The last day of the first half of the Euroleague regular season has produced a landmark event in the competition. Defending champion Kinder Bologna has suffered its first defeat in a game that has confirmed a new contender for continental power: Opel Skyliners of Frankfurt. If Skyliners were a revelation before, they are the real deal now after downing mighty Kinder 80-79 at home in Frankfurt. One of the keys to Frankfurt's remarkable first half of the season, Marcus Goree, made the buzzer-beater that won it. Goree finished with a game-high 22 points, followed by Chad Austin and Pascal Roller with 18 each, and Kai Nurnberger with 12. Kinder got 18 points from Marko Jaric, 17 from Emanuel Ginobili, 15 from Matjaz Smodis and 10 each from David Andersen and Rashard Griffith. Kinder falls to 6-1, while Frankfurt vaults to 5-2, good for a second-place tie with Barcelona. Thanks to the Skyliners, there are no more undefeated teams in the Euroleague, and it's a whole new ballgame in Group B.
Frankfurt came out strong in the first quarter, playing aggressive defense and pulled away by six points after seven minutes. Antoine Rigaudeau was kept out of the game and Frankfurt scored some easy fastbreak points. After ten minutes the score was 24-20 for the hometeam.
After eleven minutes Rigaudeau left the court with three fouls and Kinder lost it's place for a moment. Marcus Goree scored on a dunk and another fastbreak to make the score 34-24 but Kinder somehow got back into the game. A huge three-pointer by Kai Nürnberger made it 40-32 for Frankfurt but Kinder closed in on a 38-43 halftime deficit.
The third quarter started with a bang! Pascal Roller scored 3 unanswered three-pointers in a row to give Frankfurt a 52-38 lead after 22 minutes. The guests from Italy were not even impressed, fighting there way back with a 6-20 run to tie the game at 58 after three quarters.
Kinder got it's first lead for a long time, 58-61 at the beginning of the last quarterand it looked like the visitors just had the better breath at the end. The game went up and down with baskets for both teams. The lead was changing for several minutes by one point either way. With a minute to play, Kinder was up by one, 76-77, but two free throws by Roller changed that. With 14 seconds to go, Jaric made two free throws to give Kinder the lead again. But with 2.7 seconds to go, Marcus Goree made the impossible happen, scoring the final two points, to give the Opel Skyliners an never expected win over Kinder Bologna.
Thursday, December 6, 2001