Belgium served notice again they had better not be taken lightly in the Additional Qualifying Round for the EuroBasket by beating Portugal 64-58 on Tuesday.
After a narrow defeat at Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday, Axel Hervelle and Co returned home and won to improve to 1-1 and stay right in the chase for top spot in Group A while the Portuguese slumped to 0-2.
Dimitri Lauwers led Belgium with 16 points while Hervelle, who almost guided Belgium to an upset of Bosnia and Herzegovina with 33 points on Saturday, had eight rebounds to go with his 11 points.
|Axel Hervelle could not repeat his stellar performance of the last game but did everything necessary to give Belgium a lift over Portugal|
Santos drilled a three-pointer to spark a 10-0 run at the end of the first half as Portugal took a 32-26 advantage to the changing rooms.
Their biggest lead was 38-29 with 6:29 to go in the third quarter following a basket by Joao Gomes.
Lauwers knocked down a three-ball and followed that with two free throws to begin the Belgian fightback, though.
The play that really took the wind out of the Portuguese sails came with 2:05 remaining in the frame.
Lauwers buried a three-pointer and was fouled by Rui Mota.
He sank the free-throw for a 42-40 lead.
Portugal weren't done, however.
After falling behind by six, they charged back and knotted the contest at 55-55 with 2:01 remaining on a Felipe da Silva jumper.
Sam Van Rossom replied with a jump shot for Belgium, only for Portugal to again tie the game with 1:05 to go on a jumper by Carlos Andrade.
Elvis Evora was whistled for a foul on Lauwers and the star of the night made both attempts.
Santos was off target with a jumper for Portugal and he then fouled Christophe Beghin, who made just one of two free-throws for a 60-57 lead.
Belgium fouled Evora instead of letting Portugal launch a potential game-tying three-pointer and he made the first free-throw but missed the second,
Portugal had to foul to stop the clock and put Hervelle on the line, and he made both free-throws before adding a jump shot at the end for the 64-58 final.
Bosnia and Herzegovina are 2-0 in Group A, but Belgium will play them again next week and this time, Lauwers and his teammates will be at home.
As for Portugal, they need to win their next game against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday to maintain their slim hopes of topping the group.
Belgium overcame woeful free-throw shooting (14 of 23, 60.9%) to win.