Busting out of its scoring slump in a big way, Opel Skyliners of Frankfurt on Thursday put the wraps on its first win of the ULEB Cup with a 90-79 home victory over no less than Oostende, the current champions of Belgium. The Frankfurt big men made quite a difference in the paint, but the balance of outside scoring from Robert Garrett, with 17 points, and Pascal Roller, with 15, tipped the balance for the home team. The two guards combined to hit 5 of 6 three-pointers. With the addition of solid frontline scoring - Robert Maras with 14 points, Mario Kasun and Stipe Papic with 13 each - Skyliners had all they had lacked earlier to excite the home crowd with a W. All of that firepower was needed, too, to overcome Oostende's own scorers, five of whom reached double figures, led by Alton Mason with 21 points. Ralph Biggs added 14, Virgil Stanescu and Christophe Beghin 13 each, and Tony Dorsey 12 for Frankfurt, whose record dropped to 0-2 in Group B.
Frankfurt, which had been held to 60 points in a first-week loss at Zeleznik, came out firing on its home floor and though it could not lead after the first 10 minutes, the size of the score - 23-23 - was good news in and of itself. Already, Garrett was helping the cause as his pair of three-pointers helped Frankfurt overcome an early 9-15 deficit. Maras started making his present felt inside by the end of the quarter.
Newly signed guard Travis Conlan came on in the second quarter and quickly teamed with Roller to hit a three-pointer each and give the home team a slim lead, 29-28. Now, the big boys took over - Kasun, Papic and Maris underneath, leaving nothing to chance - and were only stopped by the halftime buzzer, having already carved out a 48-41 advantage for Frankfurt.
The early third quarter saw Frankfurt really make its move with a 9-1 run that boosted the lead to 61-49. By the time Andy Kwiatkowski stepped up with a three-pointer, the German team's lead was wider than ever, at 70-55, though Oostende was able to trim that to 70-59 going into the final 10 minutes. Those minutes would not let Oostende threaten the lead. Even though Kasun and Maras fouled out for Frankfurt, both Stanescu and Beghin did so for Oostende. And Mason was able to pull Oostende within 72-65, Papic helped ensure that the guests got no closer the rest of the way.
Wednesday, October 23, 2002