Branden Frazier Takes Charge In Crunch-Time Lifting The Telekom Baskets Bonn Past Besiktas Istanbul 86-82

                It seems likes ages ago when the Fraport Skyliners were able to win the 2016 Fiba Europe cup only their third club title led by the leadership, scoring and playmaking of ex Seton Hall guard Jordan Theodore. Even if the club had had some great complementary parts that season with the twin towers Johannes Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel and Mr Canada Philipp Scrubb, one could say that they wouldn´t have won the title without having had the services of Theodore. Since then the New Jersey native has gained further valuable basketball experience in countries like Turkey, Italy and Greece. In that time he made it to being a solid Euroleague player and along the way was able to compete against German teams Fraport Skyliners, EWE Baskets Oldenburg, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and Brose Bamberg. He had had the number of the German teams having a respectable 7-2 record and 1 tie. His most memorable game was beating his ex club Fraport Skyliners. Especially in the Basketball Champions League he was able to dominate in his season with Banvit and now a few years later he is back in this competition with new team  Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul (Turkey-BSL) in Germany and playing the Telekom Baskets Bonn on the road. He had fond memories of this club as he had a 2-0 record with the Fraport Skyliners in the 2015-2016 season. Theodore wouldn´t be so lucky this time as he didn´t have one of his better games, but also was hit hard on his leg in the second quarter that limited to less minutes in the third quarter and in crunch-time the Turkish squad had no answer for the Branden Frazier big shots losing 86-82. After the loss Telekom Baskets Bonn guard TJ Dileo reflected on the hard fought win. “Besiktas really turned up the physicality in the fourth quarter. We had a couple runs that helped us win it. They battled hard and turned up the intensity but Frazier was big hitting important shots when our offense was struggling”, stressed ex Giessen 46er TJ DiLeo. On the other side 20 points, 6 steals and two thunderous back to back dunks from Shaquille Mckissic couldn´t get Besiktas over the hump in the fourth quarter. “Our big problem this season is having focus on offense and defense. Their spurts of 6-8 point runs really hurt us”, added ex Arizona State forward Shaquille Mckissic.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and ex East Carolina(NCAA) player Japhet Mcneil take in the game in Bonn

            Besiktas Istanbul had German national player Ismet Akpinar in the starting five and they strolled out on a quick 7-3 lead despite Bonn guard Brandon Frazier netting the first three points of the game. In the run the Turkish side got two buckets in the paint from two time NBA champion James McAdoo and a trey from Akpinar. The game had a very high tempo and you had two extreme loud cheering sections of the faithful Bonn fans and the 100 so Besiktas fans who had made the trip to Germany from Istanbul. Basketball will always be  a game of runs and as Besiktas had theirs so did Bonn who went on a 6-2 run dead locking the game at 9-9. In the run the Telekom Baskets Bonn found their spots in the paint as ex Ludwigsburg center Martin Breunig struck with a two handed stuff, Cuban Yorman Polas hit an off balance shot and ex Alba Berlin guard Joshiko Saibu made a lay in. Besiktas continued to set the tone grabbing the lead back as Akpinar showed in style how to score in bunches as he hit a trey and then scored on transition sharing a roar of excitement from Jordan Theodore. Theodore was being watched very closely as he had to struggle to find his spots in the tight zone. The Telekom Baskets Bonn stayed on Besiktas´s heels getting a three pointer from ex ACB player Ben Simmons, but in the last minute got some huge support from ex Turkish national player and ex Anadolu Efes Istanbul (BSL) swing man Birkan Batuk with 5 points leading 22-19 after 10 minutes. “Both teams had nice energy. Bonn was trying to find their rhythm while Besiktas was moving the ball better. Besiktas was shooting well and making the extra pass”, stated ex USC Heidelberg guard Japhet Mcneil. Besiktas Istanbul was shooting 56% from the field and 66% from outside and had 10 rebounds and 5 turnovers while the Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 43% from the field and 37% from outside and had 8 rebounds and 2 turnovers.

            In the second quarter Besiktas Istanbul had a firm grip on the game in the first 10 minutes, but then a Bonn run shifted the momentum and the Turkish side could never fully recover as the German team controlled the game from that stand point until the end. Mckissic began the second quarter with 5 points, but the Telekom Baskets Bonn were able to match their intensity and execute well on offense getting baskets from Simmons and ex NBA player Trey Mckinney-Jones and trail 27-23. To this juncture, the game had no easy baskets, no real runs except for the first few minutes and no transition baskets. It wasn´t only the Americans doing their duty for Besiktas, but the Turks also were giving their two cents as three time Turkish allstar and 2010 World Cup silver medalist Oguz Savas did a good job using his muscle in the paint getting two baskets. Besiktas Istanbul couldn´t get away from Bonn as Mckinney -Jones scored 3 baskets in a row keeping the German side in the game trailing only 33-29. Bonn continued to pressure the ball very well which the Turkish side didn´t come to terms with. A Di Leo three gave Bonn the lead back and Subotic tap in gave them the 36-33 advantage and they would never look back. “Bonn got on transition well and got easy baskets. Besiktas had no ball movement as the ball was sticking”, stressed Brooklyn New York native Japhet Mcneil. In the last few minutes the Telekom Baskets Bonn kept the pressure on and let the ball fly at a high percentage from the parking lot as Serb Bojan Subotic nailed two three´s and Frazier connected for one as Bonn led 47-41 at the break. “Bonn got more confidence because of the lack of ball movement from Besiktas. Besikats lost some intensity on defense and the three´s started to fall for Bonn. The Bonn bigs were shooting the ball well and Mckinney-Jones gave good energy back breaking hustle plays”, warned Japhet Mcneil. The Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 51% from the field and 50% from the three point line and had 16 rebounds and 6 turnovers while Besiktas Istanbul shot 55% form the field and 53% from the three point line and had 15 rebounds and 13 turnovers.

            In the third quarter The Telekom Baskets Bonn held the lead as Besiktas Istanbul couldn´t get over the hump and regain the lead. Despite ex Euroleague player Jordan Theodore missing the first 6 minutes, Besikats Istanbul did a good job staying with Bonn. Akpinar began the second quarter with a trey, but that didn´t faze the German side as they responded with a swift 6-0 run to extend their lead to 53-44. In the run the German team continued to score at will in the paint. Super energizer Subotic continued to be a force scoring two baskets and Polas added one. But Besiktas Istanbul came back with a 7-0 run to get right back in the game and trail only 53-51. In the run, the Turkish squad got a huge three from ex Bonn forward Nemanja Djuristic and two big hoops from McAdoo who had his moments in the paint. Besiktas Istanbul had the momentum, but once again it shifted back to Bonn as they closed out the third quarter with a shattering 14-6 run extending their lead to 67-57 their biggest in the game. The Telekom Baskets Bonn had a lot of confidence all night long and really picked up their defense more in the third quarter helping them get the big lead. In the run Bonn got an easy transition basket from DiLeo, a three pointer from Simmons and two buckets from ex NBA player Stephen Zimmermann who used his collection of fancy moves to gain two baskets. “Bonn defended a lot tougher causing Besiktas to rush it more and make turnovers. Bonn took advantage of those turnovers”, stated Japhet Mcneil. “They really fought hard, but our defense pressured them much causing many turnovers”, added TJ DiLeo. “The third quarter has been our achilles heel. We came out with little energy and had to many turnovers”, stressed Shaquille Mckissic. The Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 57% from the field and 52% from the parking lot and had 22 rebounds and 14 turnovers while Besiktas Istanbul shot 50% form the field and 42% from the parking lot and had 21 rebounds and 19 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Branden Frazier in Rhondorf Germany

            In the fourth quarter Besiktas made one more run and cut the Bonn lead down to one point, but then it would be Frazier time which decided the game for Bonn. Breunig began with two free throws giving Bonn the 69-57 advantage. But Besiktas Istanbul then started their rampage going on a 11-3 run to cut the Bonn lead down to 71-68. In the run the Turkish side was without Theodore, but young Turkish guard Omer Al did a good job organizing the offense and playing hard defense. He nailed a trey to start the run to cut Bonn´s lead down to 69-60. “He gave his team awesome minutes doing his job and pushing the pace. He defended the ball 90 feet”, stressed Japhet Mcneil. Batuk and Savas gave the team valuable contribution with baskets as did Mckissic who wooed the crowd with two massive dunks. “I love his athleticism and how he attacks the basket. He does it as good as anyone on the floor”, stressed Japhet Mcneil. “Those were normal dunks. I never know when they will come. I like doing them, They become natural to me. I have been dunking since 15 or 16 years”, smiled Shaquille Mckissic. All this damage by Besikats Istanbul had been done without Theodore on the floor. After a Breunig hook shot, Akpinar nailed a free throw and Mckissic struck again with a fabulous floater from the wing that saw nothing but net as Bonn had the slim 73-72 advantage. But then came the Frazier rampage of the night as the ex Fordham(NCAA) standout hit three shots in a row giving 8 points in the 10-2 run as the Telekom Baskets Bonn had total control and the comfortable 83-74 lead with 2 minutes to play. “He decided the game. He was in rhythm and could get off any shot he wanted to. He was shooting off the dribble as no one could stop him”, warned Japhet Mcneil. Mckissic and McAdoo got some baskets in the last two minutes, but the Turkish side never got closer than 4 points. DiLeo sealed the deal with free throws and the win with a few seconds remaining. “Frazier is a smart player and knew when to take over the game. He hit big shots”, added TJ DiLeo. “Key was Frazier. I played with him in Russia. I warned my team about him. He is hard to guard. We only had 2 days to prepare. We keep on learning on the move”, added Shaquille Mckissic. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were led by Branden Frazier with 14 points. Bojan Subotic added 12 points, TJ DiLeo 11 points and Stephen Zimmerman 10 points and 8 rebounds while Besiktas Istanbul was led yb Shaquille Mckissic with 20 points while Ismet Akpinar added 18 points. The Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 55% from the field and from outside and had 32 rebounds and 22 turnovers while Besikats Istanbul shot 52% from the field and 40% from outside and had 28 rebounds and 23 turnovers.

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