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.
Eddy Casteels, Belgium Coach: "Everybody knew what it was all about, we needed to win in Ukraine, which would be a very very difficult job. But we had the right team spirit and the right support from the top player like Hervelle. I know that in a team sport it's impossible to integrate one player for one game in one day but because of the team spirit of this group we made it possible."
"Everybody in Belgium will be talking about the two wins against Ukraine, but I really am proud that we had great games against Turkey and France also. We played with a lot of character, a lot of desire, and as a coach you really focus on that because that really what you build into."
Sebastien Bellin, Belgium Player: "I think we fought hard. The first quarter was very chaotic because everyone knew the importance of the game, but we managed to fight out the game and then win it. We all did a great job."
Valentyn Melnichuk, Ukraine Coach: "To tell you the truth I didn't expect it. I couldn't even dream of such a game after how we played against France. We lacked the necessary experience. The reason for just one win in six games is me, the head coach. I was being way too democratic, which led to anarchy. I should have become the bad guy after our first camp in Italy, but chose not to and it's my fault. I have to thank the players for working with us all summer. For all the travels, for being at home just one day a month."
"We had great moments against Turkey and France. Unfortunately our worst games came out against our main competitors - Belgium."
Andriy Agafonov, Ukraine Player: "For some reason we were sure we would not end up last. But we lacked some experience, we lacked some luck, which determined the outcome. We don't have a leader on our team, we are all professionals and realize we need to give the ball to whoever gets hot. It can be Drozdov on one night and Lishchuk on another."
"I am very happy with the experience I earned playing for the national team. You don't get to play against NBA or Euroleague type players too often. The coach trusted me with a lot of playing time and I was doing my best not to let him down."
"I have to forget about the national team in 15 minutes and join Khimik for a practice."