Hervelle Return Sparks Belgium In Vital Win At Ukraine


Axel Hervelle scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds in his first EuroBasket qualifying game this summer and Christophe Beghin poured in a team-high 18 with 11 rebounds as Belgium won convincingly at Ukraine on Saturday in Yuzhny.

The Belgians completed a two-game sweep with a 76-58 triumph to clinch third place in Group C while Ukraine slumped to 1-5 and fell into the Relegation Round.

Hervelle, a star at Spanish giants Real Madrid who was unavailable in the earlier games, wasted no time in making his presence felt in this vital clash.

He had 11 points in the first 14 minutes of the contest as Belgium led 23-20.

Andriy Agafonov drilled a three-pointer for Ukraine to pull his team level, only for Lionel Bosco to follow with a three-point play to put Belgium in front for good with 5:04 remaining in the first half.

Bosco then had four points in a 10-2 run to close the second quarter that gave the visitors a 38-29 advantage.

Agafonov dunked to take his points haul to 15 less than three minutes into the third quarter to close the gap to 42-38, and a Serhiy Lishchuk jump shot with 2:19 to go in the third reduced the deficit to 46-43.

Belgium had their noses in front, though, and never allowed Ukraine to pull level.

They delivered the knockout punch after Rostyslav Kryvych's jumper had trimmed the deficit for the home side to 55-50 with 7:13 left in the contest.

Hervelle and Beghin hit jump shots in a 5-0 spurt and after Lishchuk replied with two free throws to make it 60-52, Hervelle and Beghin again buried back-to-back jump shots for a 64-52 lead.

Eddy Casteels' team ended up winning by 18.

Belgium out-rebounded Ukraine 35-26.

The hosts were just four of 27 from behind the arc, and 14 of 32 inside it.

The visitors, who were gunning to win in a bid to reach the Additional Qualifying Round for EuroBasket 2009, made 25 of 40 from two-point range and four of 18 from three-point distance.

Lishchuk had a game-high 21 points for Ukraine in defeat.

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