|28 July 2014|
EUROBASKET 2015 2nd QR
|Axel Hervelle collected 17 and 24 points in Belgium's wins over Great Britain|
Big men Maxime De Zeeuw and Axel Hervelle led Belgium to two consecutive victories at home in back-to-back warm-up games against Great Britain over the weekend.
Both teams have entered the last fortnight of their preparations for the EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualification Round, which tips off on 10 August.
On Friday night in Antwerp, Belgium appeared to be assuming the initiative early on but 14 first-half points from Daniel Clark propelled the British team to a 35-33 advantage by the half-time break.
Great Britain opened up a 48-43 gap midway through the third quarter but Belgium called a time-out, reinstated their starting five on the court, and tied the scores at 57 by the end of the period.
With 27-year-old De Zeeuw and 31-year-old Hervelle firing on all cylinders on offence and Belgium tightening the screws on the other end of the floor, the hosts pulled away decisively in the fourth and recorded a 79-64 win.
De Zeeuw collected a game-high 21 points and Hervelle added 17 points for the winners, while Clark finished with 20 points on 4-for-5 from beyond the arc in a losing effort.
Belgium played without the injured Jean-Marc Mwema, who will return to action next weekend, while Eric Boateng and Ben Mockford did not feature for Great Britain.
The two teams played out a quite different scenario the following night, this time in Ostend, with point guard Sam Van Rossom among the home crowd in the stands.
Great Britain started off in the mood for revenge and grabbed a 12-6 early lead, but Hervelle powered the hosts to a 22-5 burst and Belgium concluded the first quarter with a 28-17 lead.
The Belgian Lions maintained the gap at double-digit levels throughout the second quarter and arrived at the half-time interval with a 53-38 lead, having converted eight of their first 15 three-point attempts.
Great Britain did not manage to come any closer during a quite balanced third frame and a last push by Belgium in the final period allowed the hosts to reach the century mark and extend the margin of victory to 26 points, 104-78.
The six Belgian players who scored in double digits were led by Hervelle, who finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
De Zeeuw and Pierre-Antoine Gillet had 13 points apiece for the winners, while Kyle Johnson picked up 20 points for Great Britain in defeat.
|Joe Prunty: "We've put this team together in a small amount of time so there are some growing pains. We'll continue to build as a team."|
Despite the results on the weekend, Great Britain head coach Joe Prunty identified some encouraging signs for his team.
"We're making improvements but obviously, people will look at the results," commented Prunty.
"We are trying different things, we are putting some combinations on the floor that have not played together yet.
"We've put this team together in a small amount of time so there are some growing pains, but I also anticipate certain things: the communication level will be high at all times and not just in the qualifiers, the passing will be crisper.
"We'll continue to build as a team, so there are a lot of positive things."
On 10 August, Belgium commence their EuroBasket 2015 2nd Qualifying Round campaign away at F.Y.R. of Macedonia, in Group D action.
On the same day, Great Britain are playing against Iceland on the road, in the game that lifts the curtain on Group A.