Munich Topple Frankfurt
Audi Dome, Munich – FC Bayern Basketball won a fifth straight game to begin the team’s Beko BBL campaign, defeating the Fraport Skyliners 97-65 Sunday night. Malcolm Delaney and Heiko Schaffartzik each scored 15 points to pace Bayern, and Yassin Idbihi added 14 points on a perfect shooting night.
Delaney pushed tempo from the onset, setting up Robin Benzing for an open fast break layupto open the game as Bayern used a 10-0 run to start the game. Former New York Knicks player Andy Rautins departed early with two fouls, leaving the majority of Fraport’s scoring up to point guard Dawan Robinson. Rautin returned as the Skyliners improved from their slow start, but a first quarter in which six Bayern players added four or more points saw the lead blow out to 32-14 at quarter time.
Back-to-back triples from Schaffartzik extended Bayern’s lead to 23 points three minutes into the second quarter. The Skyliners managed just 45% from the field while the point guard combination of Schaffartzik and later Delaney caused nightmares for Fraport coach Gordon Herbert as the duo added some outside offensive production and some flashy passing.
The Skyliners put a slight dent into Bayern’s 20-point halftime lead when Konstantin Klein sparked a 5-0 run to start the third quarter, but threes to Schaffartzik and Boris Savovic restored the comfortable margin back to 24. Fraport fought back, sending John Bryant from the game with his fourth personal foul. Even a high-flying baseline throw down from Bryce Taylor wasn’t enough to kill the visitor’s momentum as Bayern saw their lead slashed to 14 with a quarter to play.
“I think we just had a lapse in our focus on defense,” guard Taylor told Sport Eagle after finishing with 7 points and 4 steals. “We may have relaxed a little too much and they got some easy points off their pick-and-roll and we let Rautins get free for some shots. I don’t think the two-day time span had a big impact on the game for us.”
Frankfurt lost a vital part of the team’s offensive early in the fourth when Rautins collected his final two fouls in the opening couple of minutes, tallying 12 points and 4 assists but also four turnovers. Three tough Nihad Djedovic baskets in the paint and more suffocating Bayern defense saw the lead once again tip past the 20-point mark as Munich cruised to another win just 48 hours after defeating Polish side Stelmet Zielona Gora in the team’s opening Euroleague contest.
“We’re starting to get a lot of chemistry and we’re playing good on defense and sharing the ball on offense so I think if we keep playing like this, it’s going to be tough for anyone to beat us,” said Delaney. “In my opinion we have a great team and if we keep playing competitive and hard every game, we’ll have a special season.”
“We tried to make the punch every game, come out aggressive on defense and attack on offense,” said the former Virginia Tech Hokie. “Coach did a good job with only one day to prepare, to get us ready to play against Rautins who has been hot for a couple of games and we made it tough for him to score.”
“They play very good basketball and they play good at both ends on the floor,” a deflated Skyliners coach Gordon Herbert said post-game. “The teamwork and there defense is outstanding and they have a chance to go a long way this year. I knew coming in we were the underdogs, and I was really disappointed with our first five minutes of the basketball game. Basically it was over after five minutes.
“We had no control over the tempo. We worked on it and talked about it but we came out and had some bad turnovers and we got behind the eight ball right away. We got a lot of work to do and day by day we have to get better.”
Coach Herbert and the Skyliners return home to host MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg on Saturday evening. Meanwhile, Bayern host their first Euroleague game on Friday against Montepaschi Siene from Italy and travel to Bremerhaven for a league game against the Polar Bears on Sunday.
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