Ulm continues win streak, holds off depleted Skyliners
ratiopharm Ulm opened the Top 16 with a hard-fought 70-63 win in an all-German League showdown against the visiting Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt in Group F on Thursday night. It was the third consecutive victory for Ulm, which won its last two regular season games. Javonte Green paced the winners with 20 points and Patrick Miller had 15 points and 8 assists. Skyliners, which were without six players for this game, saw Jason Clark net 18 points, on 4-for-6 three-point shooting plus 7 rebounds and Quantez Robertson scored 13 with 8 rebounds in defeat.
Ulm got the first advantage, using threes from David Kraemer and Green to open a 10-4 lead, but the visitors replied with a 0-9 run, during which Clark hit a two and a three to put the visitors in front. The Skyliners held a 14-15 edge after the first quarter, and a low-scoring battle continued into the second as a three-pointer from Robertson and a transition three from Ulm's Ismet Akpinar were the only baskets in almost 4 minutes to open the second quarter. Miller had a three-point play that tied it at 20-20 and the teams kept trading blows. The Skyliners took slim leads through Clark and Erik Murphy, but Miller scored 6 points before halftime, including a last-second floater to make it 33-33 at the break. Ulm went in front early in the third behind a pair of triples from Kraemer for a 45-37 lead. However, Robertson answered with back-to-back triples before Clark and Shawn Huff followed with a triple apiece and the visitors went back ahead 49-50. Gavin Schilling helped the hosts take a 53-50 edge into the fourth quarter. Green strung together 7 points, including two big dunks, helping open a 62-54 lead midway through the fourth. Clark's triple gave the visitors hope and Huff's 3 free throws got them within 64-62. However, Miller drove for a tough runner and Green forced a turnover with 42 seconds remaining and Ulm up 66-63. Ryan Thompson made 2 free throws on the ensuing possession to put the game away as Ulm prevailed.
Javonte Green scored 9 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, including 7 consecutive to start the final quarter and help Ulm open an 8-point lead. In the final minute, with Ulm clinging to a 66-63 lead, Green forced a turnover from Quantez Robertson to all but seal the deal.
Neither team had a lead bigger than 8 points in this contest, with Ulm's 62-54 margin midway through the final quarter being the largest margin of the night.
Something about all-German affairs
Ulm has not held opponents below 75 points during any regular season game this season, and the last time Ulm allowed fewer than 70 points was exactly two seasons ago, in its 2016-17 Top 16 opener, a home loss against fellow German side FC Bayern Munich. The 70 points scored was Ulm's second-fewest point total in a EuroCup victory and the lowest since beating Paris Levallois 56-48 in December 2013.
Skyliners had an eight-man rotation due to injuries to six players: Akeem Vargas, Trae Bell-Haynes, Leon Kratzer and Brady Heslip, Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann and Niklas Kiel.
In Round 2, the Skyliners will be at home and welcome Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar while Ulm goes on the road to visit LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne.
Thursday, January 3, 2019