The club from Lower Franconia chalked up its third victory in eight days with a 77:75 (36:43) win in Frankfurt.
Of all people, it was the former Würzburg player John Little who became the tragic hero when he missed an open shot from beyond the arc that would have given his side victory. The Baskets’ top scorer was again Dru Joyce, who bagged 15 of his 17 points in the second-half comeback. FRAPORT SKYLINERS took command of the encounter from midway through the first period.
Up to the break, they mainly benefited from their accuracy from outside: seven successful three-pointers out of fourteen attempts made the difference in the first twenty minutes. In particular, Frankfurt’s sharpshooter Aaron Doornekamp made life difficult for s.Oliver Baskets with his three buckets; in contrast, the visitors drained just two of their eleven attempted threes before they went in at the break trailing by 36:43. Würzburg may have lacked energy in the first half, but made up for that on court in the FRAPORT Arena at the start of the 3rd period. Above all captain Dru Joyce, who immediately drained two straight buckets from outside, helped his team close the gap to 47:44 in the 23rd minute in front of the 4,860 crowd, which included the customary large and loud contingent of Baskets fans.
The scene that s.Oliver Baskets Head Coach Doug Spradley was later to term the “turning point” happened two minutes later. With the score at 53:48, Aaron Doornekamp wanted to finish a fast break with a lay-up, but “Big Will” Coleman was having none of that: the Baskets’ center came flying up from the rear, blocked the ball cleanly against the board and kept his team in the game. Seth Tuttle then managed to tie the scores at 57:57 with a three in the 29th minute.
The final period began with Frankfurt leading 61:59, but the home side had to wait almost four minutes to get off the mark in it. Two free throws by Coleman and lay-ups by Brendan Lane, Cameron Long and Maurice Stuckey made it 63:67 – the Baskets’ first lead since the 4th minute (10:11) meant the game had been turned on its head. Gordon Herbert responded by calling a timeout and the final five minutes then turned into a truly nail-biting game of basketball. Even eight straight points by Dru Joyce to make it 68:74 in the 38th minute were not enough to break Frankfurt’s morale. The home side clawed back point after point in the remaining two minutes and ten seconds and, with seven seconds to go until the final buzzer, closed the gap to 75:76 thanks to the third bucket from outside by Aaron Doornekamp. It was Frankfurt’s only three-pointer in the second half – an important factor in s.Oliver Baskets’ victory. Cameron Long secured the win with a successful free throw with exactly 5.4 seconds to go – Frankfurt’s final attempt at a three by John Little as the clock ran down missed the mark.
s.Oliver Baskets, who are third in the table behind ALBA BERLIN and MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg, now have a week without a game. Their next encounter is on Friday, October 23, when Phoenix Hagen comes to the s.Oliver Arena (tip-off: 8 p.m.).
Dru Joyce from s.Oliver Baskets commented: “It was another good performance from us in crunch time. We kept on fighting and we’re gelling better and better as a team. I wanted to be more aggressive in the second half than before the break. The team lacked a bit of energy in the first half. We then improved and played twenty minutes of very strong basketball.”