Early in the season Giessen went on the road to Ulm to face Orange Academy and lost 86-75 as they had to contend with a balanced offense attack that shared the ball with pleasure. Now in the return date and the playoffs looming closer, both clubs met again in Giessen for a late season clash. In mid December Giessen was strenghthed with American veteran Donte Nicholas who gave instant energy and has been a massive contributor on offense and defense helping the organization to a potent 9-2 record. Surprisingly he is only third best on team scoring as the potent big man duo of Lischka and Uhlmen have combined for 43 points per game, but the American is second in rebounds and leads the team in assists. Orange Academy came to Giessen as the home team had revenge on their minds, but they had massive difficulty slowing down the best big man duo in the Pro B with Johannes Lischka and Tim Uhlemann who combined for 35 points and couldn´t execute offensively in crunch-time losing in Giessen 86-79. “We gave up 51 points in the first half which is way too much. In the second half, we defended better and had a chance to get the win back, but turnovers and fouls cost us the game. I liked how we came back and never gave up”, stated Orange Academy forward Moritz Krimmer. The Depant Giessen 46ers Rackelos continue to play fine basketball winning 10 of their last 12 games and four in a row as they head into the playoffs. “We played in stages something that happens when you have young players. I kept telling the guys it doesn´t matter how you win, but just matters that you win. We controlled the pace, got stops and got good looks. We controlled the pace with our bigs that was the difference”, warned Giessen forward Donte Nicholas.
The Depant Giessen 46ers Rackelos began well going on a run to get a nice lead, but Orange Academy made a late run to recapture the lead back and lead 22-20 after 10 minutes. Both teams attacked the paint as the three point line was quiet in the first minutes. Orange Academy got vital buckets from ratiopharm Ulm double license players Christoph Philipps and Moritz Krimmer while Giessen got baskets from ex German national player Johannes Lischka and ex Iserlohn forward Donte Nicholas as the contest was dead locked at 6-6. The contest experienced it´s first run as Giessen went on a 11-4 run to lead comfortably 17-10. In the run, Giessen got big support from Johannes Lischka who scored 7 points while German David Amaize also scored. Donte Nicholas wooed the few people in attendance with a massive dunk as he flew to the hoop from the free throw line. The dunk reminded me a bit of ex NBA player JR Pinnock who supplied a similar dunk in the 2006-2007 season in Giessen against Frankfurt. “I had to show the young guys that a guy my age can still dunk. I saw the lane open up and just wanted to be aggressive and make a play”, stressed Donte Nicholas. The Giessen offense was flowing and they made good decisions. Orange Academy´s offense was stuttering and they had absolutely no clue of slowing down Lischka who was wrecking chaos in his playground in the zone. But that run didn´t faze Orange Academy totally as they struck back as they closed out the first quarter with a 12-5 run to lead by 2 points after one quarter. In the run, Orange Academy got clutch back to back three´s from Germans Latrell Groskopf and Kristopfer Krause and also got a pretty left handed hook shot from Nat Diallo. Giessen got a three in the last seconds from German Felix Schweitzer. “We played in stages. We can´t be lax and have to sustain our energy better. We took our foot off the petal and allowed them on a run”, stated Donte Nicholas.
The massive scoring continued in the second quarter as the Depant Giessen 46ers Rackelos broke away exploding for 29 points and led 49-39 at the break. Orange Academy kept the lead, but couldn´t shake Giessen as they stayed on their heels. Orange Academy received huge support from 17 year old Montenegran 206cm forward Anddrija Grbovic who scored 8 points in a row to keep his team in charge. He was very aggressive scoring in the paint three times and also dropped a trey while Giessen stayed in the game getting buckets from Uhlemann and Lischka to trail only 30-28. Giessen tied the game at 32-32 getting a key transition basket from German Tim Uhlemann. After Moritz Krimmer nailed free throws for the 34-32 advantage, Giessen then stormed out on a 13-0 run to grab the 45-34 lead. In the run, Giessen got 5 points from Donte Nicholas, a hard two handed stuff from Tim Uhlemann and a lay in on transition from German Tim Kopple. Giessen attacked inside and stopped Ulm´s inside game and good defense led to easy transition baskets. Orange Academy got two important baskets from Moritz Krimmer in the last minute, but still trailed 49-39 at half-time. “We went back to to what we knew worked for us. We have to know what our identity is and getting our two bigs who are the best in the league involved is important”, warned Donte Nicholas.
The Depant Giessen 46ers Rackelos continued to control the game in the third quarter, but Orange Academy never let down, but remained in striking distance. Both clubs had their offenses rolling, but Orange Academy couldn´t get stops on defense which didn´t allow them to inch closer. Giessen continued to get good production from Johannes Lischka who used his tricks inside always getting good position and then scoring against the next double team with the utmost ease. Nicholas also scored getting the pass from Lischka while Orange Academy got vital buckets from Moritz Krimmer and a trey from Andrea Grbovic to cut the lead to 53-46. Giessen got good support and energy form the bench from 22 year old German Viktor Ziring who had played with Iserlohn the last 3 years hit a trey for the 56-46 lead. “He works out with me and is one of my students. With him it´s all about having confidence. He has done a good job building his confidence”, stated Donte Nicholas. Orange Academy then found some daylight going on a swift 7-0 run to suddenly trail only 56-53 as Giessen had fallen into one of their weak stages. Ulm got baskets from Germans Marius Stoll, Kristopher Krause on transition and Christoph Phillipps dropped a three pointer. Orange Academy had a good phase not allowing Giessen´s big men to wheel and deal in the paint. But Giessen didn´t panic, but had their blows ready as Ziring dropped his second three pointer to give Giessen the 59-53 advantage. Ulm got good punch inside as Krimmer scored and Julius Ferber gave good energy from the bench with an offensive rebound and put back to cut Giessen´s lead to 62-57. But once again Orange Academy wasn´t able to get closer as Johannes Lischka continued to play his game and excel as he demonstrated his fine mix of inside out hitting a 25 footer and then once again scoring against the double team inside extending their lead to 66-61. Ferber hit a trey from the corner, but Tim Uhlemann countered with a last second trey to give Giessen some more breathing room and the 70-64 lead after 30 minutes. “Lischka is unstoppable and a load. He makes tough shots and good decisions. We keep telling him that we will continue to feed him inside”, stressed Donte Nicholas.
Orange Academy clawed their way back in the fourth quarter to cut the Giessen lead down to one point, but in crunch-time, the Depant Giessen 46ers Rackelos stepped up their defense and had the better nerves and offensive execution rate to pull out the win. Orange Academy didn´t waste any time starting their comeback attempt as Moritz Krimmer went on fire scoring 8 unanswered points in a row to cut Giessen´s lead to 73-71. Krimmer was aggressive getting to the free throw line twice and connecting all shots and controlled the paint area with a tap in and lay in. Orange Academy continued to put pressure on Giessen, but couldn´t get over the hump as Uhlemann and Tim Koepple scored. Orange Academy continued to feed Krimmer who scored two more times with a lay in and left handed hook shot as they were on Giessen´s heels trailing 78-77. But then came the deciding blow as Giessen closed out the game with a 8-2 run and got 5 consecutive stops to clinch the victory. Giessen got a basket from Koepple and free throws from Nicholas, Uhlemann and Koepple. “We did a good job Controlling the pace, getting stops and good looks. That was the difference. We didn´t rush anything in crunch-time and were patient”, stressed Donte Nicholas. The Depant Giessen 46ers Rackelos were led by Johannes Lischka with 18 points. Donte Nicholas and Tim Uhlemann added 17 points apiece and Tim Koepple had 13 points while Orange Academy was led by Moritz Krimmer with 26 points while Christoph Philipps added 14 points and Andrija Grbovic produced 13 points. The Depant Giessen 46ers Rackelos shot 56% from the field and 47% from outside and had 36 rebounds and 21 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 37% from the field and 24% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 12 turnovers.