Skyliners eliminate Mornar Bar
Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt outlasted Mornar Bar 83-87 on Wednesday night to eliminate the debutant from Top 16 contention. Skyliners improved to 6-3 and will finish third in Group D regardless of Round 10 outcomes. Mornar was formally eliminated from Top 16 with the loss, which put its record at 2-7. Erik Murphy led the winners with 19 points in 4-of-5 three-point shooting, Quantez Robertson tallied 16 points and 4 steals and Shawn Huff scored 8 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter to help Skyliners put the game away. Antabia Waller paced Mornar with 15 points, 4 assists and 5 steals and
Malcolm Grant contributed 13 points and 4 dimes in his EuroCup debut.
Teenager Richard Freudenberg made his first start for Skyliners and scored 5 early points and Leon Kratzer drew 4 fouls to get the Mornar bigs in foul trouble, but the hosts persevered and led 9-7 after a Dorde Drenovac slam. Murphy came off the bench firing for Skyliners, but Antabia Waller heated up for the hosts and increased the difference to 26-18. After a Skyliners timeout, Robertson ignited a 0-7 run that closed the gap to 26-25 after 10 minutes. Mornar regrouped to remain in control with the lead reaching 37-30 on Strahinja Micovic's three-point play midway through the second quarter. Skyliners finished the quarter strong with threes by Murphy and Freudenberg on a 0-8 run to reach halftime with a 42-46 edge. Kratzer's put-back made it 46-53 early in the second half and the visitors managed to protect that lead despite Jason Clark heading to the bench with 4 fouls. Huff stepped up with 5 points late in the third quarter to keep Skyliners in control at 57-64. Mornar twice drew within 2 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, the second time coming on a Marko Mijovic triple that made it 65-67 and prompted a Skyliners timeout. Clark fouled out with 6:18 remaining, but Skyliners got triples from Murphy, Huff and Brady Heslip to make it 72-78 before Mornar called timeout with 3:22 to play. Grant and Waller each scored to bring Marnar within 1, thus setting up a tense finish. Grant sank a go-ahead layup with 1:18 for Mornar's first lead of the second half, 81-80, but after a timeout, Huff responded for the visitors from downtown. After Sane split free throws, Frankfurt iced the game from the line through Huff and Robertson.
After Malcolm Grant's layup gave the hosts their first – and only – lead of the second half, 81-80, with 1:18 remaining, Skyliners called timeout. The visitors moved the ball and eventually found Shawn Huff open for an open three-pointer. Mornar got the ball to Landing Sane, who was fouled and could have tied the game, but split free throws. Huff made 2 free throws on the ensuing possession and Mornar never got a chance to tie it again.
In a game that was decided in the final seconds, Mornar will feel it missed a chance to win and stay alive by virtue of its 18 missed free throws. The Montenegrin champs attempted a club record 36 free throws, but their 50% conversion rate was its worst, too. Antabia Waller was the only Mornar player to attempt a free throw without missing.
By making 4 of 5 three-pointers, Erik Murphy improved his unreal shooting numbers from downtown this season to an uncanny 24 of 33 (72.7%). No player in EuroCup with a minimum of 10 threes made has come even close to such accuracy for a season.
In Round 10
Mornar Bar will bid farewell to the EuroCup next Wednesday in the Lithuanian capital with a game against Rytas Vilnius. Skyliners will gear up for the Top 16 with a clash against Group D winner UNICS Kazan.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018