After having a long 2 week break to regroup after starting 1-5, you would have thought that Frankfurt head coach Geert Hammnik would have had something special prepared for Brose Bamberg, but instead were destroyed 100-83. With every new loss, the Bundesliga life of the Fraport Skyliners keeps diminishing. Frankfurt more than desperately needed a win, but it didn’t get any better against the always tough ratiopharm Ulm squad coached by Anton Gavel. Despite another talented roster, Ulm began the season off on the wrong note losing 5 games in a row. But as of late the team seems to have gotten out of their funk having won 3 of their last 4 games including Eurocup action. On a cool Sunday afternoon in late November, Quantez Robertson wanted to have another good game after having hit Bamberg with 18 points the week before and also help spark his team to success. But once again Quantez Robertson had a disappointed expression on his face after 40 minutes and had to search for new answers why the club lost once again this time to Ratiopharm Ulm 97-82. ‘We didn’t get enough defensive stops, didn’t rebound well enough and gave up too many fast break baskets. We didn’t do much well. Our communication on defense was there and we didn’t play good pick and roll defense’, stated ex Auburn (NCAA) great Quantez Robertson. Ratiopharm Ulm came out strong and played good consistent ball for the most part of the game something that the Fraprt Skyliners would love to do so much, but can’t. Ex Fraport Skyliner Tyrone Mccoy who played more than 2 decades ago for them and now is an assistant coach with ratiopharm Ulm was pleased with the team effort. ‘We started off well. We had some guys out, but still felt comfortable playing with each other. We played very well in the second half and went on a run that was helped by Robin Christen (202-SF-1991) big shots that helped get our lead to 20 points. We then did a good job managing the lead until the end. I felt that you could see that every guy is finding their role and as a whole everyone was trying to give a little bit more’, warned Tyrone Mccoy.
Josh Hawley at the FT line
Both teams found their offensive rhythm right away in the first quarter and no team could escape the other as ratiopharm Ulm led 22-20 after 10 minutes. The Fraport Skyliners started the offensive attack first as German national player Lukas Wank found his game instantly scoring 5 unanswered points, but the guests didn’t waste anytime getting 2 pretty baskets as ex Rasta Vechta forward Robin Christen fed German beats Nicolas Bretzel for the alley op dunk and ex NBA Summer League player Karim Jallow added a reverse lay up to trail 5-4. Both teams tried to get their big men involved with Matt Haarms and Bretzel as both answered with buckets, and both had good games combining for 30 points. After both exchanged baskets, it was ex Tarleton State (NCAA2) great Josh Hawley that gave Ulm the 15-14 advantage with a hard two hand dunk as Frankfurt would have massive problems all day long with 1-1 defense. Then ex Alba Berlin youth player Nolan Adekunle was inserted. He had wooed everyone only 18 hours earlier making 29 points in the Pro B win against Orange Academy in front of the eyes of head coach Geert Hammink. But at the end of 40 minutes, the athletic German had only logged 2,48 minutes. It was a shame that he hadn’t received more minutes something he would have deserved. He made a pretty basket for the 16-15 Frankfurt lead. Ratiopharm Ulm then grabbed the lead back and didn’t give it up again the rest of the game. Spanish guard Juan Nunez made a lay in and then got to the free throw line as Montenegran forward Fedor Zugic made 4 of 5 free throws and Hawley also made one as the guests led 22-18. Then with 5,6 seconds left came the games most spectacular play of the game as American JJ Frazier went coast to coast making an acrobatic lay in as the Fraport Skyliners trailed 22-20. ‘There was no defense played on either side. Both teams were getting to their spots. We had problems taking care of the ball’, stated Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners shot very well with 44% from the field and 50% from outside while ratiopharm Ulm was still looking for their touch from outside as they were at 20%. Ulm had the slim 10-8 rebound edge while Frankfurt had 5 turnovers.
Laurynas Beliauskas from outside
The contest remained tight in the second quarter, but the Fraport Skyliners could never get the lead back and were constantly playing catch up basketball. Frankfurt got some early support from Joshua Obiesie who continues to show that he wants to take responsibility as he scored 5 points, but Frankfurt couldn’t get stops as Karim Jallow beat everyone on transition for an easy basket and Hawley nailed a trey as Ulm led 29-28. Ratiopharm Ulm then found some daylight escaping out on a 8-2 run to lead 37-30. Ulm got two three’s from Brazilian Yago Matheus and Austrian Thomas Klepeisz and a lay in from Hawley as Frankfurt simply gave too many open looks. But what the guests could so, so could Frankfurt as they responded on a 8-3 run to trail only 40-38. Wank continued to hit shots as did Lithuanian Laurynas Bellauskas from down town and Quantez Robertson inside getting the pretty pass from Wank. Wank finished with a career high 10 assists, but continues to be an underrated passer. ‘That pass impressed me the most in the game. He has great court vision and has the skills to be able to make passes like that’, stressed Fraport Skyliner Junior Bennet Schubert. Ratiopharm Ulm came back with a Matheus trey and Bretzel offensive rebound and put back for the 45-40 advantage, but Quantez Robertson closed out the second quarter with another lay in as Wank once again made the perfect pass, but Ratiopharm Ulm led 45-42 at the break. ‘Frankfurt didn’t have consistent offense. Frankfurt had problems controlling Matheus and Bretzel hurt the team also too much in the paint’, stated Fraport Skyliner Junior Calvin Schaum. Despite trailing the Fraport Skyliners were shooting better than ratiopharm Ulm over 50% from the field and outside, but had 5 turnovers more while both teams had 18 rebounds a piece.
Juan Nunez with the floater
The turning point of the game came in the third quarter as ratiopharm Ulm had a 31 point explosion and just steam rolled the Fraport Skyliners. Ratiopharm Ulm began with an explosive 12-3 run to extend their lead to 57-45. Instrumental in the run was ex Pro A player Robin Christen who was a late bloomer who played 6 years in the Pro A before becoming a solid easyCredit BBL role player. In the run he nailed 2 uncharachteristic touch three’s that you don’t see every day. ‘That shot is hard to make. He must be used to making that shot thanks to his quick release. He has been able to incorporate that into his game. He is a good role model and example of what hard work can do. It can help you reach the highest level’, expressed Bennet Schubert. ‘I practice this shot every day. It isn’t unusual that I can make that shot’, said Robin Christen. After a Haarms lay in and Wank trey, it was Christen again who showed his mastery at scoring making 5 points as Frankfurt trailed 62-49. ‘Frankfurt wanted to come out of half-time making a run. Frankfurt didn’t have clear plays and Ulm was more focused. They wanted to shut the door on Frankfurt. Frankfurt made dumb mistakes like that Jallow dunk’, added Bennet Schubert. Frankfurt simply had to little bright spots as even when a Joshua Obiesie sparkled with a trey, ratiopharm Ulm simply had a better bench on this day. Ratiopharm Ulm got steady support from David Fuchs who is a vital player for their farm team as well as a Nunez floater and 5 points from Zugic as ratiopharm had the very comfortable 76-54 advantage after 30 minutes. ‘We moved the ball well and got open shots. We had a good feel for the pick and roll and just did what we wanted to. We moved the ball and had 2-3 passes and then took the open shot’, stressed Tyrone Mccoy. ‘They executed their offense at a t. I thought we got good looks, but just couldn’t make shots when we needed to’, exclaimed Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners shot solidly over 40% from the field and outside, but now ratiopharm Ulm had upped their shooting percentages to 53% from the field and 47% from the parking lot. The guests had upped their rebound work having the 28-23 rebound edge and Frankfurt had 14 turnovers and Ulm only 6.
Joshua Obiesie at the FT line
Ratiopharm Ulm managed their lead well, until they were challenged by Lukas Wank who still had a little energy in his tank as his hot hitting brought Frankfurt closer, but really Ulm was never seriously challenged in crunch-time. At the 8,53 minute mark, new Fraport Skyliner Marcus Lewis who played at Eastern Kentucky (NCAA) made his first field goal in the BBL. He ended with 8 points in 16 minutes work. Frankfurt got a clutch three pointer from big man Jordan Samare and Matt Haarms continued to execute in the paint, but the Fraport Skyliners couldn’t make any ground as ratiopharm Ulm also continued to execute as Hawley and Matheus scored. One player they couldn’t control at all was beast Nicolas Bretzel who finished with 13 points and 10 boards as he continued to make easy baskets giving Ulm the 85-72 lead. But then came the big moment of Lukas Wank as he nailed back to back three’s and had the Fraport Arena cooking as suddenly Frankfurt trailed 86-78 with a few minutes to play. Wank finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. ‘This was his best game of the season. He was already at 8/8 at the half. He was moving ball and finding guys while being very aggressive on offense’, stated Quantez Robertson. But that was as close as the Fraport Skyliners would get as ratiopharm Ulm closed out the game with a potent 11-4 run to win the game easily. Nunez made 2 clutch lay ins and Klepeisz a trey to seal the deal. With a few seconds remaining and Frankfurt already getting ready to shake hands, Matheus hit a last second three to sugar coat his stat line. ‘Frankfurt did a good job at the end switching and slowing us down. It made us stagnant and made us go 1-1. We had a good lead and Nunez made big baskets at the end to finish the game for us’, said Tyrone Mccoy. ‘Frankfurt always plays well in the last quarter. But when you have been fighting the whole game to come back, it is just really hard to get consecutive stops when your down’, stressed Bennet Schubert. Ratiopharm Ulm was led by Robin Christen with 18 points. Yago Matheus added 15 points and Nicolas Bretzel 13 points while the Fraport Skyliners were led by Lukas Wank with 18 points and Matt Haarms added 17 points. Ratiopharm Ulm shot 55% from the field and 42% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 12 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 49% from the field and 42% form outside and had 27 rebounds 15 turnovers.