There are numerous exciting aspects that happen during basketball games like a crushing Larry Gordon dunk, a twisting cross over from Demond Mallett or a sweet catch and pop jumper from the Bremerhaven polar bear cage by Jacob Burtschi, but one thing that can´t ever be avoided is when ex teammates jostle again on the court. Back in the 2007-2008 season, it was the last time Alba Berlin won the German championship, Robin Benzing was a 18 year old kid with huge potential playing for TV Langen and dreaming of the Beko BBL and Quantez Robertson(Auburn) was still tangling with friend MarK Dorris(Marshall) on the play ground courts during the summer and displaying their dunking talent. In the 2007-2008 season, also showed two Americans Dawan Robinson(Fraport Skyliners) and Jared Homan(FC Bayern Munich) pursuing the same goal with ASCO Slask Wroclaw (Poland-DBE) trying to win as many games and at the same time develop their game more as they had been playing as professionals only a few years. Robinson had a very solid season for the Polish squad playing ULEB Cup: 12 games: 13.1ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.8apg, 1.8spg, 2FGP: 51.5%, 3FGP: 31.8%, FT: 78.3%; Polish League: 34 games: 11.6ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.6apg, 1.6spg, 2FGP: 45.6%, 3PT: 27.1%, FT: 73.9%. His teammate Jared Homan also had a solid season playing Polish League: 28 games: 12.1ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.1apg, Blocks-2(1.1bpg), 2FGP: 45.8%, FT: 62.0%; ULEB Cup: 12 games: 11.0ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.0spg, 1.3bpg, 2FGP: 47.2%, 3FGP: 0%, FT: 45.7%. Both guys were key figures for their team and five years later they duel in a span of a little more than one month for a second time. Both players got further experience in the last years playing in countries like Italy, Croatia, Greece and in the D-league. In the first encounter in Frankfurt, FC Bayern was able to defeat the Fraport Skyliners 73-59 as Frankfurt played a solid game, but the Bavarian team was simply a class better. Homan finished with nine points and grabbed four rebounds while Dwan Robinson had six points and two assists. It was the second meeting between the two Americans and Robinson was highly motivated and sought revenge, but he lost for the second time to his ex teammate Jared Homan 79-72 registering 12 points, to rebounds and two assists while Homan produced 16 points and five rebounds. Ex LTi Giessen 46er Jeffrey Bonds who played five games earlier in the season for the Hessen club who is practicing with FC Bayern Munich looking for a new team enjoyed the game and could relate to ex teammates squaring off again. “ When two ex teammates like Robinson and Homan play against each other it is always very competitive and each guy always wants the upperhand. Both guys have mutual respect, but you always wants to win. Homan now has bragging rights”, smiled Jeffery Bonds.
The Fraport Skyliners were looking to break their two game losing streak and climb from their 15th position and came into the Audi dome in Munich very motivated without head coach Muli Katzurin who was in Israel on account of the death of his father. The Fraport Skyliners looked like reborn from their less than satisfactory effort against the Artland Dragons and played wonder team basketball for the first three quarters, but were unable to complete it for 40 minutes falling apart in the fourth quarter letting FC Munich back into the game from 12 down and give them their seventh win in a row in their living room. “We didn´t hit our shots in the fourth quarter after hitting well in the first three quarters. I feel that their coach Pesic influenced the refs a bit. We played well on offense, but had some misfortune on defense at the end. We got tired in the fourth quarter. Our captain Marius Nolte was sick and that hurt us under the boards”, reflected Fraport Skyliner guard Konstantin Klein. For FC Bayern Munich, they continue to roll with new head coach Svetislav Pesic winning their second game in a row after a satisfying 76-70 win over the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig three days ago. The club had played without Americans Tyrese Rice and Brandon Thomas the last two games and didn´t seem to miss them. FC Bayern Munich now is 8-2 under new head coach Pesic and showed a lot of courage and fighting spirit rallying from 12 points down to come back in the fourth quarter for the win. “This was a great energy performance from us. I think that the Steffen Hamann lay up and steal to start the third quarter changed the game. It was a very tough game for us. Frankfurt played great and were well coached. We had a sick coach and two sick players, but we still needed to win this game and the club pulled through. It wasn´t a pretty win, but more exciting for the fans and just a well fought win from us”, stressed FC Bayern Munich youth coordinator Volker Stix.
In the last week, there had been much happening with the Fraport Skyliners with the departure of American Ted Scott, the arrival of two LTi Giessen 46er players Americans Ryan Brooks and Laquan Prowell, the death of Muli katzurin´s father as assistant coach Klaus Perwass had to step in as head coach for the game and the quiet departure of Dion Dowell who didn´t make the trip. Nobody was really sure how the Fraport Skyliners would react to all the hoopla and how the two new players would play, but all in all the team looked very much different than last weekend against the Artland Dragons. The two new players Ryan Brooks and Laquan Prowell played as if they had already been with the club for months. Both averaged 27 points combined for Giessen and tonight combined for 21 points and gave the Fraport Skyliners a huge boost on the offensive and defensive end. “Both of them were integrated. This showed how professional they are and how they can adapt to a different situation quickly. They always play hard won or loose and I should know since I played with them this season”, added Jeffery Bonds. Fraport Sklyiner rookie Konstantin Klein had only high regard to the attitude of Brooks and Prowell. “They are very well integrated. None of them forced anything, but just did what they could. Brooks played very strong defense. I am so happy that we have a real team now and we can build on this. We have a much stronger team than before”, warned Konstantin Klein. Ryan Brooks who had a long chat after the game with his agent Patrick King not only played focused on the court, but also spoke as if he still wanted to accomplish a lot with the Fraport Skyliners this season. “It felt good today. I competed hard and had fun. I thought that we could win. We hit shots, played good defense and if we could of hit a few more shots could of won. I think that with this team, I can show so much more than just my scoring ability. We have a Peacock who cans core and a great defender in Tez. My aggressive play on offense opens up the court for other players. I have to continue to defend well. The staple of the Skyliners is defense and my athletic ability can only help there”, warned ex Temple player Ryan Brooks.
FC Bayern Munich got on the scoreboard first with a nice pick and roll play as Steffen Hamann found Jared Homan for easy points. Quantez Robertson then tested his 29% three point shooting with a three point bomb and the 3-2 Frankfurt lead. FC Bayern Munich then slowly glided away from the Fraport Skyliners with a 6-0 run scoring inside three times with a Robin Benzing lay up, Hamann lay up and Chevon Troutman lay up. Frankfurt didn´t sink their heads, but matched the intensity of FC Bayern Munich going on a 5-0 run to knot the game at 8-8. Dawan Robinson penetrated by Homan for an easy bucket and Robertson dropped his second three pointer of the night. Benzing then nailed a three pointer for the 11-8 advantage. The runs kept happening as the Fraport Skyliners regained the lead with a 6-0 run and wouldn´t lose it until late in the fourth quarter. Prowell made a dunk and Robertson and Gibson followed with easy buckets inside and the 14-11 lead. Prowell then tested his league leading 52% from the parking lot with a three pointer and Robinson scored again inside as the Fraport Skyliners led 19-16 after one quarter. “Frankfurt found a good rhythm on offense quickly. They were shooting well from outside while Munich was only 1/5 form outside. Frankfurt was defending very well and playing well against the Munich high low trying not to get wrapped up in the mismatches. Brooks and Prowell were integrated quickly”, stressed basketball expert Steven Clauss. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 60% from outside while FC Bayern Munich was shooting 44% from the field and 20% from outside. Munich had the 9-8 rebound edge and two turnovers while Frankfurt had one turnover.
In the Second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners remained having the lead, but FC Bayern Munich stayed on their heels until the visitors could slowly pull away at the end of the second quarter. Konstantin Klein played only four minutes getting three fats fouls, but continued to show his self confidence not hesitating to release shots hitting a three pointer for the 22-16 lead. FC Bayern Munich continued to make use of their height and body advantage by pounding the ball inside as ex Memphis Grizzlies Lawrence Roberts scored and three time NCAA Sweet 16 with Pittsburgh participant Chevon Troutman hit a reverse layup as FC Bayern Munich trailed 23-20. However whenever Munich threatened to retake the lead, it was the consistent offense of Frankfurt that really was working as Peacock hit free throws and Robinson made a mid distance shot for the 27-20 lead. Troutman continued to be a menace hitting shots and drawing fouls as he made five points cutting the Frankfurt lead to 29-27. The Fraport Skyliners now with the help of a Munich technical foul make a run to close out the second quarter with a 11-4 jaunt and lead at halftime 40-31. It was the ex Giessen 46ers making the damage as peacock hit free throws, scored inside as well as a mid distance shot and Brooks made a slam dunk as Tez found him as the trailer. With a second to go Hamann made a slick ally-op pass to Troutman for the last points of the second quarter. “The Frankfurt defense continued to be excellent. Keeping Munich to 31 points is a great effort. Frankfurt continued to paly calm on offense and hit their shots. They were simply playing their game”, added Steven Clauss. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 38% from the field and 40% from the three point line while FC Bayern Munich was shooting 46% from the field and only 11% from the three point line. Frankfurt was leading the rebound duel 20-16 and had only four turnovers while Munich had six turnovers.
Despite a lightening 4-0 run by FC Bayern Munich to start the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners were still able to control the game and lead comfortably heading into the fourth quarter. Hamann who played at Bamberg from 1997-2008 and learned many tricks form Dirk Bauermann and lives off his fierce defense and almost unstoppable drive to the hoop started with a lay in and then made a steal at the center line and fed Benzing for a dunk as FC Bayern Munich trailed only 40-35. Hamann that despite coming from the bench for Tyrese Rice this season, has really stepped up in the last two games and is still a very feared point guard in the Beko BBL with 31 years of age. “Hamann led the team like a captain should. I always knew that he could flourish in a situation like this. These are the kinds of games where he is most highly concentrated. I saw enough of it when he played at Bamberg”, stressed ex Bamberg assistant coach Volker Stix. “ Hamann did a good job to turn game around. He made his lay ups and hustled on defense”, stressed Konstantin Klein. Brooks then connected for a three pointer and Hamann once again used that quick first step sneaking by Robinson for a quick bucket as Frankfurt still led 43-37. Frankfurt then may have played their three best consecutive offense and defense plays getting three straight steals two from Robertson and one by Peacock that led to easy points. Robinson, Peacock and Prowell all benefited from the quick change from defense to offense with lay ups. Frankfurt continued to play for revenge after the loss in Frankfurt at the end of December leading 49-37. Despite the continued hard play by Hamann who scored free throws and an off balance shot to cut the lead to 49-41, Frankfurt continued to run their plays and hit shots. Frankfurt went on a 7-2 run to lead 56-43 very much in control of the game as Prowell hit a jumper, Robinson a step back jumper and Tez snuck in the lane for an easy bucket. Danilo Barthel and and Troutman traded baskets at the end of the third quarter and the Fraport Skyliners still led 59-47. “FC Bayern Munich continued to be unable to break the Skyliners rhythm. Frankfurt continued to defend well keeping Munich to 2/13 from outside. The Frankfurt offense continued to play calm and hit their shots”, added Steven Clauss. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 42% from the field and 35% from the parking lot while FC Bayern Munich was shooting 43% from the field and only 15% from the parking lot. Munich had the rebound edge 28-26, but 13 turnovers while Frankfurt had eight turnovers.
It was no secret that keeping up this performance for 40 minutes wouldn´t be easy for the Fraport Skyliners and FC Bayern Munich got stronger and started to make a comeback. Brooks started the fourth quarter with a free throw, but FC Bayern Munich made a bang with a 6-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 60-53. Troutman continued to get to the line making four free throws and Homan hit a mid distance jumper. FC Bayern Munich never quit and slowly realized that Frankfurt was getting tired and upped the intensity. After a Troutman lay in, it was Brooks who made a lay in and free throw and Frankfurt still had a nice 65-55 advantage. FC Bayern Munich went to work showing how dangerous they can be even when they have been behind for most of the game surprising Frankfurt with a 12-2 run to tie the game at 67-67. All Germans contributed to the 12 points as Hamann made a seemingly impossible off balance shot with a tough angle, Demond Greene who ahd been fairly quiet on offense now poured it on with a lay in, Benzing made a running hook shot and Greene a three pointer to tie the game. Benzing then connected on three free throws giving FC Bayern Munich the lead which they would never lose again. “Benzing hit big free throws and took care of the mismatches. He is a big three man. Even if his shot wasn´t falling in the first half, he stayed mentally focused and connected at the end”, expressed Jeffery Bonds. Homann then made a dunk as he was fed with a bullet pass from Benzing as Frankfurt trailed 74-69. Peacock then missed two consecutive free throws. Benzing and Troutman made free throws sealing the victory for FC Bayern Munich as they closed out the game with a back breaking 24-7 run. “Frankfurt seemed tired in the fourth quarter. Munich went inside, hit their shots and the crowd got loud. Munich increased intensity on defense holding Frankfurt to one shot and Frankfurt let up 32 points in the last quarter. They got over the penalty early and might have been a bit more timid on defense”, added Jeffery Bonds. “This game got away from us. We are happy with the effort. We need to continue to fight and play hard”, warned Ryan Brooks.
FC Bayern Munich was led by Chevon Troutman with 26 points and nine rebounds. Jared Homan added 16 points. Steffen hamann produced 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds and Robin Benzing added 13 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Zach Peacock with 16 points. Quantez Robertson had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Dawan Robinson added 12 points. Ryan Brooks scored 11 points and Laquan Prowell 10 points. After shooting very well for three quarters, the Fraport Skyliners ended up with poor shooting stats with 38% from the field and 20% from the three point line while FC Bayern Munich ended with 50% from the field and 20% from the three point line. Munich ended up winning the rebound battle39-31. FC Bayern Munich had 15 turnovers and Frankfurt 13 turnovers. Despite the loss, it was a well team effort by the club with a new spark on offense and as always solid defense. It was not difficult to see what the biggest strength was of the team. “We played as a team tonight. We were in the huddle more than usual and played more as a team than in other games”, warned Konstantin Klein. “Frankfurt did a good job controlling the tempo of the game”, added Jeffery Bonds. Now the Fraport Skyliners have three games in a row against beatable opponents BBC Bayreuth, New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig and the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. Wins will need to come in order not to sink further into the cellar swamp.