their best basketball either losing last weekend on the road in Jena going to 3-2 on the season and escaping Fribourg, Switzerland with a real grind out Basketball Champions League win where they went in as the huge favorite but had massive problems with them. The Fraport Skyliners desperately needed a win, but had to finally show a good performance for 40 minutes and find a way not to get run over in the paint by American Charles Jackson and their sharp shooters like Rashad James and did surviving a Bonn comeback in the fourth slamming the door shut 83-79 as Erik Murphy hit big shots. The Fraport Skyliners found back to their sharp shooting ways shooting over 50% for 40 minutes and American Jason Clark continued to erase any doubt that there is a point guard problem as he dropped 18 points, grabbed 4 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. “My game is feeling good. I´m continuing to work on my defense and make it a big part of my game while remaining aggressive on offense”, stressed ex Georgetown(NCAA) guard Jason Clark. “We played well together, shared the ball well and didn´t give up many offensive rebounds. They are a tough team and we knew that it wouldn´t be easy. We did a good job fighting to the end. We are starting to learn how to win games at the end”, stressed ex Baylor(NCAA) guard Brady Heslip. The Telekom Baskets took off the second quarter and just were unable to get consistent stops in the last minutes of the game. “We couldn´t get anything going in the first half. In the second half, Mayo got hot early and James at the end. We couldn´t get stops and stop the Murphy pick and pop”, added ex Temple(NCAA) guard TJ DiLeo.
4,520 fans came out on a late autumn day and witnessed the Telekom Baskets Bopnn break out on a quick 8-0 run to lead 8-3 as they demonstrated fine inside out basketball as Ra’shad James and Josh Mayo nailed huge tree´s and center Charles Jackson who one hauled down 20 plus rebounds in Turkey made a massive dunk as the injury to Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann was hurting them in the paint. However the Fraport Skyliners had their own offensive ideas as they thought what they can do we can do as they responded with a 7-0 run to dead lock the contest at 10-10. Frankfurt found daylight in the paint getting lay ups from Clark and Finish national player Shawn Huff and ex Chicago Bull Erik Murphy hit his bread and butter the trey. The Telekom Baskets Bonn continued to go inside and Jackson continued to get easy baskets and got to the free throw line. Clark remained very aggressive getting baskets in the paint as he was leading the charge on offense. Both teams were at eye level as nobody could make a real run and get away as the game was dead locked t 19-19. “We came out and matched their intensity. Bonn came out physical and we did a good job staying together on defense and sharing the ball on offense. We did an ok job on Jackson”, stressed Jason Clark. The Fraport Skyliners shot 57% from the field and 50% from outside and hauled down 6 rebounds and had 2 turnovers while the Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 46% from the field and 33% from outside and hauled down 7 rebounds and had 4 turnovers.
In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners stepped up their game at both ends of the court scoring 26 points and allowing only 11 points having the commanding 45-30 advantage at the break. The Fraport Skyliners didn´t waste anytime getting going as it was the aggressive Jason Clark who made the Bonn paint area his own personal playground as he owned the basket scoring two baskets giving Frankfurt the 23-19 lead. Basketball is a game of runs and Bonn roared back taking the 25-24 lead as the Bonn bench contributed as ex Sacred Heart(NCAA) standout Shane Gibson hit a jumper and then found Dileo open for the trey. Frankfurt´s offense then took off led by point guard Jason Clark as they went on a 17-2 run to get their biggest lead of the game of 42-26. In the run Jason Clark gave the perfect point guard knowing when to finish and when to dish as he scored in the paint twice and found ex Alba Berlin guard Akeem Vargas for a trey while secret extra point guard Quantez Robertson found Heslip for two trey´s. The Telekom Baskets Bonn made a little ground in the last minute heading into the break with a 4-0 run as they continued to be aggressive on the offensive glass and got buckets from Jackson and German Yorman Polas. “We were rolling on offense hitting shots. And we also were getting stops and got on transition. When we can do that then we play well”, stressed Jason Clark.
The Fraport Skyliners held on to the lead in the third quarter, but could never really shake the Telekom Baskets Bonn. Both teams came out executing as Erik Murphy nailed a trey while Bonn got key buckets from Polas and a Mayo runner as Frankfurt led 49-34. On the Murphy trey, fans saw a nifty over the shoulder pass from Heslip as he showed that he can definitely do a lot more than just test the nettings of baskets. “That was a beautiful pass. I actually thought he would go the basket and lay it in. Passing the ball is one of his unlooked skills. He is a smart player that sees the floor well. I don´t know many guys that can make that pass”, stressed Jason Clark. Heslip almost seemed a bit embarrassed when asked about his pass and remained diplomatic on how he achieved it. “I just try to make the right play. He was hot and I like to find the open guy. I take a lot of pride on making the right play and not forcing it”, added Brady Heslip. Bonn started to heat up as they went on a 6-0 run getting back to back trey´s from James and Mayo cutting the Frankfurt lead down to 51-40. Frankfurt then started a trend which they would carry to the end for the most part consistently almost always finding a scoring answer when Bonn was threatening. After a Clark trey, Bonn got a runner from DiLeo who had just come into the game off the bench and a lay in from ex Ludwigsburg big Man Martin Breunig as Frankfurt led 56-49. But a Huff turn around shot gave Frankfurt a little momentum until James got the ball and drilled the ball home cutting the Frankfurt lead to 58-52. Bonn was threatening, but here came Frankfurt again getting a clutch three form Robertson as Frankfurt extended their lead to 61-52. DiLeo closed out the third quarter with a beautiful coast to coast run as Bonn was on Frankfurt´s heels trailing only 61-54. “We did a good job defending well and stayed poised while executing with our small ball”, stressed Jason Clark. “We brought the lead down from 15-7 points. We just continued to chip away”, stressed TJ DiLeo. The Fraport Skyliners shot 56% from the field and 46% from the three point line and had 19 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 48% from the field and 46% from the three point line and had 21 rebounds and 14 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter the Telekom Baskets Bonn made a big comeback to cut the Frankfurt lead down to one point, but couldn´t get over the hump. Brady Heslip got the Fraport Skyliners going quickly draining a catch and pop trey for the 64-54 lead. But the Telekom Baskets Bonn then broke out of their shell hitting Frankfurt with a 12-3 run as suddenly they were down only 67-66. In the run Bonn was aided by Frankfurt getting their fifth team foul at the 7.11 minute mark. They got 9 points on free throws from Polas, Jackson and Bojan Subotic. James Webb nailed a trey to add salt to the fire. But the Fraport Skyliners then played efficient basketball executing at a high rate and not allowing Bonn to get over the hump. Murphy would nail two vital three´s and hit three free throws staying in the way of the Telekom Baskets Bonn in their comeback attempt. The Telekom Baskets Bonn got a huge three of Subotic and two from James in their come back. After Clark hit only one of three free throws, it was James again nailing a deep trey tying the contest at 79-79. It seemed like all three were pretty much from the same spot. “He hit tough shots and I felt we played pretty good defense on him. We did a pretty good job on him in the first half, but he started to get hot in the second half. You can´t keep a shooter of his ability quiet for a whole game”, warned Jason Clark. Frankfurt then had some fortune as after Murphy hit only one of three free throws, Bonn couldn´t secure the rebound on the last free throw giving Frankfurt possession. It was only fitting that Murphy would fire home another three and did giving Frankfurt the 83-79 lead with 20 seconds to go. “Murphy was huge, but not only on offense, but also on defense making big plays with blocks and rebounds. When his shot is falling, he is hard to stop”, warned Jason Clark. James would have two more looks at the end, but on this day Frankfurt and Murphy clearly won the shooting duel over James. “We moved the ball well, played together and exploited their defense. We attacked them with our quickness and stretched the floor. It worked well as Murphy had many open shots”, added Erik Murphy. “We fought well until the end, but we were unable to make better decisions and be a little tighter of defense”, stressed TJ DiLeo. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Erik Murphy with 22 points. Jason Clark added 18 points, Brady Heslip 14 points and six assists and Akeem Vargas contributed 11 points. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were led by Ra’shad James and Charles Jackson with 15 points a piece while Josh Mayo added 14 points and 5 dimes. The Fraport Skyliners shot 57% from the field and 50% from outside and grabbed 26 rebounds and had 16 turnovers while the Telekom baskets Bonn shot 45% from the field and 50% from outside and grabbed 29 rebounds and had 18 turnovers.