Despite the Fraport Skyliners having had three new strenuous challenges in the last week, the club was able to master each one in a manner as if what they did was the most self evident. It started 10 days ago as they were finally back in the cup format with the chance of advancing to the top 4 for the first time since 2011 in Bamberg, but had a difficult task to get there as they were facing the defending cup champions EWE Baskets Oldenburg in a do or die game, but they were playing in their own living room as they dominated the 2009 Beko BBL champion as ex Seton hall guard Jordan Theodore led the team to victory despite having a thinner rotation without German national player Danilo Barthel and Konstantin Klein. Three days later they played against probably their strongest opponent in the Europe Cup play with Royal Hali Gaziantep, but destroyed them 91-79 as they were once again without the two Germans, but also without Aaron Doornekamp and were led by Canadian rookie Philip Scrubb who poured home 26 points and held the ex NBA trio of Rautins, Williams and Stone combined to 31 points as once again they showed total team basketball and unselfishness something which continues not to be self evident in today´s game. Then four days ago against medi Bayreuth and again without the two key Germans, they showed some serious moral sticking together and when being down 18 points never gave up and this time the hero was the team, but crunch time hero was freak athlete Quantez Robertson who nailed a three pointer, made a steal and two handed dunk within 30 seconds to seal the team´s 10th win in a row. With so much basketball heroics happening in a short span of time, the question was could they do it again short handed in a totally meaningless game on the road for both teams as Frankfurt had qualified for the next round and Rosa Radom was out? The Fraport Skyliners had trounced Rosa Radom in the first game 91-61 as they had had five guys in double figures and were led by Jordan Theodore and Danilo Barthel with 16 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners arrived in Poland with a 10 game winning streak and amazing 11-0 record in Europe Cup play, but without head coach Gordon Herbert who stayed in Frankfurt citing back problems as well as Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp who had back problems and Johannes Voigtmann who had the flu. The Fraport Skyliners had a very thin rotation, but very hungry players that were looking to make an impact and did as the Fraport Skyliners remained unbeaten in Europe Cup play and go into the round of 16 with a perfect 12-0 record after disposing of Rosa Radom in Poland 75-58 winning their 11th game in a row. Especially Canadian Philip Scrubb continues to shine as he had the hot hand registering 19 points as his input was vital for the team. “It was a tough game all around. We struggled in the first half to find what we were going to do to beat this team. We have a lot of guys out and we had to adjust to playing with a different lineup. I think the second half was a lot better. We decided to play Skyliner basketball and you saw the results”, stressed ex Seton Hall point guard Jordan Theodore. “They played a better second half than us and hit some big 3s the key was those big 3s and they drew a lot of fouls”, stated Rosa Radom guard Torey Thomas.
Rosa Radom entered the game with a 1-4 record in Europe Cup and coming off a big 81-77 victory against Swedish team Sodertalje and had nothing to do, but to play for pride, while the Fraport Skyliners had a depleted line up and it showed early on as they let the Polish team Rosa Radom sneak out on a quick 9-3 lead as ex Anwil Wloclawek (TBL) forward Michal Sokolowski scored inside and ex Ludwigsburg guard CJ Harris stroked home a bomb from down town and made a steal and finished on transition with a hard one handed dunk, while Fraport Skyliner baby twin tower Johannes Richter made a 20 footer on the high pick and roll courtesy of a Jordan Theodore pass. 35 year old ex PGE Turow Zgorzelec forward Robert Witka made a lay in and he was fed perfectly from Sokolowski as Rosa Radom was controlling the paint area early on. The Frankfurt offense was sputtering, but without a Doornekamp or Vogtmann one could understand why and Frankfurt got an important step back trey from Quantez Robertson to cut the Rosa Radom lead to 9-6. Rosa Radom continued to pound the ball inside as 26 year old 210cm center and ex Azovmash Mariupol (Superleague) Igor Zaytsev scored inside and made the and one for the 12-6 advantage for Rosa Radom. Head coach for the day Klaus Perwas then inserted rookie Philip Scrubb and like he has shown against Royal Hali Gaziantep last week came in and gave the team energy leading it on a spirited 10-0 run as Frankfurt led 16-12. In the run, Scrubb started with a three pointer, Lithuanian Tomas Dimsa tipped home an alley-oop pass from Theodore who then scored inside and ex Ludwigsburg guard Stefan Ilzhoefer nailed a three pointer. Frankfurt couldn´t keep the run going until the end as Rosa Radom closed out the first frame with a mini 4-0 run as 21 year old Daniel Szymkiewicz scored inside and ex Holy Cross guard Torey Thomas had a few seconds left and went coast to coast for the buzzer beater lay in and the contest was dead locked at 16-16 after 10 minutes. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 35% from the field and 38% from outside while Rosa Radom was shooting 41% from the field and 14% from outside. Frankfurt had the 13-8 rebound edge, but four turnovers while the Polish club had only three turnovers. Another eýe opening stats was the points in the paint which Rosa Radom led 10-4 while Frankfurt had 8-2 bench points.
The second quarter remained very tight as there were six lead changes and no team could break away as the Fraport Skyliners had the slim 37-36 lead at the break. The lead went back and forth and North Carolina native and ex Wake Forest (NCAA) guard CJ Harris who was depended on from his team dearly was clutch early on making a few baskets, but so was Philip Scrubb who teams still haven´t learned that you can´t keep him open ever as he nailed an open trey. Ex Arkansas St. (NCAA) forward Kim Adams hauled down the perfect lob pass from Witka tying the game at 22-22. Then it was Harris again being Mr money ball making a floater and free throw for the 25-22 lead. With Jordan Theodore having concentrated on dishing more in the first half, the Fraport Skyliners needed that offensive go to guy to crystalize and did with ex Auburn guard Quantez Robertson that would find the hot hand early dropping a step back three pointer knotting the game at 25-25. In this phase Rosa Radon had found a more unlikely go to guy with Daniel Szymkiewicz who despite was averaging 10,8ppg in Europe cup play wasn´t a Harris or Thomas who one might have expected to step up. The Polish guard made two buckets for the 30-27 advantage and then it was Robertson again hitting another three pointer as he was the guy that Theodore was finding time in and time out as the game was dead locked at 30-30. Then it was Scrubb who made a steal and set up Robertson for the hard one handed slam dunk and then connected on a three pointer as it was Theodore once again dishing and finding the open guy as Frankfurt led 35-32. Then it was a Polish player again and not American with Zaystev that supplied instant production as he scored twice giving the lead back to Rosa Radom 36-35. Frankfurt got to the line twice more with Robertson and Morrison hitting only one of two free throws, but giving Frankfurt the 37-36 advantage at halftime. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 38% from the field and 47% from the three point line while Rosa Radom was shooting 45% from the field and 14% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 19-18 rebound edge and both teams had seven rebounds a piece. Rosa Radom continued to eat up Frankfurt in the paint with the 24-6 edge.
In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners continued to have the lead and not give it up and just took control of the game as they were simply the more consistent offensive team. One of the big strength of the Fraport Skyliners is their aggressive defense igniting their offense and getting out on transition. In the first minute Johannes Richter did like a guard got in the passing route and went coast to coast for the lay in, Robertson nailed another trey and Theodore hit free throws as the 7-1 Frankfurt run had lifted their lead to 44-37. Basketball is a game of runs no matter what and sometimes teams just trade them back and forth as now it was Rosa Radom going on a 6-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 46-43. In the run, Rosa Radom got solid support from Harris with a pull up jumper, a Sokolowski lay in and a runner from Lukasz Bonarek. Frankfurt finally got the first field goal from Mike Morrison who rammed home a two handed dunk courtesy of a Theodore feed letting out his total frustration as the big man finished 1/7 from the field and 2/10 from the free throw line, but had three blocks. Whenever Rosa Radom was pressing it was either Robertson or Scrubb who supplied the hot hand as both nailed trey´s keeping the Polish team at bay. After Bonarek scored again to cut the Frankfurt lead to 52-48, the Fraport Skyliners closed out the third quarter on a 8-3 run to lead 60-51 after 30 minutes. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners were aided by Robertson free throws and continued brilliant shooting from outside as Dimsa and Scrubb hit again. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and 48% from the parking lot while Rosa Radom was shooting 4% from the field and 10% from the parking lot. Frankfurt was leading the rebound duel 32-24, but had 11 turnovers while Rosa Radom had 8 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, both teams refrained from having shooting accuracy as the Fraport Skyliners shut the door on the Europe Cup season of Rosa Radom holding them to seven points while they mustered home 15 points. Harris cut the Frankfurt lead to 60-54 with a three pointer, but that was as close as they would get. Frankfurt then executed well on offense as they got solid support from the German kids Richter and Ilzhoefer to extend the Frankfurt lead to 65-54. After noticing early on that he wouldn´t have to score so much, ex Seton hall guard Jordan Theodore did what a point guard is supposed to and dished most of the evening, but in the fourth quarter turned on his scoring power button nailing two more three pointers from the parking lot and deciding the game with three minutes to play as Frankfurt had the very comfortable 73-57 advantage. “For me it was just a typical night at the office. I forced some shots early in the 1st quarter. Then I settled down and was able to make plays for my guys. I’m able to get whatever I want on the floor and when I’m getting in the lane and getting my shooters open looks, That makes us an even better team”, added Jordan Theodore. Perwas inserted German Tim Oldenburg with a few minutes to play and the German played his third Fiba Europe Cup game of the season. Philip Scrubb closed out the game with two free throws as the Fraport Skyliners reached the round of 16 and now will battle Cyprus team Petrolina AEK Larnaca. Once again the trusty staple of the Fraport Skyliners was defense that got them the win. “Defense! Defense! Defense! And in the second half we just moved the ball and played together. We’re a really great team when the ball is moving and were playing together”, stressed Engelwood, New Jersey native Jordan Theodore. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 20 points. Philip Scrubb supplied 19 points while Jordan Theodore had 15 points and 12 assists. Rosa Radom was led by CJ Harris with 15 points while Ihor Zaytsev added 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 41% from the field and 50% from outside while Rosa Radom shot 38% from the field and 11% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound duel 43-31, but had 16 turnovers while Rosa Radom has 12 turnovers. Rosa Radom dominated the points in the paint 38-12, but were eaten up from the three point line. Frankfurt also won the bench points 29-18. Rosa Radom guard saw Frankfurt is twice and is confident that there is only one route for them and that is title. “I believe Frankfurt is one of the favorites in the round of 16. They have an all-around team. They share the ball well and play good defense”, warned ex Holy Cross guard Torey Thomas. “I’m very proud of this team. Our biggest strength is how unselfish guys are. It doesn’t matter who takes the shots or who’s scoring the most. We all have one goal and that’s to win”, warned Jordan Theodore. The Fraport Skyliners now have 2 weeks to get ready for their next opponent Petrolina AEK Larnaca.