With a long summer with no BBL basketball upon us where some days seemed longer and duller than a half hour doctor´s appointment, the last meeting between ratiopharm ulm and the Fraport Skyliners seemingly is like an eternity for some. However the game four loss in Ulm was only a little more than four months ago while the last win for Frankfurt against ratiopharm Ulm in game one at home was almost five months ago. For some peculiar reasons, the Fraport Skyliners enter their first meeting in the Fraport arena in the 2016-2017 season with a unique parallel with their game one meeting with ratiopharm Ulm in last seasons playoffs. In the 2015-2016 playoffs, the Fraport Skyliners entered the semi-finals of the playoffs against ratiopharm Ulm with unending confidence as they rudely kicked out 8 time BBL champion Alba Berlin with the good old broom sweeping them leaving Serbian basketball legend and three time European champion Sasa Obradovic with a sour taste and paving the way for the end of his coaching reign in Berlin. However against ratiopharm Ulm, the Fraport Skyliners were also rudely awaited by their opponent as they didn´t expect the hard edge competition that German national player Per Guenther and co gave them. Many say that had Frankfurt won game one, they might have reached the final, but instead they were outplayed in overtime and Per Guenther scorched them with two three pointers paving the road to the final. Today the Fraport Skyliners welcomed ratiopharm Ulm on a high with immense self-confidence as after a lack luster 0-2 start finally found a bit too their game building a three game winning streak disposing of Bremerhaven, Alba Berlin again and the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg 48 hours ago. Ratiopharm Ulm also arrived in the living room of the Fraport Skyliners with a 4-0 season start, but remembered a disappointing 95-58 loss in Valencia in their first Eurocup game this week, but then again had a Per Guenther who also remembered the damage he did in the playoffs last season. The Fraport Skyliners didn´t celebrate a happy end in their own living room this time as they lost for the fourth time in the last five games against ratiophram Ulm and had their chances, but overall were unable to execute properly down the stretch and had their problems on the boards. After the loss a dejected Quantez Robertson had little revenge thoughts on his mind and couldn´t even sneak a smile about the possibility of visiting the famous Monte Carlo Casino in the next days before their Champions League game against Monaco. “I had last seasons playoff loss to Ulm pretty much out of my mind. It´s a new season with a new group of guys. I may have had more thoughts about that playoff loss had we had the same guys from last season back again this season. I know the outcome would definitely been different. I won´t see a casino. I will get rest so we will be ready to execute our game plan against Monaco”, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Quantez Robertson. It wasn´t the best offensive game of ratiopharm Ulm as Frankfurt kept them to 19 points under their season average, but defensively they made steps as they kept Frankfurt well under their season average of 89 points. “This was a grind out game. We didn´t really execute the way we wanted to on offense and defense and how we did in the first four games. I feel we rebounded well, but had too many turnovers. I felt that we did a good job fighting and sticking together through tough phases”, stressed ratiopharm Ulm guard Braydon Hobbs. “We didn´t communicate well on defense and didn´t rebound the ball well either. I thought that Mahir Agva was a big spark off the bench. He played an all around good game”, added ex Auburn(NCAA) guard Quantez Robertson.
Both teams found to their offense qualities quickly in the first quarter as they came out firing, but ratiopharm, Ulm had the better start as the Fraport Skyliners needed a little time before they got going. Ratiopharm Ulm got off to a quick 7-2 lead as ex Michigan forward Raymar Morgan did what he does best which is cause havoc inside as he scored twice and Miami Heat draft pick Da Sean Butler nailed a trey. Frankfurt retaliated quickly as Max Merz got his second early bucket, rookie Shavon Shields hit inside as like Morgan is nearly unstoppable and Florida native Mike Morrison connected on a free throw to tie the game 7-7. At the 5.20 mark, new Skyliner Kwame Vaughn strutted on to the court and created his own magic nailing a trey giving Frankfurt their first lead at 10-9. The ex Asvel guardf finished with nine points, six assists, one steal and block in 27 minutes, but wasn´t happy with his own performance. “I didn´t play well, but we have a great team. The level in the BBL is higher than in France. I am happy here and will help improve the team and my game”, added Kwame Vaughn. Frankfurt was able to keep the lead as their young kids did damage as ex Tuebingen center Mahir Agva got active scoring twice and 16 year Isaac Bonga also got in the lane and scored giving Frankfurt the 16-13 advantage. However when you play against a potent offensive team like ratiopharm Ulm, one can never take off a defensive possession as the guests sneaked in a 8-0 run as ex Boston Celtic Chris Babb nailed a trey and ex Houston Rocket Tim Ohlbrecht scored inside and ex Kansas State swing man Dominique Sutton dropped a three pointer as the 2016 BBL finalist led 21-18. If his last second buzzer beater heroics hadn´t been enough 43 hours earlier, Antonio Graves did it again burying a last second trey to depart the first quarter dead locked with Ulm 21-21. “Both teams were fighting and playing at a high intensity. Both teams made mistakes and got easy baskets. Ulm did miss some easy chances, but it is never easy playing in this arena”, stressed s.Oliver Wurzburg assistant coach Stephan Voelkl. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 60% from the field and 67% from outside while ratiopharm Ulm was shooting 38% from the field and 27% from outside. Ratiopharm Ulm had the overwhelming 13-6 rebound edge, but two turnovers while Frankfurt had one turnover.
Both clubs continued to grind it out in the second quarter as no team could fully escape the other. ratiopharm Ulm had some opportunities extending their lead to 5-6 points, but Frankfurt always retaliated. Ratiopharm Ulm went on a quick 5-0 run extending their lead to 26-21 as ex Bamberg guard Karsten Tadda nailed a trey and Ohlbrecht hit free throws as they took advantage of Frankfurt botching their first two offensive possessions. However the Fraport Skyliners found some day light tying the game at 26-26 as Morrison made a tap in and Shields got by Morgan with an easy lay in. ratiopharm Ulm continued to take advantage of Frankfurt mistakes going on another 5-0 run as Sutton made a hard dunk and Butler nailed a trey as Frankfurt trailed 33-26. Frankfurt continued to display their immaculate come back ways as Robertson hit a jumper and Ohio native Graves hit a high rainbow keeping Frankfurt close 33-32. Despite Shields keeping Frankfurt in the game with timely lay ins, Morgan was able to keep ratiopharm Ulm in front with a lay in to keep the 36-35 lead. Morgan continued to be aggressive in the paint drawing two more fouls, but missed twice, but ratiopharm Ulm still led 39-35 at the break. “The game remained close mainly because it was a hard fought game. Shields was playing very well and is easily one of the best rookies this season”, stressed Stephan Voelkl. Rtaiopharm Ulm was shooting 38% from the field and 28% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 48% from the field and 38% from the three point line. Ratiopharm had the 22-14 rebound edge and five turnovers while Frankfurt had seven turnovers.
The third quarter remained very tight, but ratiopharm Ulm continued to have the lead while Mahir Agva came alive taking over and becoming the work horse as he gave the word scoring in bunches a new meaning as he nailed eight consecutive points to keep Frankfurt close. Shields got Frankfurt on the board first with a runner. When the ex Nebraska(NCAA) forward is at work, he makes it look so easy as he continues to hit very tough shots. American Taylor Braun made a hard dunk and Robertson then shot over Braun as Frankfurt continued to be on the heel of Ulm trailing 41-40. Ohlbrecht then executed the perfect pick and roll with Hobbs as ratiopharm Ulm led 44-40. Frankfurt just continued to chip away as Robertson free throws and an Agva tip in tied the game at 44-44. Then came an offensive lighting strike of ratiophram Ulm as the NBA connection of Butler and Babb nailed back to back three pointers as ratiopharm Ulm got away for the 50-44 lead. After an Ohlbrecht step back jumper to give ratiopharm Ulm the 53-44 lead, it was time for the Mahir Agva show his ability as he scored six unanswered points as Frankfurt trailed only 53-51. However Sutton put the exclamation mark on the third quarter grabbing a rebound and finishing with a put back as ratiopharm Ulm led 55-51. “Ulm is a good offensive minded team and ran their sets well. They hit their shots and got to the free throw line. They also got some loose balls that led to easy baskets”, said Quantez Robertson. “The 7-0 run helped us, but Agva kept them in the game. He played well and has a good touch around the basket. When he catches the ball in the paint, he is hard to defend”, stressed ex Giessen 46er Braydon Hobbs. Ratiopharm Ulm was shooting 40% from the field and 28% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and 40% from the parking lot. Ratiopharm Ulm continued to control the boards 31-22 and both teams had nine turnovers a piece.
A poor start by the Fraport Skyliners in the fourth quarter put ratiopharm Ulm into the driver´s seat getting the lead into double figures and the early five team fouls also aided the guests in securing the lead and moving to 5-0. Ratiopharm Ulm was able to extend their lead to 60-51 going on a 5-0 run and taking advantage of Frankfurt´s first five possessions being stopped as Butler nailed a three and Morgan hit a step back. Robertson finally got Frankfurt´s first points with a pull up jumper, but ratiopharm Ulm continued to execute well as Babb made a catch and pop jumper and Sutton hit free throws extending the ratiopharm Ulm lead to 66-55. However the Fraport Skyliners never give up and continued to claw back as Morrison rammed home a hard two handed dunk and lay in cutting the ratiopharm ulm lead to 68-61. The guests took advantage of the Frankfurt five team fouls, but Frankfurt continued to fight cutting the Ulm lead to 69-64 with a Robertson trey. Ex N.Dakota St. (NCAA) guard Taylor Braun then made a tough and daring runner that he hit off the top of the glass something that definitely needed a special dose of precision as Frankfurt trailed 72-65. Morrison then like on Friday in crunch time against Ludwigsburg hit two clutch free throws. Then Vaughn made a huge play stripping German national player Per Guenther of the ball near his own basket and scoring cutting the ratiopharm Ulm lead to only 72-69 with 1.11 minutes to go. “I usually get steals in the front court, but not in the back court. I gambled and got lucky”, stressed Kwame Vaughn. Then it was Guenther who had been quiet all afternoon long in the scoring department who instead of hurting Frankfurt with his outside bomb snuck inside making a cute fingertip roll as no one could combat his quickness as Frankfurt trailed 74-69. In the last minute, Frankfurt got buckets form Morrison and Vaughn, but ratiopharm Ulm made it´s free throws as Butler, Guenther and Morgan executed ending the game. “We luckily hit our free throws at the end. We didn´t execute well as Frankfurt defended well and made us do things we didn´t want to. We knew that Shields and Graves were their go to guys so we limited their touches. Butler, Morgan and Sutton did a good job on them”, stressed ex Nurnberg guard Braydon Hobbs. “We didn´t execute well down the stretch. Ulm didn´t give us any easy shots”, added Quantez Robertson. Ratiopharm Ulm was led by Raymar Morgan with 17 points. Tim Ohlbrecht and Da Sean Butler added 14 points a piece. Chris Babb contributed 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Mahir Agva with 15 points. Mike Morrison added 13 points and Shavon Shields added 12 points and 11 boards while Quantez Robertson also had 12 points. Ratiopharm Ulm shot 41% from the field and 29% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 44% from the field and 29% from outside. Ratiopharm Ulm won the rebound duel 41-33 had both teams had 13 turnovers a piece.