Three Times the Fun
Ratiopharm Arena, Neu-Ulm – Andrew Rautins is no stranger to multiple overtime games. He played in one of the classic games ever when he was at Syracuse during the 2009 Big East Tournament. So it was no surprise when the Fraport Skyliners needed the big shot on the road, it was Rautins who stepped up at the end of the early contender as the best game of the BEKO Basketball Bundesliga season.
Rautins scored 24 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and hit the big three-pointer with 1:11 left in the third overtime as the Skyliners outlasted ratiopharm ulm 108-102. Jarred DuBois added 19 points including 5-for-6 beyond the arc before fouling out.
“I thought it was a real good basketball game in front of a great crowd,” said Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert. “The game could have been won a couple times before by either team. This game was back-and-forth the whole time. We got a little bit fortunate in the third OT when we hit a couple of our shots.”
In the first half, Frankfurt controlled the action to build a surprising five point lead at halftime. After falling behind by eight points midway through the third quarter, Ulm got into the game, going on a 14-5 run capped off by Per Günther scoring five points and taking the lead 50-49. Dubois ended the quarter hitting a running shot at the buzzer and the 55-52 lead. It was only a preview of what was to come.
The fireworks continued in the fourth. Rautins, Ulm’s Edgar Sosa and Dubois all hit their three-pointers. Dubois had the hot hand carrying the Skyliner offense, hitting the key shots including one falling down, for a 69-64 lead.
“I found my spots to where I was trying to be aggressive,” explain DuBois. “At the same trying to run the offense and make the right choices in the flow of the game. I just wanted to step up as a leader and make plays and just so happen that I made my shots that time.”
Ulm kept in it, absorbing everything the Skyliners were throwing at them. Rautins and Dubois both connecting from long distance and a 75-73 lead. In the quarter, the duo combined for 16 of the team’s 22 points. Ulm’s Daniel Theis hit all four of his free-throws for a lead, but Danilo Barthel was able to score to tie the game. ratiopharm ulm had a shot to win in regulation, but turned it over. Extra basketball for all in attendance!
The first overtime played out in the same manner as the second half, neither team getting ahead enough to close it out and the game would continue. In the second OT, Adam Hess hit a trey and after a Cameron Long free-throw, it seemed Ulm may pull it out with a 93-89 lead. Rautins once again connected for three, and a Galloway free-throw took the game into another overtime.
By now, the fans and both teams were looking for the hero who would make the big shot. Günther stepped up first, nailing a trey from the corner and the 100-99 lead. Johannes Voigtmann answered with a bucket to give Fraport the lead once more. Ulm could not answer, Keaton Nankivil normally accurate from beyond the arc, missed and the Skyliners grabbed the rebound.
Rautins recalled some of that Big East/March Madness/MSG magic from the six overtime game against UConn when he threw in six three-pointers. This time the former New York Knicks’ draft pick cooly hit from outside the arc.
“It was a good play because we were drawing helpside defenders,” recalled Rautins, who just missed a triple-double, finished with eight assists. “Ramon made a really good decision, he gambled on it a little bit but it got through. I just knew it was coming so I was able to knock it down. But big play, and everyone made big plays.”
Ulm head coach Thorsten Leibenath was right behind Rautins as he hit his shot. “I felt we played good defense on that sequence as well. We actually tipped the ball and still landed in Andrew’s hands. That describes how close the game was, a finger-tip more and we intercept that pass and they don’t score on that possession.”
Galloway’s free-throws gave Fraport at six-point lead that Ulm could not overcome. Both teams were exhausted but what a performance.
“I was proud of guys showing mental toughness, fighting through it,” said Herbert. “We are a young team, this is obviously is a great win for our young team.”
Both coaches admitted they were exhausted after the game. And the players?
“It was fun but it was a grind at the same time, it was the third game in six days,” explained Günther. “We kinda didn’t have the juice the whole game, but we were scrappy enough to maybe get this one. We were really close, twice we had the possession and the shot to win it. They made some big plays, the other bench guys stepped up for them. We couldn’t make the stop we needed, we couldn’t make the shots we needed.”
The Skyliners (8-6) have won five of their last six games and will end the calendar year hosting RASTA Vechta on December 29th.
“We are trying to get an identity,” said Herbert about the team’s recent solid run. “When you see good teams play, they play the same, win or lose. that’s what we are trying with this young team is develop habits and an identity.”
Jacob Burtschi, who hit both his three-pointers and added a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, agreed with his coach. “We are building off this confidence and hopefully we continue to win.”
After Christmas Day, Ulm (9-5) travel east to Munich to take on first place Bayern Basketball on December 26th.
“Regeneration is a key, we need to make sure that we are fit going into this game from a mental aspect. We will not do anything different than we usually do when we prepare for Munich, as it is a normal game for us. We will go there with a lot of fans, you know we have great fan support, they will help us. we will be up for this game no doubt about it.”
“I feel like we haven’t proved we belong in the top tier, three- four teams in the league,” added Günther. “We got blown out by Berlin, we beat Bamberg. If we wanna be one of the top teams, we got to play well against Munich.”
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