Je’Kel Foster Connects With The Money Ball Shot And Unseemingly Impossible Offensive Rebound Leading FC Bayern Munich Past The Fraport Skyliners 58-57
When going to the beautiful Bavarian city of Munich for a day trip, one has a bundle full of delightful options to pick from like going to the October Fest beer festival and seeing which German celebrities are drunk, experiencing if one is permitted entrance to the famous P 1 club and seeing what models are gawking at German soccer legend Oliver Kahn, hanging out that the pretty Marine place and counting how many different nationalities are taking photos in the gap of an hour, going to the Bavarian Film studios to witness how film is made in German style or just relaxing in the English garden and observing the beauty of the Chinese tower, but until recently the choice to go to a Sunday matane basketball game and see top class basketball has been more of a dream than reality. However ever since FC Bayern Munich has returned to the Beko BBL this season since the departure in 1974 when Germany won the World Cup and FC Bayern Munich soccer was starting its rise, it has become an option for basketball fans to go to games. What is nicer than to run elbows with an Uli Hoeness philosophizing about Thomas Muller against Mario Gotze, but never losing touch with the Davidson-Troutman battle underneath or sharing a Hot Dog with German soccer stars Bastian Schweinsteiger, Jerome Boateng or Holger Badstuber. Even though Basketball is slowly trying to become a house hold name in Munich, it is other things that one thinks about first before thinking about dunking home a ball in the Audi Dome. “I like Munich, because you are so close to the mountains and lakes only 30 kilomters away while in Bamberg I had to drive 300 kilometers”, joked FC Bayern Munich youth coordinator Volker Stix. For 2008 cup winner Darius Hall who is in the later stages of his basketball career, it is like night and day to Quackenbruck. “I first think of the soccer team when I hear the word Munich. It is a great place for Americans, because you have such a diverse choice of eating places and movie places. Munich really has a lot to offer to Americans”, joked Darius Hall. “I like the parks where I can spend a lot of time with the kids and the beer gardens as well”, smiled Serb power forward Alexsandar Nadjefji.
FC Bayern Munich remained undefeated at home after they followed up their big Eurocup win against Benetton Treviso five days earlier with a big, but also very fortunate 58-57 win. It was a game where the defense intensity seemed to pick up with each quarter. Sometimes playing at home and coming off a big win gives a team that extra kick to make the right plays and win that luck in the waning minutes to help propel a team to victory. “This was a classic win for us. This was a tough win and a kind of knock down grind out win. We had the better luck at the end getting those offensive rebounds. However this was win we wanted to get more”, warned FC Bayern Munich center Darius Hall.
For the Fraport Skyliners it was the seventh loss in a row and second loss in a row where the opponent won by one point more. FC Bayern Munich missed four free throws, but denied Frankfurt the chance to go for a winning basket as they secured two big offensive rebounds at the end. The Fraport Skyliners continue to live in the Beko BBL cellar and after tanking self confidence in the solid performance in Eurocup play in Turkey, a loss like this might put a damper in the all around self confidence builder. “The ending was crazy. Every loss like this hurts a little more. One point loses always hurt, but that is a part of basketball”, stressed Skyliner forward Danilo Barthel. Ex Bamberg assistant coach Volker Stix who is reunited again with Dirk Bauermann in Munich has seen much strange things in the basketball world, but this ending left him speechless for about five seconds before giving his take. “The ending was very bitter for Frankfurt. Usually missing free throws like that in a close game in the end should help Frankfurt, but instead the offensive rebounds by Munich won the game. In the end, it is usually the little mistakes that win a game, but here they were very big mistakes. It was not a beautiful win, but a win is a win”, commented Volker Stix. “I have never lost by one point twice in a row. This was a tough loss. We have to learn how to win. I am proud how we played, but not satisfied”, said Skyliner guard Jimmy Mckinney.
Before the game commenced, there was a cheerful greeting at center court by Jimmy MCkinney and Philipp Schwethelm who might had been reminiscing about the 2010 5 game semi final series between the Deutsche Bank Skyliners and the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. It took a while to get used to all the red in the Audi Dome and with so much FC Bayern writing present, one might have thought they were at an indoor soccer game as the only thing missing was green turf. Minutes before the game started, German soccer national player Bastian Schweinsteiger arrived to his seat with a black cap as he wasn´t fooling anyone as everyone in the arena knew it was him as he shared conversation with FC Bayern Munich sport director Marko Pesic. 6,185 people wanted to see the two teams battle as FC Bayern Munich got off to the better start quickly showing their versatile inside out play as Robin Benzing and Je Kel Foster connected with three point bombs and German national players Steffen Hamann and Robin Benzing scored inside. The Fraport Skyliners were fighting to keep up with the intensity level of FC Bayern Munich and were missing shots. Frankfurt disallowed FC Bayern Munich to extend their lead as they battled back to 12-7 as Jimmy Mckinney hit a shot and Quantez Robertson kept an offensive play alive with an offensive reboundas Michael Thompson nailed a three pointer. Both teams then were flat for a few minutes before FC Bayern Munich ended the first quarter with a harsh 7-2 to lead 19-9 after one quarter. 2008 ULEB Cup winner with Badalona Jan Jagla hit a crazy bank shot from the Olympia park and ex Eisbaeren Bremerhaven German Philipp Schwethelm also dropped a bomb from the three point line. “FC Bayern Munich found their rhythm very quickly at the start getting a lead. Despite their 7-2 run at the end, I thought they were losing their concentration a bit. Chevon Troutman was very active and did many things that one does not always see right away”, added FC Bayern Munich youth coordinator Volker Stix. FC Bayern Munich was shooting 44% from the field and 57% from outside while The Fraport Sklyiners were shooting 40% from the field and 25% from outside. FC Bayern Munich had the 9-6 rebound edge and Frankfurt had five turnovers while FC Bayern Munich only two turnovers.
That the game of basketball can be a game of run continued to show its face at the start of the second quarter as the Fraport Skyliners jumped back into the game shocking FC Bayern Munich with a 12-2 run to lock the game at 21-21. The Fraport Skyliners were doing a good job throwing the ball inside as German national player Tim Ohlbrecht drew a foul and dunked home a Johannes Herber feed. Michael Thompson connected with another three pointer, Mckinney hit a difficult shot over Foster and Ohlbrecht used some muscle to tip home a shot. Skyliner forward Jon Leuer finished with a double and scored all his points in the closing of the second and fourth quarter. He scored the last six Frankfurt points of the second quarter hitting a turn around shot, lay in and another jumper. FC Bayern Munich Chevon Troutman continued to be a beast on the offensive glass as he continued to agitate the Frankfurt big men. Both teams headed into halftime with the game dead locked at 27-27. “I thought both teams were doing a good job working for their shots, but both teams had problems making their shots. It became a game of runs and both teams stepped up their defense. Frankfurt hit very tough shots and it the game was becoming a dog fight”, expressed Volker Stix. FC Bayern Munich was shooting 29% from the field and 29% from the three point line while The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 48% from the field and 29% from the three point line. The rebounds were even at 18-18 and both teams were keeping the turnovers low as Frankfurt had six and Munich only four.
In the third quarter, The Fraport Skyliners finally would be rewarded with their first lead as the fans witnessed five lead changes as the visitors took control of the game. Ohlbrecht gave Frankfurt the lead with a free throw and Jermareo Davidson added to the 30-27 lead with a jumper. Mckinney then hit a pull up jumper, but FC Bayern Munich countered with a mini 4-0 run to retake the lead 33-32 as Nadjefji hit a sweet fade away jumper and Benzing nailed a runner. Davidson then scored again inside as the Fraport Skyliners stole the lead again 35-33. FC Bayern Munich then displayed strong team basketball as Jagla made a monster dunk as he got an extra no look pass from Nadjefji who has belonged to the top power forward passers in the Beko BBL for years. Foster then struck with a floater and Mckinney hit a wild jumper as Jagla seemed to be crawling all over his neck as the game was 37-37. Which team would respond with the Next run or would it remain a close dog fight down the stretch in the third quarter? The Fraport Skyliners went on another run of 12-6 to close out the third quarter leading 49-44. Michael Thompson who was forced into major duty in Turkey playing 37 minutes because of the injury to Gray almost played 40 minutes and continues to thrive under pressure as he hit two consecutive three pointers. “Thompson was solid. He hit his open shots and ran the team well”, stressed Je Kel Foster. “Juice took much responsibility tonight. He hit open shots and created for others and was a small terror all over the court on defense”, warned Danilo Barthel. Mckinney ignited for three hoops as he showed he can penetrate when he wants gliding easily past aggressive defender Hamann, hitting an off balance shot and then sneaking inside and closing with a reverse lay up. “Mckinney really stepped it up for Frankfurt. He is a streaky player, but when he gets going, he can make incredible shots”, stressed Darius Hall. “Frankfurt played with a lot more intensity on defense. This really showed with the low shooting percentage of FC Bayern Munich”, added Volker Stix. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 53% from the field and 36% from the parking lot while FC Bayern Munich was shooting 33% from the field and 22% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the rebound edge 27-23, but nine turnovers while FC Bayern Munich had only five turnovers.
Despite the lead by The Fraport Skyliners, the game would remain a dog fight as defense continued to rule as only a total of 21 points were made in the last 10 minutes. After the Skyliner run to start the third quarter, it was time to FC Bayern Munich to make their move as they came out like a focused bear knowing how to get its next honey rush as they roared out on a 7-0 run to lead 51-49. FC Bayern Munich started the fourth quarter with fast ball movement as Schwethelm finished with a three pointer. Skyliner skipper Muli Katzurin then was handed with a technical foul which seemed to fuel the FC Bayern Munich run. Je Kel Foster made a mid distance shot from the wing as FC Bayern Munich lead again 51-49. Mckinney struck back with a jumper to make the score 51-51. Then in crunch time it was time again for Jon Leuer to score in bunches as he made a nice move inside and had to wait a few second before the ball trickled into the hoop as Frankfurt led 53-51.Frankfurt then made a few stops on defense, but were unable to capitalize on offense keeping FC Bayern in the game and giving them more valuable opportunities to score. FC Bayern Munich remained calm on offense and waited for the right chance and experienced Steffen Hamann who lives and dies with his penetration scored a big lay up with his left hand as the score was 53-53. Leuer then scored on another jumper as Frankfurt led 55-53. However Chevon Troutman who might only be a Chevy, but plays like a corvette was able to wiggle between three Skyliners steal an offensive board and some how make a put back as the score was 55-55. After a poor shot selection form Davidson, it was time for Je Kel Mr money ball Foster to do his thing as he hit a big clutch shot to give FC Bayern Munich the 58-55 lead. “Foster is the guy you want to make the big shots. He helped us get the win”, said Alexsandar Nadjefji. Leuer continued his own personal scoring frenzy making aturn around shot as FC Bayern still led 58-57. Frankfurt then were unable to use to opportunites to take the lead as Benzing missed two free throws and Foster got the offensive board and Foster missed another tow free throws and Jagla got the offensive rebound. “Foster came out of the pack with the ball like a running break breaking tackles”, joked Darius Hall. With 0,4 seconds Quantez Robertson attemped one last shot that went over the back board. “We really needed this win. I think that we showed more determination and wanted to win more at the end. We have lost a few close games this season and we showed with this win that we can play under pressure which was a learning experience”, stated Je Kel Foster.
FC Bayern Munich was led by Je Kel Foster with 12 points and five rebounds. Philipp Schwethelm produced 11 points and five rebounds. Chevon Troutman contributed 10 points and five rebounds. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jimmy Mckinney with 16 points and seven rebounds. Michael Thompson added 14 points, five rebounds and three assists. Jon Leuer chipped in with 12 points and ten rebounds. The Fraport Skyliners shot a respectable 47% from the field, won the rebounding duel 37-36, allowed no fast break points and had only 10 turnovers, but there are still things that the team can improve on. “We played very aggressive defense, kept the turnovers down and defended the fast break well, but we still can still attack the basket more. It is getting better, but we can still do more”, added Danilo Barthel. Last season French player Fabian Fond played for the Fraport Skyliners PRO B team and was at the game watching his old friends. He saw one big difficency in the Frankfurt game. “With Pascal Roller gone a real chief on the court is missing. All players are doing a good job, but a real chief is missing. Frankfurt has to stay positive and start winning. I think Mckinney can take even more responsibility in the scoring department”, stressed Fabian Fond. Perhaps Mckinney can do even more scoring in 48 hours when the Fraport Skyliners return to Eurocup play against ACB team Gran Canaria.