Aaron Nelson Leads The Dragons Rhondorf Past The Uni-Riesen Leipzig 86-76

In the past years the Dragons Rohndorf have had some very tight games in the Pro B against the Giants Nordlingen and Hebeisen White Wings Hanau, but in two contests, the Dragons lost by one point in two exciting and tight affairs and in both games American Cardell Mcfarland was instruemental for leading his teams past the Dragons Rhondorf. Back in the 2013-2014 season, Mcfarland who was playing his second professional season after playing in Romania was tearing up the German pro B that led him to being second in scoring and assists after the season. Against Rhondorf, Mcfarland steered the Giants Nordlingen past Rhondorf 73-72 as the American hammered home 26 points and in the 2014-2015 season, the last time Mcfarland visited the Dragon Dome, he helped lead Hanau to a 65-64 victory as he had 13 points. Last season Mcfarland played in England for Bristol and started this season with the Sheffield Sharks on a short term contract and moved to the Uni-Riesen Leipzig with the hope of being their season savior. “I feel like I’m just the missing piece of the team. My main goal is to lead another team in Germany into the playoffs. Show my leader ship abilities no matter what situation I’m in I can win. Obviously if we win I will be a huge part of that and individually success will come. I also want help the younger guys on the team reach they full potential and hopefully the get better from me being around”, stressed Cardell Mcfarland. Mcfarland was back in Rhondorf a little more than two years after helping Hanau beat Rhondorf and was looking to up his career record against Rhondorf to 3-1 while the Dragons Rhondorf were looking to take their momentum from the big 87-63 win against FC Bayern Munich and continue to defend with a passion and play with character and start of 2017 with a bang and did winning their second game in a row holding off the Uni-Riesen Leipzig 86-76 who lost their second game in a row. Mcfarland was unable to find to his old lethal scoring ways in the Pro B finishing with 10 points and two assists and shot 40% from the field, but teammate Terrence Billups isn´t worried about the American breaking out and finding back to his old habits. “We had a seven man rotation which was tough, but we didn´t come to terms with their zone defense. Mcfarland is good for us. He is smart, experienced and controlled. He brings the toughness and game IQ that we need. It was only his first game with us, he will do just fine”, warned Terrence Billups. The team mentality of the Dragons Rhondorf seems to be on a healthy way again and the club showed against the Uni-Riesen Leipzig that when they play together on both ends of the court, they are able to beat anyone in the Pro B. The Dragons Rhondorf as usual had a big production day from Aaron “the big dawg” Nelson, but also got quality games from Michael Lucier and Viktor-Frankl-Maus as well as solid minutes from Patrick Reus and Anton Geretzki. “We played hard and focused. In the past games where we were struggling, we were thinking too much, but tonight we played hard, had fun and made the right decisions. We knew that Mcfarland is a good player and that he could change the game. We stayed focused on him for 40 minutes and didn´t give him anything easy”, stated Canadian Michael Lucier.

The Dragons Rhondorf came out with a bang in 2017 taking a quick 9-0 lead stopping the Uni-Riesen Leipzig on their first three possessions. In the run. Rhondorf got quality production from Aaron Nelson who scored two buckets in the paint. Lucier nailed a trey and German Thomas Michel hit a pull up jumper. However this annoying run by the Dragons Rhondorf didn´t faze Leipzig in any way as they calmed down on offense and found their rhythm going on a 17-4 run to take their first lead of the game 17-13.  In the run, Leipzig was led by German 34 year old Sascha Leutloff who got aggressive scoring two buckets as well as three baskets from California native Jordan Faison. 20 year old German Jonas Niedermanner hit a trey. The Uni-Riesen Leipzig stepped up their defense forcing Rhondorf to turnovers and losing their offensive rhythm. The game continued to show why basketball´s middle name should be “it´s a game of runs” as Rhondorf stormed back to close out the first quarter with a 7-1 run to lead 20-18. In the run, Rhondorf continued to get production from Nelson, Frankl-Maus hit a three pointer and American Will Trawick scored on the fast break after 18 year Anton Geretzky blocked Billups setting up the fast break opportunity. “We started very well and made good decisions. Leipzig held back on defense a bit with their seven man rotation. I didn´t await that we would march over Leipzig until the end”, stressed Dragons Rhondorf CEO Boris Kaminski. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 47% from the field and 29% from outside while the Uni-Riesen Leipzig were shooting 43%% from the field and 40% from outside. Rhondorf had the 11-8 rebound edge, but three turnovers while Leipzig had two turnovers.

In the second quarter, the game showed it was a game of runs as the Dragons Rhondorf got a snug nine point lead, but the Uni-Riesen Leipzig fought back and cut the lead down to two points at the break. Cardell Mcfarland finally got on the board after being held scoreless in the first quarter sinking two baskets while Rhondorf got buckets from Trawick and Lucier to dead lock the contest at 24-24. The Dragons Rhondorf then took advantage of a few stagnant Leipzig possessions and let the Canadian sensation Michael Lucier go to work as he scored seven points in the run and Nelson also contributed with a lay in after retrieving a no look pass from Frankl-Maus. Lucier has been looking to find consistency this season and had another good game scoring 16 points. He had scored 18 points against BG Karlsruhe and 16 points against the Bayer Giants Leverkusen earlier in the season and knows what he has to do to have performances like this. “I have to be aggressive, catch the ball and go. I know that I have to produce more on offense. I just have to play my game and be efficient”, warned Michael Lucier. Lucier then made a tip in as the Dragons Rhondorf led 35-26. But then as if a stroke of lightening had rattled the Uni-Riesen Leipzig awake, they closed out the second quarter in fine fashion going on a rapid 9-2 run to trail the Dragons Rhondorf only 37-35. In the run, the Uni-Riesen Leipzig got vintage production from Jordan Faison who held his own against the more muscular Aaron Nelson, but got his share of baskets. Leutlof also continued to be active in the paint and draw fouls and get to the line. Indiana native Terrence Billups who played his first two seasons in the German Regionaliga with REndsburg and Cottbus made a spectatcular shot under the basket from a tough angle. “I feel that we lost our goals a bit and thought too much about the Leipzig seven man rotation. We played good team basketball in our run. Michael Lucier played great and I am happy for his production. He worked very hard on his game during the Christmas break”, stressed Dragons Rhondorf CEO Boris Kaminski. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 42r% from the field and 27% from the three point line while the Uni-Riesen Leipzig were shooting 46% from the field and 20% from the three point line. Rhondorf had the 20-17 rebound edge and six turnovers while Leipzig had seven turnovers.

In the third quarter, The Dragons Rhondorf were able to break free and away like against FC Bayern Munich in the last game and lead by as much as 19 points and led by 13 points after 30 minutes. The Dragons Rhondorf took advantage of the first three Leipzig missed possessions as Illinois native Aaron Nelson scored in bunches taking Rhondorf on a 4-0 run for the 41-35 lead. The Uni-Riesen Leipzig then went on a 5-0 run as Niedermanner scored a jumper and Mcfarland stroked home  a trey as the Dragons Rhondorf led only 41-40 and it looked like a tight ball game once again. However then came the turning point of the game as the Dragons Rhondorf went on a brutal 21-4 run to extend their lead to 61-44. The Dragons Rhondorf had switched to zone, something the Uni-Riesen Leipzig couldn´t handle putting their offense into disarray. Before Leipzig had even known what had hit them, it was Frankl-Maus with  a trey and Nelson scoring back to back buckets for the 48-42 advantage. The Dragons onslaught continued as they got big time production form the bench as German 23 year old guard Patrick Reus scored twice and Trawick nailed a jumper. German U-18 national player Anton Geretzky made some big plays on defense that sparked the offense as Rhondorf led 57-44. Then it was Nelson again scoring in bunches with free throws and a lay in. The Uni-Riesen Leipzig didn´t totally lay down and die as they responded with a timely 6-0 run to cut the Rhondorf lead after three quarters too only 63-50. In the run, they got big buckets from Nidermanner, Vinzent Zimmer and Leutloff. “We always want to come out into the third quarter with more intensity than what we had to start the game. Our zone slowed them down and shook them up. Our offense was consistent and we all shared the ball”, added Michael Lucier. “We were too passive just standing around when they went to zone. They also hit tough shots on offense. We need to be more focused on the defensive end”, stressed Terrence Billups. The Dragons Rhondorf were shooting 44% from the field and 29% from the parking lot while the Uni-Riesen Leipzig were shooting 46% from the field and 23% from the parking lot. Rhondorf had the 28-24 rebound edge and nine turnovers while the Uni-Riesen Leipzig had 13 turnovers.

In the fourth quarter the Uni-Riesen Leipzig continued to fight and crawl back, but just couldn´t get over the hump as the Dragons Rhondorf displayed consistent offense closing out the game in strong fashion. The Dragons Rhondorf got solid buckets in the first few minutes from Nelson and German Florian Wendeler while the Uni-Riesen Leipzig were fortified by buckets from Nidermanner who hit his third trey of the day and a Faison lay in. Trawick and Mcfarland then swapped three pointers, but the Uni-Riesen Leipzig still trailed Rhondorf 70-59. With Rhondorf holding up a consistent offense, it was Faison who continued to keep Leipzig in the game as he continued to play his game in the paint as he scored on a hook shot and lay in cutting the Rhondorf lead to 74-63. Leutlof continued to be his aggressive self scoring back to back buckets, but Frankl-Maus was unstoppable in the fourth quarter scoring six unanswered points keeping the Uni-Riesen Leipzig at bay at 80-67. The Uni-Riesen Leipzig continued to play hard despite having only a seven man rotation and were able to cut the Rhondorf lead to 81-74 late as Leutlof scored twice, but it was Frankl-Maus once again that played under control and was the crunch-time killer as he sunk a free throw and made a bucket giving Rhondorf the 84-74 lead with 40 seconds to play. Faison and Michel traded baskets as the game ended. “We knew that they only had seven guys so we wanted to run on them and tire them out. However they did a good job with only seven men. Frankl-Maus closed the door at the end. He was so composed and always makes the right plays in those moments and plays good defense”, stressed Michael Lucier. “We were a little tired at the end and not focused”, added Terrence Billups. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Aaron nelson with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Viktor Frankl-Maus added 17 points and Michael Lucier 16 points and six rebounds. Will Trawick contributed 10 points. The Uni-Riesen Leipzig were led by Sascha Leutlof with 26 points. Jordan Faison added 21 points and 12 rebounds while Jonas Nidermanner had 13 points. The Dragons Rhondorf shot 44% from the field and 25% from outside while the Uni-Riesen Leipzig shot 49% from the field and 28% from outside. The Uni-Riesen Leipzig won the rebound duel 27-25, but had 16 turnovers while Rhondorf had 12 turnovers.

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