Skyliners spoil Brown's debut in overtime
Fraport Frankfurt Skyliners spoiled the 7DAYS EuroCup debut of Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown by stopping Fiat Turin 88-85 after overtime in their Group D opener on Wednesday. The Skyliners got 19 points from Erick Murphy, 16 from Jason Clark, 15 from Brady Heslip, and 14 each from Quantez Robertson and Shawn Huff. Turin's Jamil Wilson hit 4 threes en route to 19 points, while James McAdoo had 17, Tyshawn Taylor 16, Tony Carr and Tekele Cotton 10 each. Turin led 2-9 on triples by Victor Rudd, and though the hosts rallied behind Robertson to lead 14-13, Taylor heated up and the guests finished the first quarter up 19-26. Murphy took over for the Skyliners then and Huff's first basket regained the lead at 31-30. Turin would take it back at 31-34 before Murphy and Huff spurred a 14-3 closing run for a 45-37 Skyliners halftime advantage. Murphy and McAdoo traded several baskets after the break, but a triple by Heslip and Marco Voeller's first basket made it 57-47 for the hosts. Wilson answered with 2 triples in a 1-12 run as Turin took a 58-59 lead after three quarters. Robertson and Huff reeled off triples to put the Skyliners back in front, 67-63, midway through the fourth, but Cotton Euro-stepped to a three-point play and Wilson drilled from deep to suddenly make it 67-69. Clark answered with a second-chance three-point play to put the Skyliners ahead. They stayed there, thanks to free throws, until McAdoo's long assist for a fastbreak layup by Taylor tied it up 75-75 with 12 seconds left, forcing overtime. After five lead changes in the first 3 minutes of OT, Huff's fastbreak three-pointer rolled in at 84-82 and free throws by Heslip sealed the deal.
The victory stopped a 26-game EuroCup losing streak for the Skyliners that spanned 14 years. They had not been part of the competition since 2012, but went 0-for-that season and two previous ones. Their last EuroCup win before this was 88-59 over KK Zagreb on January 27, 2004.
Turin led 81-82 with 90 seconds left in overtime when Robertson's steal led to Murphy finding Huff alone on the wing for a fastbreak three-pointer. The Skyliners would not trail after that.
Turin had its biggest lead, 16-24, before Murphy cranked his first three-pointer with 41 seconds left in the first quarter. By halftime, he was up to 15 points and Frankfurt was ahead 45-37, not to lose the lead but for single possessions a couple of times later. Murphy played stretch-five and forced Turin's big men to roam, opening up space inside for Clark to drive. The combination proved lethal.
Only 10 teams all last EuroCup season had 7 or more blocks in a game, but Skyliners matched that in the opener thanks to 2 each by Murphy, Huff and Jonas Wohlfarth-Botterman. Turin had 6 rejections, making this game very much a block party.
Skyliners hit the road for a first-ever meeting with Unicaja Malaga (0-1), the 2017 EuroCup champion. Turin goes home to host EuroCup newcomer Mornar Bar in what shapes up already as a must-win game for Brown's team.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018