Anwil Wroclawek got the lucky end of a dramatic finish to get its first win and even its record at 1-1 of the 2007-08 ULEB Cup season, by edging out the hometeam Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt 65-67 in Group D on Tuesday evening. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners fell to 0-2 and find themselves in a must-win-situation next week in order to have chances to survive the group play. Andrzej Pluta top-scored Anwil with 20 points, while Zbigniew Bialek added 14 and Gerrod Henderson 11 points. Derrick Allen led the Deutsche Bank Skyliners with 21 points, while Dominik Bahiense de Mello addes 14 and captain Pascal Roller 10 points respectively.
Anwil began winning the tip and scored the first point of the game from the free-throw line just 13 seconds into the game by Bartkomiej Woloszyn. De Mello stole the ball twice for the Skyliners, while emphatically slamming home the first field goal of the game. Anwil countered by a tip-in by Alex Dunn, but the Skyliners answered with Derrick Allen scoring his first deuce on a midrange jumpshot with the assist coming from the newcomer Antonio Meeking who started the game at center. The home team continued its full court press, while Anwil was accurate from the three-point range with number Bialek being successful in his first try. De Mello drove to the basket to tie the score at six apiece with four minutes played. After a couple of missed shots on both sides, Pluta put Anwil in front by a trey, but Allen answered with a nice move inside. On the ensuing offense by the guests, Pascal Roller stole the ball and forwarded it to de Mello, who was fouled while going for a lay-up and converted on a freethrow. Bialek countered with three points to bring the Polish team in front. Roller answered with a long distance shot to bring the home team within one with 3:30 left to play in the first quarter and replicated that output by a short distance shot on the ensuing posession,while Anwil kept missing shots and turning the ball over. With 1:14 on the clock, the Skyliner Jimmy Hunt went to the line and increased his team’s lead to three points by two successful shots. Ith less than half-a-minute left in the quarter, Pluta found his stroke again and tied the score but the last word was reserved for Roller who scored on an easy layup at the buzzer to bring the Skyliners in front, 17-15.
De Mello started the second quarter just as he did in the first, by getting two points on a fastbreak. Meeking put himself on the scoresheet, successfully sinking a left-handed hookshot and forcing an offensive foul at the other end. It wasn’t until 7:29 left that Anwil scored its first field goal of the second quarter, when Patrick Okafor hit a shot under the basket. Ilian Evtimov’s free-throws at the other end, brought the home team up, 23-17. The Skyliners continued to defend hard, forcing yet another offensive foul by the guests but were unable to capitalize on it offensively. Alan Daniels and Allen traded baskets on ensuing posessions of the respective teams, while missing their opportunities in the continued game action. With 3:49 on the clock, Allen hit twice from the charity stripe to give the Skyliners its biggest lead in the game at 27-19, which was answered by a Pluta’s trey. Allen, however, continued to go to the line, hitting two once again. Henderson made his first points of the game from behind the arc and that trey came just in time for Anwil. Pluta added another trey, bringing the Polish guests within two points with 2:30 left to play in the first half, 29-27. Hunt and Wiktor Grudzinski traded long-range bombs and the Skyliners’ head coach Murat Didin was forced to take his first timeout to stop Anwil’s latest offensive assault. With 47 seconds left to play, Henderson drove for a layup for a tie, marking the final score of the first half at 32-32.
The second half started for the home team on a positive note, as Allen scored four points in a row and Evtimov added a three, forcing Anwil to take its first timeout of the second half with just 1:13 minutes played and the team trailing by seven points. Henderson assisted Bialek for the guests’ first two points of the third quarter, wich were answered by Evtimov’s spin move and two points. But Henderson continued to play himself into the spotlight, hitting two threes, sandwiched around a Alex King free-throw. With 5:51 on the clock, Pluta tied the game from the bonus stripe at 42-42. The Skyliners continued to miss free-throws, as Allen couldn’t find the bottom of the basket twice in a row. Zelimir Zagorac tip-in after his own miss gave Anwil its first lead of the second half with five minutes played, while Lukasz Koszarek drove to the basket for two and Bialek added one point from the line for 42:47 with 3:50 to go. The Skyliners couldn’t buy a basket until Roller’s layup with 2:53 left that stopped a three-minute drought. Zagorac’s free-throw was bettered by Allen’s two successful shots from the same spot. With one minute to go, Koszarek netted his second free-throw attempt for Anwil, fixing the score at 46-49 after 30 minutes.
Frankfurt started the final frame with a small lineup, featuring three guards. Quick passing gave them the benefit with de Mello scoring two layups plus free-throw and a dunk on assists by Hunt and Roller, respectively, bringing the Skyliners in front, 53-49 and the crowd on its feet with two minutes played in the fourth quarter. The home team dominated the boards and Meeking assisted Allen for yet another easy layup, while scoring on a fadeaway of his own. Bialek put the matter into his own hands for Anwil, hitting a trey and a driving hook shot for 57-54. Anwil started to play press defense on Frankfurt’s ballhandlers, which resulted in a couple of bad shots for the Skyliners. Roller managed to get free to score a long two on an inbounds play and Meeking’s fight under the basket resulted in a free-throw, which was countered by three-pointers from Pluta and Bialek. With the score tied 60-60 with 3:21 to go, Didin took a timeout. The results came immediately, as Allen was fouled after going hard to the basket and netted in his second free-throw. With the shot clock winding down, Grudzinski calmly sank yet another trey for the Polish team, while Hunt hit both of his free-throw attempts, tying the score at 63-63 with 2:28 to go. Allen’s nifty post move continued the Skyliners’ offensive output, while Henderson was fouled by him on the next defensive play. Anwil’s American player left to the bench with an injury and Pluta went to the charity stripe instead, tying the score once again at 65-65. Anwil couldn’t get a shot off on its next posession and the Skyliners had the ball with 5.5 seconds left. The Skyliners committed a crucial turnover, by sending six players on the parquet and a technical foul was called against the Skyliners bench, which Pluta capitalized on, netting both freebies. Woloszyn was fouled by King but missed both of his free-throws. Evtimov got the defensive rebound and the pass went to King who missed a desperation heave from midcourt, as Anwil escaped with a dramatic 65-67 win, giving it the first victory in the ULEB Cup of the season.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007