For four season´s Mike Morrison was that big man that would do a lot of the dirty work on the floor and be that guy when asked that would go out and have a beer with fans at the Champions Bar at the Marriot in downtown Frankfurt. He was a contributor in helping the Fraport Skyliners win the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup and a guy that always brought the team much needed energy on the floor when the club needed it most. At times, it felt like all he did was dunk, but in his last season he developed a sweet mid distance jumper even if he didn´t always present it and once even dropped a trey from the corner. But what fans and teammates will most likely remember most from Mike Mo was his massive dunks and he sure had plenty of them in his four years with the Fraport Skyliners. Even if his dunks were thunderous at times, so was his cries of joy after his throw downs as if he was that lost tiger from Africa that had been kidnapped to St Petersburg, Florida and finally been set loose again to return home. The big man surely would have liked to have stayed, but instead his basketball journey continued in Lithuania this season where he played solidly in the country league and Champions League, but in mid season he suddenly was back in Germany only 100 kilometers west of Frankfurt in Wurzburg. With the regular season winding down and the Fraport Skyliners riding a two game winning streak and battling to reach the playoffs, they had to survive against the s.Oliver Wurzburg and their ex big man Mike Morrison. The Bavarian team has had a solid season with new head coach Denis Wucherer currently in the playoffs and fighting for the Fiba Europe Cup title as they advanced to the quarterfinals and now will have a date with top Danish team Bakken Bears. On a cool Sunday afternoon with on and off rain and spring still around the corner, The Fraport Skyliners welcomed BBL playoff team s.Oliver Wurzburg and were unable to handle their guard terror as the quick trio of Skyler Bowlin, Jordan Hulls and Cameron Wells combined for 39 points and had the Fraport Skyliners off balance all afternoon long at both ends of the court as they overwhelmed the Fraport Skyliners 91-77. After the contest Mike Morrison and Quantez Robertson had some quiet time and despite being very good friends for four years in Frankfurt as teammates, both couldn´t refrain from continuing their jokes off the court concerning each other. “It is always fun to play against Mike. We were room mates for four years and had many road trips. I hit a three on him on the first play. We were talking some junk. Mike thinks he is one of the best big man that can guard guards on the perimeter”, smiled ex Auburn(NCAA) guard Quantez Robertson. “I do think that I am one of the best big men that guards guards on the perimeter On that play I had to see how he was feeling and see how he would do. It was a lucky first shot”, smiled Mike Morrison.
Morrison will always be remembered as being a player that loved to dunk, but he was never a man for a lot of words, but rather a fellow that was always laid back and got to the point quickly concerning a topic about something. “One of our focuses now is to keep getting better on defense. We have many guys that can score. We had many ups and downs in the game, but our execution was good. Frankfurt played very physical and we did a good job executing on offense and sticking to our defensive principles”, stressed ex George Mason(NCAA) center Mike Morrison. The Fraport Skyliners two game winning streak was snapped and their hopes of reaching the playoffs continue to fall as with 12 games left, they would have to win around 10 games to get in. After the loss, Fraport Skyliner shooting guard Jason Clark reflected on the poor performance by the club. “We did not play our best today. We had problems with the Wurzburg switching and didn´t hit our shots. When you don´t hit shots and get stops, everything goes downhill. We did play better in the second half, but they continued to move the ball well and hit very tough shots”, explained ex Georgetown(NCAA) guard Jason Clark. Captain Quantez Robertson knows that they dug an even deeper hole with the Wurzburg loss. “This loss made it tougher to reach the playoffs. We are in a jam now. We let a few games get away earlier in the season. We didn´t get it done on the defensive end today. They outworked us and were more aggressive at both ends of the court”, warned Quantez Robertson.
The Fraport Skyliners had a strong start, but soon got overwhelmed by the Wurzburg guard terror and their aggressive switching. Mike Morrison got a rude welcome back to his old stomping ground as Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann blocked the Florida native and then ex teammate Quantez Roberston nailed a trey in his face. Frankfurt got off to a solid start on defense getting stops and Robertson had the hot hand sealing his second trey at the 8,33 minute mark and before Wurzburg head coach Denis Wucherer could wipe the first drops of sweat from his bald head, Frankfurt led 6-0. But then the game changed rapidly to benefit s.Oliver Wurzburg as they crawled out of their hole and cruised out on a swift 14-0 run to take the 14-6 lead. In the run, s.Oliver Wurzburg let their guard terror take over as the Fraport arena was raining three´s. Ex Citadel(NCAA) stand out Cameron Wells and Jordan Hulls who is shooting a massive 50% from the parking lot connected. Ex Giessen guard Skyler Bowlin also did some fancy dribbling and hit a pull up jumper. The Fraport Skyliners finally got on the board again at the 1,56 minute mark as for six and a half minutes they hit nothing as ex Alba Berlin guard Akeem Vargas scored inside. Frankfurt then found some rhythm on offense as ex Giessen center Marco Voeller hit a nice hook shot and Finish national player Shawn Huff dropped a trey, but Frankfurt couldn´t get closer as they were unable to get stops on defense. The guests continued to play their energetic offensive game as ex Bonn forward German Florian Koch hit a trey, ex Bremerhaven guard Jordan Hulls hit an off balance shot and Wells scored at the buzzer as s.Oliver Wurzburg led 24-13. “We had problems scoring as they switched on our ball screens. We had trouble with that. Even though we had practiced it in practice, we couldn´t execute it in the game. We need to be better with that and let it translate over to the game”, stressed Jason Clark. S.Oliver Wurzburg shot 57% from the field and 83% from outside and they got 8 rebounds and had one turnover while the Fraport Skyliners shot 31% form the field and 33% from outside and gotb9 rebounds and had 3 turnovers.
s.Oliver Wurzburg kept control in the second quarter as they were able to lead in double figures as the Fraport Skyliners continued to struggle at both ends of the court. The Fraport Skyliners actually had the better start going on a quick 5-0 run to sneak back into the game and trail only 24-18. In the run, Frankfurt stayed calm getting a super individual effort by Wolfarth-Bottermann who secured an offensive rebound and then made the put back while Huff dropped a three on transition. Even though the Wurzburg offense had executed well in the game, Frankfurt had done a good job severely limiting their pick and roll game. S.Oliver Wurzburg were able to keep the lead as they had many options on offense and also continued to force Frankfurt to turnovers. Florian Koch made a pretty hard two hand dunk looking a lot more athletic than re really looks and got a tip in from ex Skyliner Johannes Richter for the 30-21 advantage. Wurzburg was hit with their fifth team foul at the 6,30 minute mark, but Frankfurt was unable to take advantage of it. Not only was one ex Bamberg player with Johannes Richter playing well, but another with Leon Kratzer came in and he scored twice cutting the Wurzburg lead to 32-25. But the Bavarian team just had more of a smoother game than Frankfurt and perfected the inside out game as German Felix Hoffman hit a trey and Richter scored an off balance jumper from the wing at the shot clock buzzer and Hulls reached the free throw line. Swedish shooting star Elijah Clarance closed out the second quarter with a left handed lay in, but s.Oliver Wurzburg led comfortably 41-29 at halftime. A huge mind boggling stat at the break at the displeasure of the Fraport Skyliners was the massive three goose eggs at the guard position. Jason Clark, Tyler Larson and Tra Holder had been held scoreless. If three strong guards aren´t scoring then it will be difficult to win. “They continued to do a good job switching, so we tried to get the ball inside more and use the mis matches. Some days it will be like that where you aren´t getting shots, so you have to focus on other things like rebounding and defense”, warned Jason Clark. S.Oliver Wurzburg shot 46% from the field and 55% from the three point line and got 15 rebounds and had 4 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 38% from the field and 33% from the three point line and got 16 rebounds and had 9 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners made a huge run in the third quarter to cut the Wurzburg lead down to four only to lose the momentum and be trailing again by 10 points. Before Frankfurt got rolling, it was actually s.Oliver Wurzburg that made the first scoring dent as they rode a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 46-29. In the run, one could see the fine passing skills by Australian forward Xavier Cooks who gunned a bullet pass to the corner to a waiting Wells who fired home the ball and Cooks then hit a tough shot over Huff. Wurzburg was playing good team basketball, while Frankfurt was flat and still had no points from it´s guard duo of Larson and Clark. But that finally changed at the 7,49 minute mark as Jason Clark finally hit his first field goal which took 22 minutes and 11 seconds. “It´s always tough when your not scoring. If that is happening than you have to be locked down on defense. When I wasn´t scoring, I played defense and rebounded. I always let the game come to me and never force anything. In those 22 minutes I took something like three shots. That wasn´t much, but I didn´t force anything”, warned Jason Clark. The Clark basket broke the ice and the Fraport Skyliners broke out on a magical 12-2 run to trail only 48-44. In the run it was Quantez Robertson who supplied 8 points including consecutive three´s while Clark scored again inside while Larson finally scored his first field goal at the 5,15 minute mark taking him almost 25 minutes to be successful. Frankfurt did a good job disrupting the Wurzburg guard terror and getting in the passing lanes and getting some steals and tipped balls which slowed down their offense. The Frankfurt run didn´t impress Wurzburg as they slapped Frankfurt in the face with their own run of 12-2 erasing the Frankfurt comeback and suddenly leading 60-46. In the run, Wurzburg was led by the guard terror of Hulls and Bowlin who hit jumpers while Richter remained aggressive and made 4 points. Frankfurt displayed a spectacular play as Elijah Clarance made a huge block stuffing a Johannes Richter dunk attempt. 26 year old ex Dayton(NCAA) stand out Devin Oliver also added a trey. In the last minute Robertson sunk a trey and Larson nailed free throws, but s.Oliver Wurzburg still led 61-51 after 30 minutes. “Our comeback was started on the defensive end. We got steals and hit shots which gave us a boost. We were able to create offense from our defense”, warned Jason Clark. “We handled the Frankfurt come back well and stayed composed and stuck together”, added Cameron Wells. S.Oliver Wurzburg shot 51% from the field and 50% from the parking lot and had 23 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 43% from the field and 36% from the parking lot and had 21 rebounds and 11 turnovers.
The fourth quarter was an offensive show as both teams combined for 56 points, but the Fraport Skyliners were never able to totally get over the hump and never got closer than 8 points. S.Oliver Wurzburg got going quickly going on a 9-3 run to extend their commanding lead to 70-54. In the run, the guests continued to execute their offense well as they understood how to share the ball as four different players scored as Richter connected on a three pointer, Cooks nailed a runner, Wells showed his quickness scoring on a lay in and Koch also made a runner. Frankfurt was searching for an offensive identity, but couldn´t find it while also making dumb mistakes continuing to give the guests extra opportunities on offense. The Fraport Skyliners may have lacked offensive consistency, but they exchanged that for that fighting mentality and at times showed glimpses of good offense. Larson got more aggressive and hit a three and free throws while Robertson kept his hot hand from outside as Frankfurt was clawing back and suddenly only trailed 74-66. But s.Oliver Wurzburg always had an answer while Frankfurt couldn´t get stops. After a nice Frankfurt come back, the guests slapped them in the face with a fierce 4-0 run to extend their lead to 78-66 as they could do what they wanted in the paint as Oliver snuck inside for a hard two handed dunk and Cooks also scored. Clark saved his best for last as he started getting open better and hit back to back three´s as Frankfurt trailed only 80-72. But as so often in the game, good play was followed by unneeded and untimely bad plays as Larson was hit with a flagrant foul. This led to four rapid Wurzburg points as Bowlin made free throws and Wells scored as they were back to leading by double digits 84-72. In the last two minutes, Frankfurt got five points from Larson, but couldn´t get over the hump or get stops as Wurzburg closed out the game in fine fashion with five unanswered points as Richter made a hard dunk and Hulls put the final exclamation mark on the victory with a trey. “We did a good job sticking together, sharing the ball and being aggressive. We also stuck together on defense and helped each other out”, added ex Tuebingen guard Cameron Wells. “Their guards kept hitting shots and Cooks played well. They hit really tough shots off our bad offensive possessions and that really hurt. We just couldn´t get over the hump”, stressed Jason Clark. S.Oliver Wurzburg had six players in double figures and were led by Johannes Richter with 17 points. Jordan Hulls added 15 points while Cameron Wells delivered 13 points and Xavier Cooks added 12 points. Skyler Bowlin and Floian Koch produced 11 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 20 points. Tyler Larson added 16 points and seven dimes while Jason Clark contributed 13 points. S.Oliver Wurzburg shot 60% form the field and 53% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 13 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 43% from the field and 42% from outside and had 26 rebounds and 13 turnovers.