Tyler Larson had a very long time to remember his last shot in Bamberg that didn´t want to fall as he passed on the heroics to ex Euroleague winner Tyrese Rice who won the game with Bamberg a scene only so usual for head coach Gordon Herbert who had seen many loses in Bamberg over the years, but probably none worse than the 2010 game five loss that also was decided in the last seconds. Not only did Larson and Herbert have a long time to reflect on the bitter loss in Bamberg and the last months, but also the whole club as they had 17 days to remember all the positives and negatives as that was how long they had to wait during the world championship qualifying window as it seemed like March second would never arrive. March second finally arrived and it wasn´t a cake walk type of opponent, but 8 time BBL champion Alba Berlin who also were licking their chops as they had lost a great opportunity to add to their trophy case by losing the 2019 cup final in Bamberg. With a little more than two months to go in the regular season, now commences the stretch run where Alba Berlin will also compete in the Euro Cup competition while the Fraport Skyliners have a huge hurdle in front of them as they would love to reach the playoffs in their 20th anniversary season, but will need somewhere between 10-12 victories in their last 16 games to achieve their goal. The Fraport Skyliners played a super first quarter, but after that couldn´t find a defensive rhythm on as Alba Berlin´s smooth offense demoralized the Fraport Skyliners 99-86. After the tough loss Fraport Skyliner guard Jason Clark once again had to find answers to the loss. “I thought that we came out well. We were aggressive and were really locked in. Once could tell that we were there to do a job. We got away from our game in the second half. We had too many mishaps on defense. They are a very good team and know how to take advantage of our mistakes. They shot well the whole game and were efficient which gave them the needed self confidence that they needed. We played well with them for 25 minutes, but need to do it for 40 minutes”, stressed ex Georgetown(NCAA) guard Jason Clark. For Alba Berlin it was another normal day at the office. Even if they did allow 80 plus points, they always seemed to come up with stops when they needed them most. Ex Miami Heat guard Derrick Walton is a man of few words, but perhaps he is still getting a feel for the Alba Berlin game who finished with five points and five assists. “Our goal was to come out and make the right play every time. We defended well and didn´t let a few of their shots effect our game”, added Derrick Walton.
4,650 fans turned out for the game, but before the game started one had to wonder who the new coach was with the Fraport Skyliners. But it wasn´t a new coach, but was Gordon Herbert who had decided to visit the barber and got a trim all around. Perhaps this new look was to help the Fraport Skyliners come out of the long break with a new kind of energy and help spark the team. It definitely helped in the first quarter wit Frankfurt´s game. At first Jason Clark didn´t want to comment on Herbert´s new haircut, but then came out of himself and found some positive words. “I think he looks good. Nobody asked him about it. My hair was different a few years ago and I changed it. Everybody has their own style”, smiled Jason Clark. Both teams found their offensive rhythm as Jason Clark continued to shine at the shooting guard position as he hit for 8 points. Alba Berlin forward Luke Sikma was hit with a few early turnovers, but erased them with five points. The Fraport Skyliners controlled the first quarter and found back to the Skyliners game of old with good defense leading to easy transition baskets. Frankfurt was also getting buckets inside as ex Bamberg center Leon Kratzer made offensive rebounds and two put backs. Ex Arizona State guard Tra Holder also got his offense going connecting for 5 points showing his quickness with a finger tip roll in and hitting a trey. Frankfurt did a good job keeping up the defensive pressure in the six minutes where Quantez Robertson was on the bench. After 10 minutes the Fraport Skyliners had the surprising 24-16 advantage. “We were happy with the first quarter. Maybe too happy. We showed that we can play with anyone and have showed that in the last three games. We were able to play at our pace and played well on transition. We got stops and had them play at our pace”, warned Jason Clark. The Fraport Skyliners shot 53% from the field and 38% from outside and had 14 rebounds and 6 turnovers while Alba Berlin shot 38% from the field and 29% from outside and had 6 rebounds and 4 turnovers.
In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners were able to extend their lead to as much as 10 points, but Alba Berlin began to find their real offensive rhythm and started to chip away and find their way back into the game. Holder got Frankfurt on the board first with a runner and Jason Clark hit a trey as Frankfurt showed crisp ball movement of old and Kratzer made an old school hook shot for the 31-21 lead. Once again the Fraport Skyliners were able to compensate Quantez Robertson time on the bench with solid play at both ends of the court. But if you give Alba Berlin just a tad too much room on offense, then they will punish you and they did going on a 10-2 run to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 33-31. Alba Berlin started to let the three ball fly as Icelandic national player Martin Hermannsson and Peyton Siva connected while ex Clemson(NCAA) forward Landry Nnoko muscled home a hook shot and Hermannsson scored inside. The so dominant Frankfurt transition game of the first quarter was shut off now as Frankfurt was forced to play at Alba Berlin´s tempo. The Fraport Skyliners were able to hold the lead with a Tra Holder three pointer, but it was Peyton Siva that changed the game in the last minutes to the benefit of Alba Berlin and they would never look back. Siva has had much injury woes since he arrived in Berlin in 2016, but when he was fit, he was always a huge part of their success. He scored 7 points In the last few minutes including a trey, a lay in and free throws at the buzzer. He is so under controlled and everything he does looks effortless something that gives opponent´s defenses fits. “He is so big for their success. What stands out with him is that he can do everything well and reads the game so well”, stressed json Clark. Alba Berlin went into the break with the 45-42 advantage.” Even if they came back, overall we still did a good job getting stops. But we didn´t do a good job weathering their storm which led into the second half”, stressed Jason Clark. Alba Berlin shot 54% from the field and 50% from the three point line and had 13 rebounds and 5 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 46% from the field and 33% from the three point line and had 21 rebounds and 7 turnovers.
In the third quarter, Alba Berlin did a great job keeping control of the game and not allowing the Fraport Skyliners to get dangerously closer as they trailed by 8 points after 30 minutes. Siva continued to play his game as he set up German national player Johannes Thiemann for his ninth assist and then dropped another trey keeping Alba Berlin in front 50-44. Frankfurt was staying in the game with their fine rebounding especially at crashing the offensive boards which Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann showed getting to the free throw line twice making three points cutting the Alba Berlin lead to 50-47. The game was close, but it was Peyton Siva again who led the charge taking Alba Berlin on a 12-2 run to extend their lead to 62-49. The lethal guard duo of Siva and ex Giessen guard Joshiko Saibu contributed two three´s while Thiemann scored back to back buckets and was a vital spark from the bench. The Fraport Skyliner´s offense wasn´t clicking like Alba Berlin´s, but with a few defensive stops here and there and a few offensive executions, Frankfurt was able to cut the Berlin lead under 10 points. Even if Alba Berlin led only 68-60 after three quarters, they never ever looked like they could cave in. Their offense was like a fine oiled clock work and coupled with their consistency of their depth, Alba Berlin was in the drivers seat going into the fourth quarter. “We did a good job getting to the basket and getting offensive rebounds. We know that we have the personal with Wobo and Kratzer. We got extra possessions and just wanted to get as close as possible”, stressed Jason Clark. “Playing good defense and making the easy play continued to help us. Each time that we made those easy plays, it fueled us”, stated ex Michigan(NCAA) guard Derrick Walton. Alba Berlin shot 52% from the field and 53% from the parking lot and they got 17 rebounds and had 5 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 42% from the field and 29% from the parking lot and got 35 rebounds and had 10 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, Alba Berlin continued to have their offense rhythm flowing and just did a super job taking care of the lead and not let the Fraport Skyliners get to close. Alba Berlin got going quickly going on a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 75-62. With Siva and Saibou on the bench, they got a hook shot by Nnoko, a trey by Walton and a runner by Hermannsson. Both teams closed out the game shooting at a high clip. German Richard Freudenberg found his game after not having much of an offensive rhythm in the first three quarters with two trey´s and a runner. His stellar play was overshadowed at that juncture of the game by the Alba Berlin 89-74 lead and three Tim Schneider trey´s in three minutes. Once again Alba Berlin´s massive depth helped them keep their big lead and the Fraport Skyliners just couldn´t get over the hump and really threaten Alba Berlin in crunch time. Frankfurt was able to get a few more baskets in the last minutes with a Jason Clark reverse lay up and Quantez Robertson trey, but Alba Berlin was able to get to the free throw line and receive the needed insurance points. “Their depth hurt us. Their coach did a good job rotating everyone in. They are deep at every position and play well together”, stated Jason Clark. “Our bench was ready and today was a perfect example for that. Schneider hit three´s and he always stretches the floor well for us”, added Derrick Walton. “This loss will push us harder. We know that we have a tough road ahead, but we all believe that we can reach the playoffs. We will take it one game at a time and push as hard as we can to reach the playoffs”, warned Jason Clark. Alba Berlin had five players in double figures led by Peyton Siva with 18 points and 9 assists. Martin Hermannsson added 16 points and Joschiko Saibu had 15 points while the Fraport Skyliners were led by Leon Kratzer with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Jason Clark and Quantez Robertson added 13 points a piece and Tyler Larson and Richard Freudeneberg added 12 points a piece. Alba berlin shot 58% from the field and 56% from outside and hauled down 20 rebounds and had 7 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 45% from the field and 32% from outside and hauled down 46 rebounds and had 16 turnovers.