Bosnia and Herzegovina took another step towards Group A supremacy in the Additional Qualifying Round for the EuroBasket by beating a battling Belgium, 82-77.
Inspired by the awesome Axel Herville of Real Madrid, who scored 33 points and grabbed seven rebounds, Belgium threw a scare into the team from the Balkans.
Hervelle had 21 points in the first half and the Belgians went to the changing rooms at the break leading 40-39.
|Axel Hervelle could not prevent his team from falling to Bosnia And Herzegovina|
After pouring in a couple of quick baskets at the beginning of the third quarter to give the visitors a 45-43 lead, Hervelle watched as Ratko Varda buried a three-pointer to put the home side in front for good.
The shot sparked a 16-4 run for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Hervelle attempted to will his side to victory, with his three-pointer 4:21 from the end closing the gap to 73-69.
Piet Hubert De Bel then drew a foul and made one of two at the line to make reduce the arrears to 73-70.
Belgium got even closer when Dimitri Lauwers connected from behind the arc to make it 75-73, and after Varda dunked, the visitors had a chance to pull to within one when De Bel scored and was fouled by Kenan Bajramovic.
He failed to convert the three-point play, though.
In a thrilling finish, Varda went to the other end and missed two at the stripe, yet Bajramovic claimed the offensive rebound and was fouled by Hervelle before making one of two.
A three-pointer by Belgium would have levelled the scores but coming out of a Bosnia and Herzegovina timeout, the hosts' Elmedin Kikanovic swatted a shot by the Belgians and Nemanja Gordic added to the lead with two free-throws.
Belgium's Jef Van Der Jonckheyd and Gordic each made a pair of free-throws in the final minute and Bosnia and Herzegovina held on for a five-point victory - their second in a row after Wednesday's win at Portugal.
They had six players reach double figures, including Nihad Dedovic's team-high 18 points.
Belgium will now host the Portuguese in a crunch game that both sides need to win to have a realistic chance of beating Bosnia and Herzegovina to top spot in Group A.